As 2016 closes, social media is buzzing with disdain. For every tragic death, violent act, public mishap, and political apocalypse, the world is ready for a breath of fresh air. And that’s understandable. But let’s also remember that strength rises from the ashes of disappointment, that innovation is the result of facing the seemingly insurmountable. Maybe we should thank 2016 for pushing us, for having our number, for throwing us into the lion’s den with a toothpick and a meat sandwich. So, in turn, as we rinse 2016 from the drain, let’s resist making crazy deals with the Fates, bargaining our way into “better me” misery. Traditionally, the New Year incites a flurry of “do’s & don’ts” to finally shape our lives and bodies into the version of ourselves we’ve always dreamed. Yet, the personal foibles and bad habits we carry are so often the idiosyncrasies everyone else adores about us. In the spirit of embracing ourselves, let’s promise to NOT make these five resolutions.
1.) I resolve to never eat another sweet treat again.
NO. NO. NO. What did sweets ever do to us besides provide immense pleasure to our taste buds and sugar buzz to our tired, distracted brains? Ever since “calorie” became a naughty word, sweets have been labeled the devil’s manna, and while it’s always good to exercise caution, it is NOT good to eliminate the wonders that are double-fudge brownies, raspberry cheesecakes, and homemade whipped cream. I say, let’s eat fewer veggies. Let’s drink more juice and coffee and beer- ah, yes, beer. Water is still the main ingredient for every beverage, so rather than strip down the fluids and solids of our life into flavorless microbes, let’s just acknowledge that sugar is worth the taste.
2.) I resolve to yoga/sprint/break dance/lift giant logs with gusto.
Keeping active is crucial to feeling good. We’ve all felt the sluggishness after a gloriously lazy day, and thought, “Okay- this was great, but I maybe tomorrow I need to actually move more than five feet off the couch.” So, I’m certainly not suggesting couchitude, or lay-in-bed-ishness. I’m just saying…we don’t need to devote three to four hours per day to becoming the next Jillian Michael. Let’s activate in moderation. Let’s get outside, play with our kids, bounce on a trampoline or two…and then, you know, sit. Five-minute abs? Sure. Ninety-minute quadriceps? Yeah, I’ll pass.
3.) I resolve to organize all facets of my life.
Chaos is intriguing. Chaos is inspiring. Chaos is never boring. Now, eliminating boredom is a resolution I could actually get on board with…not that my life is boring now–far from it–but keeping things interesting is a great goal. It’s just hard to be adventurous when every detail of our lives is organized, planned, locked into the calendar. Be spontaneous. Let your life get messy. Throw away the calendar, date book, neatly arranged file organizing system….and just dig into the dirty. Messy mode is real and beautiful and exhilarating. And if it really drives you crazy, just rip January out of the calendar. You can go back to Organization Station February 1st.
4.) I resolve to live firmly in the present, to let go of the past.
Grudges. Ah, grudges. They are there within each of us, lurking, casting shadows on our relationships and self-images. So, I understand the desire to live in the present, to cast away the pain of our past in order to embrace the light of the future. But there’s something to be said for learning from our past, from walking forward without the burden of a toxic relationship or a negative environment. If we let everything go, will we remember the lessons we’ve learned? The past includes a map of our most emotional moments, of our mistakes and trials, of regret and longing. It is our foundation. As we walk forward into 2017, let’s bring the past with us: the lamp of experience.
5.) I resolve to be gloriously, deliriously, all-consumingly happy.
Okay, no one is saying we should sit around and cry all the time. (Those who know me well are laughing right now.) But, seriously- I’m not advocating Trail of Tears- the Resurgence. No, I’m just saying that happiness is sweetest after a sipping the appertif of disappointment. As much as I love roller coasters and dance clubs and Key West, experiencing them every single day would remove some of the beauty and excitement from the special times I actually get to go. (Okay, Key West is the exception- I could happily live there for the rest of my days, secretly writing in the Hemingway House by day and roaming Duval Street by night). But for everything else…less is more, including being ecstatically happy. As 2017 dawns, let’s remember that sunrise is breathtaking because it follows the deep darkness of nighttime.
May 2017 be filled with resolutions to just be yourself. Happy New Year!