New Year’s Resolutions. Ugh. If I’m not careful, the post holiday blues and short winter days will start whispering that I have to make big changes in order to be happy, fulfilled, or content. Then my January will look something like this.
I will declare December for the out of control eating mess that it was and vow to never eat another sweet again in my natural life. There will be cookies in heaven, right? Like a craft service table, but God sized? I’ll be good here on Earth. I’ll say no to the carbs, wear pants that button, and when I get to heaven the reward will be pie.
Person on Earth: Would you like a pastry?
Me: No thank you, I’m saving those for the afterlife. (fake smile)
The swearing off of all carbs will surely help me to lose that 10 (fine, 20) pounds and life will be better.
All the extra time I have from not baking or eating carbs will give me time to notice what a wreck the house is, so I’ll make a resolution to declutter for good. What starts in a closet will spread across the house until every nook and cranny is stripped down to the essentials. I’ll throw out half of what we own and organize the rest. Here, Goodwill, please have these boxes and boxes of items that Marie Kondo says I don’t need anymore.
(Confession: Marie was right about a lot of things last January and my kitchen drawers and linen closets are as organized and functional now as they were during the great KonMari event of 2019. Kudos to you, dear woman, for your tidying magic. Obviously, not all resolutions are a lost cause.)
Once the house is clean, I will kick back to enjoy the organized, sparkling masterpiece that is my home. I will yell at my kid when she dares to leave a toy in the floor and scowl at my husband when he forgets to take his shoes off at the door. Yay me. Such great work will warrant a treat, but I swore off sweets and, try as I may, I simply will not be able to muster up any celebratory feelings over carrot sticks. Also, I’ll be tired because I’ll still be 20 pounds overweight, I will have done a month’s worth of cleaning in two days, and my body will be in full on sugar detox. The internet will tell me all these things can be fixed by drinking more water and exercising, so I’ll add those to my list of things to do in the new year.
I will be an organized, sugar free, exercised woman who is a total B to be around because of the load of unrealistic expectations I’ve packed for myself. I will be tired from cleaning. I will have organized so well that I won’t be able to find any of my stuff. I’ll be sore from that relic of a P90x DVD and I’ll be feeling a little guilty about the dirty names I called Tony Horton in my sweat induced rage. I will harbor resentment toward anyone who dares eat a brownie in my presence and I’ll have to pee from all that water I’ll be drinking.
It’ll be mid January and I will be OVER IT.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t really want to do that this year.
We are staring down 2020 and the world is buzzing. People are trash talking the decade behind us and over inflating the one in front of us, but I have just one thing to say.
I’m stepping into the New Year as me.
I’d still like to lose 20 pounds. I’ll probably drink more water and I will totally get back on the treadmill that I ignored in the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I’ll keep trying because drinking water and moving my body makes me feel good. I won’t be sad if I lose that 20 pounds, but my life will be none the poorer if I never do.
I will care for my home and continue in the pursuit to live a life of purpose with the people that matter most. I will do so with the expressed goal of being mindful and not with the expectation that my entire life needs to change in order for me to be happy.
And I will eat carbs. I won’t eat ALL the carbs, but I WILL EAT THE CARBS, because hot pretzel bread is obviously from the heavens and few things makes me happier than taking my daughter for a special donut breakfast date.
January will not bully me. The New Year will not pressure me. A new decade will not force me into changing who I am. I will not pick up the heavy weight of unrealistic expectations. I will do my best and that’s the best I can do.
The last decade was not trash and the next will not be perfect. I am grateful for where I’ve been and I look forward to what is ahead. I will reach for new things and work to be the best me, but I will not do that at the expense of the moment I am in.
In case you need to hear it, you have the right to make big changes and the new year is as good a time as any to make them, but you do not have to be anyone except who you are. You don’t have to be someone new. You can still be you.
So, here’s to where we’ve been, where we are, and where we’re going. Here’s to the loved ones that surround us. Here’s to being happy where we are, as we are. Here’s to a happy new year.
For more stories of living happily in the awkward middle of life, love, and parenting, follow Happy Like This by Mandy McCarty Harris.