Promises to Myself

This seemed like the perfect image with which to begin the new year.  This baby elephant is being fed by his mahout at Elephant Nature Park near Chiang Mai, Thailand. A mahout is a person who drives an elephant; many mahouts are paired with an elephant for both of their lifetimes. There are 34 elephants currently living at the Nature Park and most have been rescued from abusive situations. This little guy was actually born at the park so he will never have to endure the “torture training” method historically used to break elephants in Thailand.

This baby elephant made my heart soft(er) as did the good work being done at the Elephant Nature Park.

As I said yesterday, I’ve established no resolutions for this new year.  My belief is that we can become too easily undone by our January 1st “blank slate” plans for a brighter, shinier self.  Don’t get me wrong… I love both the idea and the the act of of goal-setting and I have several very specific goals in mind for my immediate future.  It’s also important to acknowledge the hard work required to achieve my goals; I am willing to do that work.  After years of experience, I’ve become a big fan of writing those goals down; I believe that the act of committing these promises to ourselves on paper (or a word document) gives us a greater chance at success.  A blog post, however, is not always the best place to record these promises.  (I fully acknowledge that I may be one of the last people to maintain such old fashioned notions about privacy.)

You may be asking yourself why, if these “promises to myself” seem resolution-like, do I not simply call them resolutions?  It’s just too loaded, this idea that we will all make ourselves over, suddenly and completely, now that 2010 has pushed raggedy old 2009 out of the way. There is nothing about the new year, beyond the obvious symbolism, that makes our personal goals any more worthwhile than any other day of the year and I would argue that societal pressures surrounding issues like diet and exercise at the beginning of the year may actually make our resolutions harder to keep. So is it just a matter of semantics, then? Perhaps… but the language we choose to use is powerful indeed.

One of the promises I’ve made to myself is that when I visit this little blog-house to write a post, I’m going to talk to you as if we were having coffee together.  There’s nothing I like better than a little chat with friends. You can bet on a photo most days… and there will definitely be some travel tales… but mostly, you’ll find me and my life.  The thing I’d like to offer here at Monna McD, whenever you pop by, is an (appropriately!) intimate visit.

I’m still dreaming about elephants, those rescued from the lumber industry and from tourist shows… and also those lucky babies born in the almost-wild.  Call me sentimental (you would not be the first!) but I feel genuinely happy that these beautiful animals will have a brighter new year because people cared about them and got involved in their lives.  That’s what I’m hoping for – for all of us.


  1. Our friend in Thailand gave us these details of another Elephant sanctuary near Chiang Mai seems to be a lovely thing to do when you're in this part of Thailand.

  2. @Heather on her travelsHi Heather. Thanks for sharing this link. A quick note about the elephant painting: The people who were caring for the elephants at Elephant Nature Park made a special point of telling us that the painting that goes on at some elephant parks is not good for the animals.

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