I am going to start this post by saying, I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions. Why? Because New Year’s Resolutions are, more often than not, goals that we could have made and started and failed 6 months ago. I know this because I have spent the past 6 months making, starting, adapting, and yes, failing various goals.
In my opinion New Year’s Resolutions are nothing more than a annual fad and a societal construct that clogs gyms in the first few weeks of January. They are things we “want” or have “wanted” for who knows how long but if we take a minute to sit down and be honest with ourselves, then we just have to admit the truth. And that truth, in its simplest terms, is this – “If I wanted to, I would.” Despite the date, despite the time, and despite the fact that it feels like everyone else is doing it with me, “If I wanted to, I would.”
If I… you know the rest
I struggle with this a lot. Not New Year’s Resolutions of course because, as I said, I don’t believe in them. No, what I struggle with is that phrase, the honest one – the one that reminds me, “If you wanted to, you would.” If I wanted to be in a relationship, I would. If I wanted to read that book, I would. If I wanted to write a book, a blog post, or even a grocery list, I would. If I actually wanted to be “that person,” I would. But the truth of the matter is that I don’t know what I want, not anymore, not really – because everything I used to want, everything I thought I wanted, everything I expected myself to be at this time and at this age, it doesn’t fit anymore. And yeah that is terrifying, but it’s better than the lies and the excuses.
So yeah, I don’t believe in New Year’s Resolutions. I cannot stress that enough because I don’t believe in giving one day the kind of power to decide my habits for a whole year. And the reason I can’t stress that enough is because what I’m about to share is going to sound a lot like a resolution, but I can promise you – it is not.
So I say it again…
I don’t believe in New Year’s Resolutions – (here comes the but) BUT I do believe in growth. I do believe in making goals no matter the time of year so let’s call this what it is rather than what it is not. A revelation, not a resolution.
I’d like to say…” it wasn’t always like this.”
I can’t say that there was ever a time that I didn’t care what other people thought. At least, not one I can remember. I mean, you don’t get to be like me without caring what people think. You don’t get to be like me without internalizing a lot of things and making a lot of strict rules to follow in order to get by or fit in as if everyone else’s opinion or life is more valuable than yours.
I’d like to say that “it wasn’t always like this” but if I could actually remember a time when it wasn’t then I think it would be a whole heck of a lot easier to cross out the rules I’ve made for myself and be the kind of person I actually want to be. If it wasn’t so normal to me – it would be a lot easier to change. But change isn’t easy, so it’s time to cut the crap and do the darn thing.
Spoiler alert: I learned this in therapy
We haven’t talked about this because I haven’t been around lately, but I started going to therapy again. (We love a queen who takes care of herself.) And around the time I started therapy again, I took a break from writing. Not a full stop kind of break, but one significant enough to stop the trend I had kept up for most of the year. The one where I was posting on here almost every Friday. And if I’m being honest, which I am, the pause also had a lot to do with not being able to focus my thoughts enough to get a clear post out. (This will make sense later but…rule # whatever: if it’s not going to be perfect, or near perfect, or even just good enough to get by – don’t bother.) So, in short, there was too much happening in the world and in my head and since I wasn’t an expert on either or anything – well I thought it best to take a break, so I did.
I wanted to, so I did.
Anyway, my posting again doesn’t mean I have it all figured out. In a lot of ways, the opposite is true. I have less figured out today than I did three months ago. So what changed? What is different? Well, other than the number at the end of the year and the unfortunate fact that it is January, what’s different is the message/lesson that my therapist gave me the other day. This lesson? “You make the rules for your life, so if you want to change the rules – you are allowed to. You’re allowed to re-write the rules because you make your own rules.” Because apparently, it is “that easy.”
New rule: “You Make the Rules”
When it comes to my life, I make the rules… Isn’t that a novel idea? I mean it seems so obvious, and to many people, it probably is — but for me, it hasn’t been. It hasn’t been something allowed myself to do, for one reason or another, so her saying it, well, let’s just say that something in my thick brain finally clicked.
I make the rules…I make the rules about my life. I make the rules… and because I do, I won’t call it a resolution. In fact, I can’t call it a resolution. I really can’t – because for me, taking on this challenge, this project, and these rewrites are hard enough without the statistics being against me. So I won’t call it a resolution because that is not what this is. (But it certainly is something isn’t it?)
So what is it?
What it is, is a revelation, it’s an undertaking, it’s a new and undeniable truth. One that (I’ll say it again) may seem very obvious to others, but it wasn’t something I allowed myself to believe. But now I do – and no, that doesn’t mean I am magically cured or that I’m suddenly going to be the individual I’ve always dreamed of being overnight because that’s not how this works. But what it does mean I can start working toward being that person. It means I can try. And yes, that’s kind of terrifying but it’s also progress.
So despite what this may seem like, despite the date, the time, and the new number at the end of the year this is not a resolution, it’s just me. It’s me being a work in progress, and at present, it’s an “I wanted to, so I did” in progress. And yes, it is new and it is terrifying – but I also can’t wait to see where this part of my story leads.