One of our family’s lesser known facts, despite dad’s subtle hinting, is that we’re all black belts in Tae Kwon Do. It was a family activity for years. One that I rather enjoyed. I didn’t love forms, but I loved sparring, both standard activities in everyday practice. Other daily routines were push-ups, laps, learning how to punch, how to kick, how to take a punch, and hopefully, learning how to block them. But then there was the occasional fall training.
When I say fall, I’m talking verb, not season. We’d literally fall, get up, fall, get up, fall, get up, again and again. The purpose of it was to increase our speed in getting up and to learn how to minimize injuries when knocked down by acquiring learned reflexes. After my 2013 fall down icy steps holding baby Isabella, sans injuries, I realized just how meaningful that training was.
At first I didn’t understand why we had spent so much time learning how to fall. Why we weren’t just learning how to be super awesome. It wasn’t until much later in life, after many figurative and literal falls, that I learned why learning to fall is so important. It’s because sometimes life happens, a lot. There are curve balls and winding roads, ups and downs, and sometimes the path that you choose, turns out…well, maybe there’s a better path.
For example, long before I began my undergrad, I had my life all figured out. I was an international business major on track for law school (which I had decided on at the ripe old age of five). One year before graduation, I decided to take a course on Whitman and Dickinson. The very first day of class, the professor stood on the table (Dead Poet’s Society-style) and began to read Whitman’s “Oh Me! Oh Life!”
Then he posed the token question, “What will your verse be?” And it’s been the token question ever since. I didn’t know exactly what mine would be but, I realized that I needed to follow my passion and just like that, I changed my major. Ever since then, I’ve been writing my verse.
With each new year, comes the opportunity to write a new chapter, and with each new day, a new verse. How will yours read? What will your verse be? If your life were a book, which genre would shelf its pages? It’s important to know that you choose your story, your tone, and your genre.
Let’s use the opportunity for new beginnings to be a little kinder, more loving, more forgiving and humble, less offended, to learn more, and become healthier. Let’s be less self-involved and more self-aware. Let’s realign our storyline to an end that will leave us with peace, satisfaction, and maybe even a little twist. Set new scenes and revisit the favorites. Add new characters, reintroduce old ones, and dedicate our time to the constants. But in all things, choose happy – for it’s a choice not a gift.
I know that despite my yearly cantation of “this is our year” there will be twists, turns, and speed bumps. But I’ve learned how to fall and I know how to get up. It will also be full of good and sprinkled with victories. In the end, when asked what my verse will be, I know one thing. It will be mine and I will choose happy.
I hope your new year is filled with love, family, victories, good parking spaces, happiness, cookies, and fulfillment. And remember that each moment is a new verse. Here’s to hoping it’s a good one!