Toast Note - 29 December 2017

“Be the change you want to see.”

I am forever saying it, but do I mean it? Give me this much, I always mean it in the moment. Living a large principle such as this one, however is difficult. 

Let’s be honest… principles are hard to hold on to full stop. In the face of the daily pressure of life, it’s generally easier to just let it go. Just this once. I mean if I don’t do the thing that exemplifies my purpose, my passion, my principle this one time, who is going to notice, right? We wouldn’t choose a principle to hold on to if it weren’t important, somewhat tricksy, challenging, a bit aspirational. 

Be a good person. Live true to the tenets of my religion. Be an ethical politician. Work hard and make my own way. I’ve heard all of these, witnessed them all in action as the central driving principle for people both in my professional life and out there in the world.

The bottom line is that we can’t always be the thing we want of ourselves. We aren’t always living our best selves. It is especially hard to do the right thing when the wrong thing is easier, more pleasant, more financially expedient, less emotionally charged, more familiar. Like water, our ethics and actions would prefer to follow the path of least resistance. 

I want to be someone others look to for inspiration and advice. Aspirationally, I’d like to be a living example of what it means to change yourself for the better in ways that are both small and large. But some days I fail to exercise or eat food I know is bad for me. I often fail to go out on my mid-day walk or meditate on the ferry. I watch a tawdry television show instead of learn something useful on the GreatCourses. I am cranky with my husband or snarky about choices made by someone else. I’m just not my best self and I sure as hell am not living up to my principles. 

Which is a long way to getting to what I really want to say today which is that ‘just this once’ needs to be at the front of mind. What does it mean to fail today? It means that tomorrow I will get up, pull on my gym clothes, and sweat like a pig. My best self is still available to me as long as I keep trying.

"Mistakes are always forgivable, if one has the courage to admit them." ~ Bruce Lee