On each January 1st as we ring in a new year many of us also ring in a list of self improvements that we'd like to accomplish over the next 365 days. That tradition is behind the saying "New Year, New You."
But what if the best change you could make this year is to bring back the old you?
Before you start hurling your leftover Christmas dinner at me, let me explain. I'm not saying you should pick back up your old smoking habit or cancel your new gym membership. What I am saying is that the older we get, the more we lose certain attributes that were characteristic of our younger selves. Often that's a good thing (i.e., cringe-worthy fashion choices and acne), but there some parts of our former selves that are worth holding onto.
Life as a military spouse can be stressful. We learn to be flexible because we know that nothing is certain and that anything can change within a moment's notice. We know that in three short years we will be moving again, and so we plan our lives accordingly. In an effort to make those transitions easier on ourselves, many of us keep our lives within the confines of our duty station and attempt to lead our lives at each new place exactly as we did at the old one.
But think back to the younger you -- the sense of adventure, excitement and passion that exploring a new place would have ignited. If we were to bring back these characteristics from our more youthful years, how much richer and more meaningful might our time at each new posting be?
Our younger selves were willing to do just about anything to have fun and make memories -- something that got many of us into trouble. The strain of adulting extinguished that quality pretty quickly, but what if we once again pushed the boundaries of our bedtimes and stayed up late, got up early and drove ridiculous distances to see new sights and experience new things?
As adolescents, we were far too willing to drop our homework in favor of an outing with friends, a new episode of our favorite TV show, or even just a nap. But now that we've traded homework for housework, many of us struggle to make time for ourselves. We think that if we work just a little bit longer we might reach a stopping point, and then we'll stop and smell the roses (or whatever) -- except we never do.
What would happen if, for one day, we left the dishes in the sink, left the bed unmade, took some of those vacation days that have been building up, and just did something nice for ourselves?
Part of being human is the truth that we will never be "done"-- none of us will ever reach a point where we no longer need to learn, grow or improve in some way. As we enter 2018, let's think back to the "old" us, and (when we get done laughing at our terrible haircuts) maybe even learn a thing or two.