Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Best Version of Myself

I am a hopeless romantic. Not a very good one, I've decided lately, but hopeless nonetheless. And as such, I absolutely love chick flicks of all shapes and sizes. Even the movies that I know are going to be completely terrible will fill me with a deeply abiding satisfaction, because the boy has gotten the girl, the girl has gotten the boy, and True Love has reigned supreme. On any given trip to Netflix, you'd better believe I'm stopping by the Romance section first.

Now one of my favorite of all chick flicks is You've Got Mail, starring Tom Hanks as Joe Fox and Meg Ryan as Kathleen Kelly in a retelling of the Jimmy Stewart movie, The Shop Around the Corner, which is a retelling of the Miklos Laszlo play, Parfumerie. The story has nabbed hearts for over 70 years, and you would be hard-pressed to convince me that You've Got Mail is not one of the greatest movies to ever grace the face of this wonderful planet. I could probably watch it every time it pops up on TBS and never get tired of it. Upon finishing it, I am always convinced that it is my calling to move to New York City and become a quirky bookstore owner.

So anyways, unaware that they have been corresponding anonymously with each other via email, falling in love one message at a time, Joe and Kathleen are introduced to each other at a party about a third of the way through the movie. It is hate at first sight. (To be fair, Joe is pretty heinous.) Later, he writes to Kathleen about his behavior, asking her,

"Do you ever feel you've become the worst version of yourself? That a Pandora's box of all the secret, hateful parts - your arrogance, your spite, your condescension - has sprung open?"

Well, Joe, funny you should ask that. Because I know exactly what you mean.

The last year has not been the easiest for me. I'm doing that thing where I'm growing up and becoming an adult more than ever before, and it has proven a bit of a challenge. I've made some good choices and I've made some bad ones, and the earth has kept turning regardless, as she is wont to do. But through it all, I think I've lost sight of who and what I want to be in this world. 

I like to think, when I look at myself as a whole, that I'm a pretty positive person. I try to be upbeat and optimistic. I try to be friendly to everyone, to exude love and acceptance. I'm outgoing (you know, except for when I'm painfully shy) and goofy and fun-loving. Someone you can rely on for help and support. Someone who is a good friend. A lot of what I want for my life is to live as Christ would have me live. Be good, do good, and love others.

I mean, wasn't that the whole point of this blog in the first place? When we were really in our prime, we were a bunch of twenty-somethings searching for what it means to be a Gentleman in this world. 

But lately, I'm finding that I'm not really living up to that ideal anymore. I'm not completely sure when it happened. I think it was probably a gradual shift, or maybe a number of shifts, in my attitude and reactions that started to become habits in my behavior. I find myself being sullen and irritable more than ever before. I'm judgmental. I let things bother me when they shouldn't. I'll snap at people and pick fights when before I could just let things go. I let myself get awfully cranky sometimes, especially when I'm tired. I'm less appreciative of my great job and the wonderful opportunities God has given me than I should be. I've become listless and apathetic toward my goals and ambitions. And sometimes I'm just sad. Just so sad that the funk seems endless.

And I've hurt people whom I love dearly.

I look at the grand total of my interactions over the past year, and while I doubt anyone would be handing me the Wicked Witch of the West Award 2012, I do wonder if I'm on the road to being the worst version of myself. In the last month or so, I've really taken a hard look at me, and I've realized that behavior that I'm not proud of, behavior that doesn't make me happy, has become much more the norm than the exception to the rule.

And why? What reason do I have to be unhappy? To bring anything but good into the lives of others?

I'll tell you: I don't.

I'm blessed with a pretty great life, and if it isn't only getting better all the time, I have no one to blame but myself. And I think I've played enough of the blame game this year to last a lifetime. 

So it's time for me to make a change - an active one this time. To seek out in myself what I need in my life to make it a force for good.

Now we here at These Gentlemen have written about New Year's Resolutions before. Making them, keeping them, forgetting about them. The whole gamut. But I have purposefully decided not to think about this as a resolution. As something I'm going to strive for in the new year. Resolutions are breakable. Resolutions are often doomed to fail.*

*That website is just something I googled and cannot vouch for AT ALL, but it wouldn't surprise me if the numbers are at least close to being correct. Also, sorry it's such a DOWNER. Geez... 

So instead I'm just going to make it my goal to live as the best version of myself, one day at a time, throughout 2013. And then next year, I'll be better than that. And so on, until bettering myself is the norm and the habit. But it all starts today, and I'm pretty excited to see who today can turn out to be.

With love to all our readers, and best wishes for the New Year,
ali d.

1 comment:

ali d said...

I have to say - there is nothing that challenges trying to be the best version of yourself like talking to multiple Comcast representatives over the course of a few days. Oy vey...