Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year's Absolutions

On January 10, 2012, a very dear friend of mine killed himself. The year really hasn't gotten better since then, and we're already at the end of it. People are pulling together their resolutions, picking out their flaws, and trying to figure out how to "fix" themselves for the new year. Trust me when I saw I can pick out my flaws, ruthlessly and effectively, any day of the year. I don't need the holidays to help with that - I've got all the rope I need, thanks just the same. So instead of agonizing over how to improve myself, this year I'm going to try something new.

I'm going to be not perfect, and I'm going to forgive myself for it.

I routinely fail to meet my own standards as a dog trainer. While it's easy for my to give people the benefit of the doubt, I regularly beat myself up for being too cranky, impatient, having poor timing, or pushing too hard. The love of a dog is not, in fact, unconditional - particularly the love of shy, neurotic, reactive, basket case dogs. They have standards, too. And I have met them. Not only met them, but exceeded them. My dogs adore me. They trust me when I do not trust myself. At the end of the day, their standards matter to me a whole lot more than mine do.

"The paparazzi want us to do what now?"
Photo by Paige.

I am not always a fantastic wife. I am sometimes irritable, rigid, irrational, and occasionally a flat-out bully. Worse, I know that I have sometimes left my husband bewildered and hurt from trying to navigate the black holes in my brain. It's okay. We work through it. He's not perfect either. Love is not a matter of perfection, but of finding someone whose imperfections compliment your own. Each year, our marriage grows stronger as we learn from each other - our mistakes and our successes - and grow together.

I am not a leader among people. It's okay that I do not want to be, and actively go out of my way to avoid leadership situations. It's alright that I don't want to be a leader. I am a good example. I am a force for change, a small part in a bigger ideal. I am replaceable, but that does not mean I am not important or valuable or skilled. I don't need to be flawless to be pretty damn fantastic. And I won't let "perfect" stand in the way of "pretty damn awesome."

I believe in the new year. I believe in the new month. In tomorrow and in the next hour. In the future, where no lies have been told, no cruelty committed, no friends treacherously failed. It is unspoiled. Dreams may yet come true, impossible things will be done, and I will have the courage to do that which has been too much for me in the grim battle of now. I will have the courage to be less than perfect, and to forgive myself my sins.

I believe that 2013 is going to be a great year.


  1. My absolute favorite post you've ever written.

  2. "pretty damn awesome."

    Damn straight.

  3. Thank you for a very inspiring post this first day of 2013 ... Your thinking reminds me of the year I decided to proclaim The Year of No Self-Improvement -- a response to my endless and unproductive attempts to fix myself. I recall that I enjoyed that approach so much that I extended it into Year 2. :)