Guess what? At this very moment, I am writing to you in the wee sma’s (that’s Anne-speak for “the wee small hours of the morning”). It is the wee sma’s for me anyway, but I just want to make it clear I am not beginning a habit. I just happen to be vaguely energized this morning, and when I woke an hour before my alarm, I couldn’t stop thinking about how fun it would be to do things I wanted to do before I had to do things I have to do. Maybe this is where a habit begins, I guess. But for now, I think we’re safe to call this a fluke. It reminds me of something I love though: The human power to change.
We all know I’m not really a morning person. I usually don’t snarl, and generally I just sort of remain quiet to keep from incriminating myself, but occasionally I am downright chipper. Occasionally. In late junior high, early high school, this was not the case. I snarled. I snarled until I got to school, that is, because God forbid my hallway mates see the real me. I’ve told the story before – Mom called me on it. She taught me one of my favorite life lessons of all time – that our family actually deserves the best of us despite being the people who will love us [almost] no matter what. I have no idea how quickly I turned that around (don’t tell, Mom, I don’t want to know if it took years.) But I eventually let up on the irrational a.m. snarl.
And there are other stories, too. In young adulthood, I was shopping with a friend – a very tall, beautiful friend with long, sleek hair. She once wore a particularly striking long sweater, and to the compliments she received, she said, “If I could afford it, I would dress this way every day.” And I thought, this is a kindred spirit for sure. I always have that thought when I own any one particularly fashionable piece. Anyway, I’m shopping with the friend, and she says to a stranger, “Pardon,” and then turns to me and says, “I’m trying to quit saying excuse me and say pardon instead.” And I can’t even remember the reason – is excuse me poor grammar, perhaps, or slang in some way? I don’t know. But weeks afterward, I remember thinking – with far more curiosity than passionate determination, I wonder if I could make that change.
So the next time I got within two hundred yards of some fellow American’s personal space (goodness, we don’t like to almost touch each other), I said it. Pardon felt almost as foreign coming from my lips as an actual foreign word, but I said it anyway. And then the next time, I thought, let’s try this again. And I did. And, if I remember correctly, it only felt foreign the first couple of times and then it was impossible not to say it. I. Had. Changed.
I still say pardon, and sometimes I feel a little snooty when I do it. (The other person within two hundred yards is usually saying excuse me.) But it is a powerful reminder to me that I am capable of this wonderful thing in which you want something to be different about yourself, and so you begin. And sometimes, that’s the whole of it, the beginning. That’s the hard part and the part where good things happen.
*Seriously, you gotta hear this mutton-busting story.