The best resolutions I ever made were the ones I really wanted to keep.
1) Aim for mediocrity.
2) Prioritize happy hour.
3) Be sillier.
These were healthy messages for me since 1) I easily stress out 2) I LOVE to socialize and 3) well, I’m already silly, but I enjoyed being even sillier that year. With each of these resolutions, I set aside the constant focus on self-improvement and striving for success. I implicitly told myself:
- Forget being better.
- Forget “new and improved.”
- Forget the constant messages in our consumer culture that tell us we need to have shinier hair and better smells and a more awesome car and the correct peanut butter in order to be loved or happy or fulfilled.
I’m more or less satisfied with my hair and my smell and my car and my peanut butter. “Better” is not necessarily better.
The temptation is still there, though. I want to eat healthier. Go to the gym more. Move forward with the WinkyFace YouTube project. And work on a big research project with unbelievable amounts of energy. Be better, Laurie. Better, better, better!
I want to call my parents more. Buy people gifts more regularly. Spend more time with friends. Play board games with my kids. Spend more quality time with my husband. More, Laurie. More, more, more!
Those voices are likely to keep playing in my head. I think they may be part of who I am. But those voices are strong enough and do not need to be elevated to the status of a resolution. Really, those voices need to hush up a bit so I can occasionally relax.
So here I am. On the one hand, I pressure myself to be better. On the other hand, my best resolutions are the ones that give me permission to enjoy life.
My answer? Wherever the next year takes me—whether I work hard or not, whether I face difficult times or not, whether I “improve” or not—I resolve to appreciate. To take pleasure. To suck the marrow. Yum.
Washing the dishes. Dealing with a broken computer. Binge-watching TV. Not part of the ideal picture of my upcoming year, but these are the realities. And they are beautiful. Or at least they can be.