When Doing Enough is Enough

After I posted this year’s ambitious list of resolutions, our pastor (one half of my church’s spousal tag-team ministry) presented a Twitter thread from a Lutheran minister as the call to worship:

As you enter this new year, as you pack away the Christmas decorations and get out your stretchy pants… as you face the onslaught of false promises offered you through new disciplines and elimination diets…

as you grasp for control of yourself and your life and this chaotic world. . . May you remember that there is no resolution that, if kept, will make you more worthy of love.

There is no resolution that, if kept, will make life less uncertain and allow you to control a pandemic and your children and the way other people act. So this year,

May you just skip the part where you resolve to be better do better and look better this time.

May you give yourself the gift of really, really low expectations. May you expect so little of yourself that you can be super proud of the smallest of accomplishments.

May you expect so little of the people in your life that you notice & cherish every small lovely thing about them.

May you expect so little of the supply chain and service industry that you notice more of what you do get and less of what you don’t and tip really well anyhow.

May you expect to get so little out of 2022 that you can celebrate every single thing it offers you, however small. Because you deserve joy and not disappointment.

Nadia Bolz-Weber

Well, damn, that takes the pressure off!

Before church on Facebook this morning, I suited up in turtleneck, thermal shirt, and Mike’s old shoveling sweater, now riddled with holes I can’t explain. I put on my wool raglan socks, stuffed the ends of my jeans inside them, and laced up my Bean ankle-high snow sneakers.

I grabbed two plow-shaped shovels, and started at the halfway point of the west-side garage door. That’s the side of the driveway we don’t use, because the garage is stuffed with crap I’m determined to get sorted and radically reduced this year. But that’s not a resolution–just an aspiration.

Using Mike’s two-shovel plow method, I quickly discovered that the snow was too heavy on its lower half to let me get very far, so I downshifted to one shovel. Cleared just enough to get the garbage and the recycling out of the west-side garage and over to the east side of the driveway, where the car comes out.

I probably didn’t need to shovel at all. I’m sure that my Subaru Outback all-wheel drive could handle the 6 or so inches of snow we got, and the foot-high pile the township snowplows left at the base of the driveway by the street. But deliveries are coming. I was concerned about keeping the drive and the front walk accessible.

Clever me, I pre-treated both surfaces with ice melt stuff, which makes it much easier to shove the snow aside, and, like Mike would have done, went out there last night after about two hours of steady snowfall, to shovel. That left a little less to do this morning.

When I had shoved enough snow aside to allow a car or delivery van to enter and leave the driveway, with access to a cleared path to the front door, I re-salted it all, and I stopped.

I had done enough.

Mike would never have left it like that, 2/3ds shoveled. He was obsessed with shoveling. He would set his alarm every two hours during a snowstorm, suit up, and go out there. I didn’t go out again last night. I figured the ice melt stuff would do its job (it did) and there wasn’t any need to shovel parts we don’t use. Sorry, loves, but it’s not about keeping you happy, or, let’s be honest, keeping your from screaming your head off at me, anymore. It’s about meeting lowered expectations, and being satisfied with that.

I’ll try read the complete (or should I say “compleat”) Shakespeare this year. I’ll work out and do intermittent fasting because they make me feel good. But at my age it’s unrealistic, bordering on irrational, to expect much result. My plump body has defied “false promises” since the day I was born.

I’ll still try not to die, but ultimately, that’s a resolution no one can promise to keep. It’s just not entirely within our control. Only God knows the number of our days.

Because of that, though, I will try to keep resolution #10, “Live each moment gratefully, joyfully, as sustainably as I can, with kindness, and without fear.”

Relieved, and proud of small accomplishments, I remain,

Your wishing-you-“as happy a new year as possible,”


7 thoughts on “When Doing Enough is Enough

  1. If we all lived by your resolution #10, the world just might be a more civilized place for everyone. So, count me in for #10!


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