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SALT LAKE CITY — Welcome 2013.
When I graduated from high school in 1993, the year 2013 seemed so far in the future I was sure we’d be seeing flying cars by now. Of course, some modern marvels are more marvelous than we imagined. With FaceTime, television phones are better than we dreamed. I can literally pull books, movies and music out of thin air and read, watch, or listen instantly. Mix tapes have been replaced by playlists and my current “boombox” can fit into the back pocket of my skinniest skinny jeans.
What hasn’t changed is the collective need to start fresh. To wipe the slate clean each Jan. 1 and vow to live a life of perfect bliss.
“I will never eat sugar again.”
“I will save money each month and be more frugal.”
“I will be more patient.”
“I will exercise every day, no matter what.”
“I will make all of our family time productive and educational.”
“I will organize photos/closets/cabinets/files, etc.”
“I will stop reading People and start reading 'War and Peace.'”
With minds full of ideas and hearts full of good intentions, the new year begins with promise and hope.
By Jan. 5, most of us are right back where we started. At least I am.
Resolutions just don’t work for me. Try as I might, change is hard. I am an old dog who is averse to learning new tricks, despite the fact that these new tricks could make me a much happier and healthier dog.
As human beings, it’s common to want to improve ourselves. It’s also common to slip back into old routines. Rather than set myself up for disappointment, this year I am eschewing the resolution route. Instead, I’m going to give this year a theme to live by.
This year the theme is, “Try.”
It’s simple, but it’s a big one for me. I’ve always been a great observer, but not one to put myself out there. To get me to try something new takes time. I was in my 20s when I went on my first big roller coaster. My husband and I had taken a quick trip to Disneyland where they had just opened California Screamin'. It’s fast, high, and goes upside down. I didn’t want my new husband to think I was a chicken, but the fact is, I was a chicken.
] I watched that ride go round and round for two days before I gathered the courage to get on board. Of course, after that first ride I was hooked. But I needed to study the ride over and over before I could get my shaky self to strap on the harness.
There is a song that inspired my theme this year. It’s “Try” by Pink.
"Where there is desire there is gonna be a flame.
"Where there is a flame, someone's bound to get burned.
"But just because it burns doesn't mean you're gonna die.
"You gotta get up and try, try, try."
Some of my proudest moments in life have come from doing things I was terrified to try. Teaching high school. Becoming a fitness instructor. Getting married. Running a marathon. Becoming a mom.
Failure is a scary thing. And to be sure, I failed many times as a teacher, a wife, a runner, a mom. I taught classes to a room full of blank stares. I've led fitness classes that lacked a bit of "oomph." I've let myself get frustrated when my husband forgets something as insignificant as taking out the trash when it's full. I've had races that ended in tears of frustration rather than joy. I forgot to send cookies to my kids' holiday parties.
But for every failed attempt, I've experienced great joy. There was the day a struggling student finally passed the reading proficiency test required for all Nevada students was a moment of joy. The day I got my cycle class to yell out "I'm sexy and I know it" with passion was a moment of joy. Every wedding anniversary is a moment of joy. Running my first sub three-hour marathon was a moment of joy. Snuggling with my kids Christmas morning was a moment of joy.
If I hadn't pushed my fears aside, none of these moments would have happened. I'm left to wonder how many other moments I've let slip away because I didn't try.
I'd rather not find out.
Before I say, "No" or "I can't" or "I don't know how" I will simply "Try." Maybe I'll fall, or maybe I'll fly. But I will never know unless I try.
Kim Cowart is a wife, mother, 24-Hour Fitness instructor and marathoner who tried to make it to midnight on New Year's Eve and failed.