Don’t sweat it, it’s not your fault. It’s inevitable really. The lead up to December 25, then to December 31 is always overwhelming to all. We are either entertaining constantly, cooking endlessly, food shopping daily or wrapping gifts. Our “to do” lists seem endless and just when we sense some relief, we realize we forgot to send the cards out. Then all of a sudden, it comes to a screeching halt when you plant your drunken and dazed head on the pillow sometime, hopefully, after midnight on December 31.
And then you wake up on January 1 to realize that, “Oh crap, now I’m supposed to become a much better person.” I should leap up out of bed and get started right away! This is my year! I’m going to eat better, lose weight, become a nicer wife, sister, mother, whatever. I am going to raise money for a charity, travel to exotic places, lose however many pounds, write a book, introduce myself to kale, and yoga, stay out of the sun, stop biting my nails, learn a new language, study other religions, shave my legs in January, keep in touch with my friends, stop hand holding my adult children, get more exercise, stop watching “The Bachelor” and loving it, clean out the closet, the attic, the basement, the room over the garage, the cabinets under the bathroom sinks, and on and on and on it goes until you’d rather just put your head back down and pretend it’s last year again when none of this happened.
January sucks. It’s cold and none of the spirit lifting holiday songs are on the radio anymore. No one is watching “Elf,” or “Rudolph” and you can’t just shove anything and everything into your mouth with a knowing grin and acceptance from all around you. Most of us buy into the post holiday starvation plan and are just plain miserable. We aren’t drinking, eating or shopping anymore. Seriously, we should all just crawl up into a ball and lie down in that little patch of sunshine that warms the kitchen floor sometime around 2 pm. (The dogs are always smart enough to find that spot.) We have started our cycle of self-loathing with thoughts like this rattling around in that starving brain, “I’m lazy. I’m tired. I’m uninteresting. I’m fat, out of shape, stupid, weak.” What we need is a pizza and beer to get us back on track.
Instead we make resolutions. I HATE New Year’s resolutions and believe they were designed to make people hate themselves. Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with goal setting and with trying to end bad habits and start anew. It’s just that no one said it has to all start at the same time and we have to go cold turkey, or more likely, tofu, all at once!
What if our resolutions had no cultural or social restrictions/expectations on them? What if we could make resolutions that might actually make us happier? Mine might look something like this:
- I resolve to eat less green and more orange this year. (bring on the Cheetos and the Cap’n Crunch and say goodbye to kale and any veggie smoothie thing done in a Nutri-Bullet)
- I resolve to re-watch all of the prior Downton Abby seasons so as to be prepared for the final season.
- I resolve to only shop for a new bathing suit in July. By then, they are on sale and I am tan.
- I resolve to throw out my scale.
- I resolve to study the health benefits of IPA’s and tequila. I volunteer as a subject.(There, see, I VOLUNTEERED!)
- I resolve to spend two winter months with my feet firmly planted in warm sand. (sounds like a perfect place to conduct the IPA/tequila test)
- I resolve to spend more quality time with my husband out at restaurants that have liquor licenses.
- I resolve to stop hand holding my adult children and will ignore all requests for money from them.
- I resolve to exercise more by playing additional days of paddle tennis and indoor tennis followed by lunch with the ladies.
- I resolve to stop biting my nails and will get manicures weekly to insure success.
As you can see, one could go on forever. Can you imagine the success rates and the joy created by following such resolutions? January might become an entirely different animal for all of us. It’s all in the way you look at life and remember, if you are really lucky, January comes every year. Confront it, own it, and smile.
The bottom line is this. Life is short, be happy. No one can make you happy but yourself, so stop beating the hell out of yourself. Ease in to January. No one says the 5+ lbs gained over the holidays has to come off in week one! No one says to suck the joy out of your life overnight. Eat a cookie. Watch TV, have a beer. And, remember, you’re not alone. It’s January, everyone is miserable. The key is, you can choose not to be. Be kind. To yourself. That’s the best New Year’s resolution ever. From there, all good things will come.
Happy New Year!