View Issues Subscribe for FREE
Resolutions? More like new expectations

by Robin Rieger
I find myself sitting in the same spot in my kitchen far too often after the kids have gone to bed. Part of me is comfy on a small couch but my head is bent at a bad angle leading to an eventual neck ache after spending too much time looking at my phone or iPad. I’m not doing anything important on either device really. Sometimes I am looking through pictures of home design ideas or searching different sites for an old farm table or fireplace mantle. Other times I might scroll through the news feed on Facebook to see what “friends” have been up to.

An hour and a half later I realize I am still sitting in the same place and have wasted an awful lot of time. On top of that I feel like I need a crane to pull my head up straight. While I have declared here that I can never stick to New Year’s resolutions, especially ones that involve exercise, I will attempt to mentally and spiritually exercise and to do that I will power down and unplug more often.

Text less, talk more
I noticed after looking at my phone just how much I text people more than I talk to them. That’s OK sometimes but after texting my sister-in-law back and forth about some vacation ideas I thought to myself when we were all done that it would have been so much nicer to speak to her on the phone and enjoy a real conversation. Same thing with a friend I was texting recently about a family member. I stopped texting and called her and was so glad we could have a natural conversation without the LOLs, OMG!s and TTYLs that often fill up a text. These days when we text someone we use short cuts to make even shorter the time it takes to communicate. Our kids only really talk on the phone when Tom calls from the road. They don’t call their friends and chat and while I understand it’s a sign of the technological times we live in, I will encourage them to talk more to people than text them in this new year.

Hurry less, look around more
In a big hurry? Say hi to someone or smile at them, it will lift their spirits and yours and you will still get where you are going. I was running out of a Wawa to get to an appointment one morning and a man who could tell I was in a rush held the door for me to go out as he was heading in. He said, “Go ahead, hon.” I said, “Thanks, have a great day,” as I hustled out. He said, “I will, it’s my birthday. I’m 71 today!” That stopped me in my tracks as I faced him and wished him a happy birthday. I told him he looked way too young for 71. We both laughed and left each other with smiles. Mine lasted all the way to my appointment.

Reduce the noise, focus more
Yes, I have been a distracted driver, and not just by answering a text while driving. Kids fiddling with the radio always looking for a song that I will let them listen to often fills the car with noise. I am resolving to leave my phone off and in my purse or plugged in to the USB port to charge but still be far out of reach. My car is Bluetooth-enabled so I can hit a button on the steering wheel to make or answer a call which I will keep short. Other than that I won’t even refer to one of my devices, not even for directions while driving. Instead, I will copy the directions before I leave the house to avoid looking down at a moving dot on a digital map to see where I am going.

Complain less, appreciate more
Kids, spouses, pets, blocked up toilets, leaking roofs, homework, soccer, basketball, a job you don’t like, a boss that may not like you ... there are plenty of stressors in life right? I remember a speaker to a group of women said essentially, “Don’t let yourself be the victim in your own life.” In other words forget the “woe is me” attitude. We can all come up with a list of things that can get us down. Make a list of all the things you should be grateful for in your life and I bet that list is longer.

I know mine is and I will remind myself of that every chance I get.

Go online less, shuffle the cards more
Our kids love games on the iPad or iPod and Xbox One. But when we offer to play a board game they are almost always willing to shut the others down for some plain old Sorry, The Game of Life, Monopoly or any number of card games. It’s easy to find yourself too busy, there’s always a load of laundry or dishes to be done but I’m going to try even harder to let the little things go and be grateful our kids will still happily trade device time for one-on-one time.

Take less, give more
A friend described their recent encounter buying coffee where the person in front of her was a dollar short for whatever the purchase was. My friend gave the woman the dollar. She was so appreciative and excitedly said she would pay it forward. My friend looked at it as just a dollar, but in the end it was about more than the money and it made two people feel great.

Regret less, live more
I keep reminding myself if I am regretting something it’s already in the past. There’s not much I can do about it except go forward. With that in mind I’m not going to beat myself up for not getting dozens of Christmas cards out. Instead with my new expectations I’m going to let that go and reach out to those on my list either in person or by phone to wish them all the best in the New Year. Happy 2016!

Published (and copyrighted) in South Jersey Magazine, Volume 12, Issue 10 (January, 2016).
For more info on South Jersey Magazine, click here.
To subscribe to South Jersey Magazine, click here.
To advertise in South Jersey Magazine, click here.