New Word Order

Dined, wined, skied, skated and barely slept my way through the holidays.

Spent the New Year’s observance up in Lake Tahoe, California.  Partook in my first Raclette dinner party ~ during which thankfully no one was hurt (save the lining of our hearts) ~ and shoveled a yard’s depth of fresh snow to create a sled trail for my son that disappeared à la Brigadoon with another snowfall at sunset.  All fine and good.  However, while I was tucked away in the white wilderness, a series of wildly disturbing events came to my attention.  Thousands of birds dropped from the Arkansas sky like pop music fans at a stadium concert in Japan.  Snow blanketed the otherwise dry and hot high deserts of Southern California.  And a flood the combined size of two former WWII axis and ally countries (namely Germany and France, per the New York Times) runnethed over Australia.  Ok kiddos, I got the hint.  The world wants its Lemon Cake back.

So, here I am.  New year, new gym membership, reflections on what will make 2011 a stellar series of memorable moments.   My outlook is positive, but that’s how every January kicks-off.   What is challenging is keeping the new dawnlight-driven momentum alive for more than 10 days.  Not to echo President Obama during his 2008 campaign, but, here’s my plan.  Make it easy to stay positive about everything you do ~ the lesser loved, mundane, daily details as well as the pleasant, passion-propelled goals.  Sure, we all can stay dreamy about our imagined sexy new bods in jeggings (and men’s equivalent of such), but staying the course in eating healthy, smaller proportioned meals and sweating for 300 minutes a week….not so much.   Here’s how I intend to carry on smiling through raw food consumption and laundering sweat socks:  the name game.

Let me explain.

There’s something inherently self-empowering about giving activities, people, places or things a personalized, you-friendly name.  For example, many of my friends are already familiar with my “Ta Da lists,” my fantastically affirmative, expectation-fulfilling upsell of the ordinary “To Do list.”   What joy is instilled when adding to and ticking off bullets on your show-stopping roster of things to manifest!  You can just about hear the roar of applause after sending Amex a minimum payment on time.  Not unlike naming your children and imparting your own love and care into that choice of word, the name game suddenly makes everything in your world as appealing as just-from-the-oven flourless chocolate cake and a very large fork.   Think of it as positive propaganda for the soul, a CNN spin room for the politics of personal resolutions if you will.   I’ve already successfully worked the magic of this semantics method with my son on his otherwise daunting 20-mins of preschool letter writing exercises to be done outside of the classroom.  Homework?  Nah.  Homefun!   While it may not be flawless, my plan will get me (and hopefully my son) through many a dull activity on the way to grander scale, year-end satisfaction.  I invite you to give it a try.  We can share photos of ourselves in summer white jeggings six months from now.

Now if only there was linguistic repairment for global warming and unexplained natural disasters involving bird life.  Definitely a candidate for this year’s Ta Da list.

© Jennifer Dowd 


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