Published by Mesquite Local News Dec. 2014

By Betty Freeman Haines


On the front porches of my youth, the following bits of wisdom were often shared:  (1) Humanity has advanced, when it has advanced, not because it has been sober, responsible, and cautious, but because it has been playful, rebellious, and daring, and (2) “You can’t win unless you try to win, but you can lose by trying not to lose.”

Unfortunately, this wisdom failed to take root in my youthful psyche. Consequently, I became preoccupied with being careful and missed out on many opportunities to experience new things and have fun.

In my twilight years, I hope to improve the quality of my emotional and spiritual health and incorporate more joy and satisfaction in my life.  Ideally, I would like to do this without putting any unnecessary pressure on myself. With that in mind, I won’t be making any resolutions or setting a bunch of goals for myself this year.  Instead, I’m granting myself ‘permission’ to change and grow. Hopefully, this will produce the desired result. If that doesn’t happen, I won’t stress over it.

As of now, I’m granting myself permission to:

Live in the ‘now’.

Leave my comfort zone and explore new things.

Admit my weaknesses and openly work on them.

Focus on today and let tomorrow take care of itself.

Pursue my passions rather than work on my should do list.

Change my mind simply because I choose to do so.

Tell folks exactly what I want, rather than hope they can guess and suffer in silence when they don’t.

Spend less time with negative people who weigh me down.

Spend more time with upbeat, inspirational people who bring joy into my life just by being themselves.

Let my frivolous spirit run free.

Dream big and chase those dreams, even when I’m scared and wavering.

Dance as if nobody is watching and sing as if nobody is listening.

Make mistakes and not berate myself for doing so.

Treat myself as kindly as I treat my family and close friends.

Allow myself indulgences without feeling guilty.

Laugh at myself – laugh with others – but, NEVER laugh at others.

Give ‘Nellie Neat’ a vacation.

Stop over-analyzing.

Participate in spontaneous activities.

Develop an attitude of gratitude and give thanks to God.

Approach my spirituality as my heart directs, not as others suggest, request or demand.

Believe that each day is filled with infinite possibilities.

Continue to have hope, even when others tell me things are hopeless.

Some may consider this foolish. Too bad for them, as for me, I intend to do things my way and, if that entails becoming a blooming idiot, my new motto will be:  ’Tis better to be a blooming idiot than never to bloom at all.

It seems to me that giving oneself permission to change is less stressful than making resolutions and setting goals.  Hence, I hope each of you will grant yourself permission to have a great year.

Betty Haines is a retired curriculum developer and author with two published novel/e-books to her credit.   Her first novel, Reluctant Hero, is a work of historical fiction in which she heralds her father’s journey from son of a KKK member to a champion of efforts to integrate a South Alabama paper mill.  In her second novel, Grieving Sucks or Does It, is non-fiction.  She shares lessons learned while struggling to adapt to sudden widowhood.  Order both in either print or e-book format from

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