Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Remember Who You Wanted To Be

Somehow I earlier this fall I happened upon Gretchen Rubin's Twelve Personal Commandments. The idea resounded with me. Calling them commandments felt icky to me but the idea was bewitching. It reminded me of another bewitching idea I had happened upon several falls ago.

I hate bumper stickers. I could rant your face off about that, but why? In the fall of 2004 I was a newlywed and living briefly in a Holiday Inn. I came home from work one day and in the Holiday Inn parking lot I saw an old beater with a bumper sticker on in that read "Remember Who You Wanted To Be." The idea resounded with me. It was the first bumper sticker I had ever seen that was worth the glue that held it to the bumper. It has haunted me ever since.

I have seen what it looks like when people forget who they wanted to be. It is sad. It musty and dank and depressing. It is everywhere. I knew the moment I read those words that I didn't want to forget who I wanted to be. What I have never been confident about was how I am supposed to make sure I remember.

I think that is why Gretchen's commandment idea was so poignant to me. What do I do in day to day life when I want to remember something? I make list. I write it down. That is what my personal commandments are - a list to help me remember who I wanted to me.

After I made my list I still grappled with my uneasiness with the word commandment. It is a loaded word. I toyed with other words like reminder or principle but they didn't capture the point of the exercise. Commandment is the only word...commanding...enough to express what I want to do with this list. I want to command myself to remember who I wanted to be.
Not in a biblical sense but in a military sense. My mission is remembering who I wanted to be and these are my marching orders.

Sir, yes, sir!

1. Be here now.
2. Give grace.
3. Laugh.
4. Let your smile make you happy.
5. Suffer long.
6. Don't assume another's neurosis.
7. Play along.
8. Empathize.
9. Go outside.
10. Say I'm sorry.
11. Care.
12. Choose and offer freedom.


Ashley Raven said...

I love this....simple, but yet seems so difficult at times.

Misty said...

I find #10 to be one of the hardest ones to follow...especially to my spouse. Sad but very true. :-( Thank you for sharing your list with us, and I may...just may...create my own.