Fair warning to those who are resolving fervently at this time of year—you’ll find no sympathetic ear here.
It’s not that I don’t applaud your intentions. I do, usually. Losing weight, being nicer to your family, getting to the gym five days per week—they’re all worthy of polite applause.
It is, rather, that as I age I become more of a realist.
I’ve watched the same woman from my eldest’s elementary school days gain and lose the same 35 pounds for about a decade now.
I’ve watched another peach of a gal swear she is going to be deeper and more introspective—and yet, year after year, she remains a shallow woman who critiques others’ fashion choices and makes her husband miserable when she gets a diamond necklace rather than the diamond tennis bracelet she specifically requested. Oh yes, and is generally overserved at every backyard barbecue, when her loud rhetoric brings shallow to an entirely new low.
I’ll refrain from more examples to spare myself my friends asking if they were among those called out in my latest blog entry. Honesty works in a blog but can be hell on your social life.
Most of us can remain resolute for a while, but the problem that got us into our situation in the first place—the reason we overeat, drink too much or place entirely too much value on the trappings of life—tends not to get addressed. Hence, my disdain for resolutions and the initial fanfare that comes with many of them. They are like the boyfriend that comes on strong with flowers and sweet talk up front, but ends up scratching himself on the sofa within three months’ time, asking you to fetch him a beer. Resolutions, like Mr. Budweiser on the sofa, don’t last long.
Last year, I threw resolutions out the window and decided instead to choose a word or phrase that would guide the year that lay before me. One year ago, I put a candle by my bedside with “Smokin’ hot creator” emblazoned on it. I wrote more that year, published more, than ever before. (And yes, I now see the irony. I am more careful not to put anything involving creation at my bedside at forty-something. No sense tempting fate.)
This year, my word was open-hearted. Not coincidentally, I found love (albeit, a seven-month stint) and put myself back into the world with a guarded, but open, heart.
Next year, I will be radiant. Does that sound like a resolution? Bite your tongue—it’s not. It’s a vision I’m going to hold close. For my local friends, please do not judge my progress by how glowing I am when you see me late Sunday night trying to finish up the weekly grocery shopping. Or how joyful I look when I’m sitting in the pouring rain watching another lacrosse game from a mud puddle.
It’s a vision. That one word, “radiant,” is something to hitch my star to on good days and bad. It’s what I want for myself after five tough years where the unexpected twists and turns of life seemed to age me incredibly. I want my light back full force. I want to shine again. Want to feel the glow from within.
Based on my recent life experiences, I think my wisest self has chosen this word because I’ve learned something that is key to making it a reality. My radiance has to have nothing to do with my circumstances. That may sound crazy to those of you not well-tested in life, but to those who have been through the spin cycle, it should resonate. My radiance will need to come from within regardless of what my ex, my shallow nemesis or the world at large throws at me.
As I hold onto that vision of radiance, I will meditate toward it. Put myself in only healthy situations. Avoid ego battles and the screaming meanies of life as much as possible.
And my batting average for holding a vision tends be much higher than forcing myself into resolutions that feel like so much medicine.
I hope I have many fellow vision holders in all of you reading these words at this very second. I’d love to hear what your vision is and support you in it.
Unless you’d rather chat with a certain someone I know about the holiday gifts requested but not received and how miserable that makes you. In that case, have at it. Just know I’ll be moving out of earshot.
As my mother used to say, I’ve got bigger fish to fry this year.