So here I am, at the beginning of January … er, the middle of January … *ahem* … And I am writing a post about New Year’s resolutions. It’s not terribly creative or exciting or unexpected, is it? I know. It feels a bit hum-drum, even to me. I shouldn’t admit this out loud. Because you might stop reading right here and now. Yikes! (I hope you don’t, by the way. I so love having you here. And I so love nattering away at you.)
It has been many years since I last made a New Year’s resolution. I’m sitting here trying to think about when I last did this. It must have been before my daughter was born, so that’s at least 15 years. If not more. Double yikes! Clearly, I am way out of practice with the whole “resolutions” thing. I never was any good at it. I would make all these resolutions and start out the new year brimming with good intentions. Every darn year, I would have broken each and every resolution by the time mid-January rolled around. I think the only resolution I ever managed to keep was the one where I promised myself I would no longer make resolutions.
And now, I am even breaking that one. Go me!
This year, I sat down and thought about resolutions. For the first time in a long time, I thought hard. I really pondered! Because I need a fresh start. I need to change this rut my life has fallen into over the last few years. I need to grab it by the throat, shake it violently, and make it into something new. Something I can live with. Something that works for me. Something that makes me feel good about the fact that I’m alive, instead of making me feel like Life is tossing me under the bus at every twist and turn.
I had to face some facts that I didn’t want to face. I’m not getting any younger. I’m not happy with the way things are. I don’t love myself. I am in a place in my life where I never expected to be. Once I got to be “of a certain age”, I believed things would get easier. Or, maybe, I would have succeeded at something. Or I would have pursued a dream. Or … something. I thought I would be settled and satisfied with at least part of my life. But I am not. And I am beginning to suspect that things are not going to work out the way I always thought they would.
These are not great revelations. But I never made myself sit down and face them, head-on. I have always pushed these thoughts and feelings to the side. I’ve become good at pretending they don’t exist. But they do exist. They are real, and they hurt like hell.
In facing my truths, my resolution, such as it is, became clear, too. This year, I didn’t need to tell myself, “Self, we are going to resolve to eat less sugar.” Or, “Self, we are going to resolve to lose some weight.” Or, “Self, we are going to stop cursing.” (perish the thought!)
I realized every resolution I wanted boiled down to this one thing: I want to learn to be kind to myself.
Let’s just think about that for a minute. Let it sink in. Because, honestly, it’s pretty damn terrifying.
I want to be kind to myself. By the end of the year, I want to stand in front of the mirror and look myself in the eyes. And I want to love the person I see looking back at me. Or, at the very least, feel a strong “like” for her, as if she is someone I wouldn’t mind going out with for a drink or dinner. I want to exercise, not to lose weight, but because it makes me feel good. I want to write because it brings me joy, not because someone expects me to or because I might get some elusive, imagined “reward” for doing it well. I want to give myself credit for trying my best and having the best of intentions, instead of always immediately seeing everything I have done wrong. I want to say to my God, “Thank You for this amazing and beautiful life You have given me”. And I want to mean it.
It’s a tall order. That’s why it’s so scary. But it’s also why this “resolution of resolutions” is oh-so-worth it. Will I succeed? I really don’t know. Maybe not completely. After all, we are talking about a whole lifetime of self-hatred pitted against one year of trying to change things. But, if I succeed even a little, that will be huge. And it will be enough.
So … a year of learning to love myself. Let’s see how it goes!