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Older, Wiser, Better


If you realize that you aren’t as wise today as you thought you were yesterday, you’re wiser today.

– Bulletin of Detroit Jefferson Avenue Presbyterian Church

Last week I had the pleasure of spending Christmas with my niece. We went ice skating one of those days, but it didn’t last very long because we had different ideas of what constituted skating. Her idea was that I hold her up as we skate around the rink, trying to keep her from knocking us both over. This method probably works well with her dad, but I’m not strong enough to support her body weight for that long.

My idea of skating was to teach her how to skate. Which was a lot more work for her. Which is why our skating session didn’t last very long. Still, she was able to skate on her own for short periods of time. I tried to reinforce her efforts by telling her that she was a much better skater than when we started. This was also my attempt to rationalize spending $20 for less than an hour of skating.

Rather than taking this as a compliment, she interpreted my positive feedback as criticism about not being a good skater to begin with. Which I understand. I am a master at turning compliments into insults. In fact, the next day she told me I was pretty and I asked her if she was making fun of me. Which she did not understand at all. Because it doesn’t make any sense. I don’t know what my problem is.

But I digress.

I tried to explain to Sadie that you can be better at something without being bad at it to begin with. Every year I think I’m a better tennis player than I was the year before, even if my rating and my record suggest otherwise. I mark progress by things that don’t show up in stats, like improving my forehand, picking the right shot, watching the ball.

They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, and research has supported this–until recently. Now they say that some areas of cognitive functioning continue to improve throughout our lifetime. I never believed the old research, anyway. At least I didn’t think it applied to me. Because I’m going to get better at tennis, doggone it!

Last year I wrote a post on how to make the most of your New Year’s Resolutions, and I have to say, I did pretty well with mine. They were to

1. Blog 2-3x/week. (There were 2 weeks where I only posted once.)

2. Ask for help when I need it. (I’ve even asked readers, some of whom are perfect strangers, to pray for me.)

3. Say yes to what I want and no to what I don’t want. (I have not given in to the urge to save someone when doing so would have compromised my own well-being.)

This year I will aim to blog 1-2x/week and spend more time participating in the blogosphere. But I think I’ll keep the other two resolutions the same.

Because there’s always room for improvement.

About Christy Barongan

I didn't know it at the time, but I wanted to be a psychologist so that I could figure out how to be normal. I think many people come to counseling for the same reason. What I've come to learn is that feeling good about myself is not about trying to be normal. It's about trying to be me. But it's a constant struggle for me, just like it is for everyone else. So I thought I would approach this task with openness and honesty and use myself as an example for how to practice self-acceptance.

4 responses »

  1. I have a tradition of writing impossible resolutions and not sticking to them,lol. I even don’t remember them by the end of January. I love your resolutions and am happy that you managed to stick with them. For next year, I am going to make realistic resolutions too, and hopefully I can stick with them throughout the year.


  2. Happy New Year! May it be kind and full of good surprises and health.

    Liked by 1 person


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