I’m not big on resolutions, but I’ve promised myself that I will do one thing this year: I will remember to breathe.
You see, at some point, probably when I was living in NYC, I stopped breathing. Sounds silly, right? But some of you know what I’m talking about.
You hold your breath to keep out the smell of a rank subway car, the aroma of garbage fermenting in the street, the fumes arising from row upon row of gridlocked idling taxicabs. It’s a defense mechanism of sorts.
And then it carries over to other parts of your life. It becomes second nature to hold your breath, to stop breathing, in times of stress or when anxiety strikes or when you’re concentrating so hard on something that you need to block out everything else.
It has gotten so bad that I have notes taped up on my computer monitor at work, reminding me to breathe. I set a calendar reminder so that once an hour I am reminded to stop what I’m doing, unclench my shoulders, and breathe. But I don’t. I sit and stress until I’m lightheaded, and I literally have to gasp for air.
This is no way to live.
I need to remember to breathe.
I need to feel lighter.
2010 was a difficult year for us. The losses we suffered, both public and private, were devastating. But we weathered them, and we’ve entered this new year with a strong resolve and a renewed determination to make the life we want for ourselves. Already we have much to look forward to, projects and plans, milestones and celebrations.
I want to enjoy it all to the fullest.
I want to remember how to breathe.