It's a new year. I get caught somewhere between elated and absolutely horrified when people ask me what my resolution(s) is(are). The promise of self improvement that resolutions afford is alluring. Everyone surely has something they can tweak. Is that not why we are here; to do a little better for ourselves and for our world? But what to resolve?
The week of Christmas I had two unpleasant conversations with women I previously looked to for guidance and support. In a place I had felt safe, I was stripped of that security and felt something like inadequacy and/or shame. I kid you not, one told me I was a fart in the wind and lack a backbone. Yes, "fart in the wind" is a direct quote. What must I smell like, I thought. After I reemerged from the rubble of my mind, I dusted my shoulders off, grabbed my lady pants and decided to make a change for better or worse. I welcomed the concrete ending of the year and approached resolution making with the same perfectionism that while well intentioned has been a detriment in my past and continues to challenge my serenity today. At first it was euphoric. I thought really deeply about what has been working and what hasn't. I made lists. I sought resources and found outlets for the best resolution themes. I identified 20 goals if not more. My goals had goals. Media and industry flooded me at every touch point. And I picked on every part of me in response to these conflicting stimuli.
Get a partner. Dump your partner. Leave your job. Find a friend. Sign up for that cleanse. Did someone say online dating? Kabbalah. Try crossfit. Travel. Meditate !!! Give up bread. Um yeah, no.
I was going to learn every skill I ever endeavored to learn and scrapbook all the keepsakes I have saved since as long as I can remember. I would make it to church each Sunday, on time, ten pounds lighter. Bye bye student loans. Hell, I would meal prep.
Then I started to get anxious, afraid even. Afraid I could not even get a resolution right. What if I was a resolution reject? Ruminating set in as it always does. Gosh I need this in my life but where to start and will I ever have time to commit to this formidable goal? I scoured the internet for options.
PSA: Never scour the internet for options.
- Personal budgeting software.
- Gym membership.
- Time management tools.
- Weight watchers, of course.
- Thirty day guide to happy, healthy, nasty, wonderful, wicked, everything YOU.
The self help groups have brought their "A" games I thought. I need to read all of these books. All of them. The e-course on courage. The Zumba trial. Oh the cleanses. The entities I will call the resolution committee churned out paragraph after paragraph of ways to be our best selves. I felt defeated before I even began.
By the end of my brief, frantic journey to identify my resolution, I was tired. Am I really that in need of repair, I thought. Did nothing work last year that I should be compelled to do everything a different way? If I don't achieve these identified outcomes, then what? THEN WHAT?
The painful advice I received in a way was an invitation, an invitation to evolve, but in trying to do so I hit the gas and spun out, tire treads burned into the driveway. I dialed it back and identified some overarching themes. Wellness, mindfulness, and the fostering of creative opportunities. Realistically there is and always will be room for growth. That's part of the whole miracle of being human. Someone told me living life is like preparing a meal, a perfect analogy for this hungry overthinker. In her gentle, calm voice she said that some days you will cultivate the parts of the meal that warrant the most care. This pot or that pan may go on the back burner, to regain attention down the road. But the process is unending. The most critical element of this picture that she painted is just that: continuity.
You cannot force an awakening and my resolutions, if they can even be called that, will not change me overnight. A soft shove in the right direction will do for today.