Years ago, I went on a girls' trip that got out of hand. We were in our early 20s and had too much to drink. Two people ended up cheating on their then-boyfriends. It was horrible. I'll spare you any other details to protect the amazing girls who were present and tell you this: they recognized, instantly, they'd made a mistake.
The moral hangover in the car on the drive home stung much worse than any leftover vodka did. I remember thinking, as we sat - mostly in silence - and our two friends cried as they looked out the windows - this is not the way I want to live. This is not who I want to be. I don't want to drink like this and I don't want my friends to make these kinds of choices. For years I despised the city we'd visited, the shame of the weekend outweighing any of its joy.
I thought of that trip the other day as I changed McCoy's diaper. It hadn't crossed my mind in years. As I snuggled him for bed that night, I thought that one of the things I hope to teach him in life is this:
You get to choose who you want to be.
Do you want to be someone who cheats on her boyfriend? No? Then don't do it.
Do you want to be someone who is patient with her husband? Take a deep breath before you speak. Then be patient.
Do you want to be someone who goes to the gym when she says she will? Set your alarm early enough to make it there.
Do you want to save for vacation? Then stop spending.
Do you want to be kind and gentle? Hard working? An optimist? An encourager? A realist?
Then be those things.
You may think I'm oversimplifying it. And maybe I am. But, everyone has 24 hours each day. We can only rest on our laurels so long before we're making excuses not to grow and evolve. Being who you want to be, for the majority of us, really just takes discipline. Whether it be the discipline of holding your tongue or not clicking through that darn promotional email (I know - I know - it's 60% off!), it is simply a matter of not indulging.
Every day, you have a chance to be who you want to be. Take a deep breath, say a prayer, meditate, slow down - do whatever it is you need to do to make it possible. And if you mess up today - if you snap at your husband or skip the gym or just don't have the energy to clean your house - try again tomorrow.
Every single day is a fresh start to be who you want to be.