There’s a line from the film Forrest Gump that has always resonated with me: Don’t you just love New Year’s? You can start all over.
To some degree, it’s true. A new year can be a new start. Like most people, I used to dutifully make a list of resolutions each December. However, come the spring time, I either forget most of them or failed to accomplish the majority. This was evident when I recently found an old journal listing my resolutions for 2005.
Nearly a decade later, I still had not accomplished a single one. (One memorable one was that I was going to stop worrying. It’s taken me awhile to accept it, but try as I may, I am always going to be a worrier.)
For several years, I stopped making resolutions all together. My reasoning behind doing so was why bother? Why set myself up for failure?
However, last year, I made a resolution, and it’s the first one that I have ever kept. It was: I am going to accept whatever the New Year has in store for me.
Accepting what may happen in the year ahead is not the same as doing nothing. After all, I do have some goals I want to accomplish such as returning to full-time work. I also hope to visit some members of my extended family that I have not seen in a number of years. However, I do not list these as resolutions.
The difference between these things and past resolutions like the one I mentioned in my 2005 list is that many of the things I wanted to accomplish were internal things that I thought were wrong with me with, and/or I thought I had control over.
As I’ve gotten older, I have found that the search for perfection—be it the perfect body, partner, job, etc.—is one that will always end in frustration. Part of giving up that search involves accepting the imperfections within me as well.
Apart from the worrying one, another resolution on that list was to stop being a “mean” person. Well, the truth is I am not generally speaking a mean person, but like everyone else on the planet I have episodes where I am incredibly mean. That isn’t going to change.
On a similar note, no year is ever going to be perfect. Much like 2013, 2014 will bring it’s share of joy and pain. While I hope that the former outweighs the latter, I do not know what lies ahead. None of us do. All any of us can do is life and see what happens.
Therefore, while I am looking forward to the new year, I am not going to say it will be my best year ever. I am not vowing to be a radically different person than the one I currently am.
Lest anyone think that I am thumbing my nose at those who make extensive resolutions, I am not.
However, if you are one of these people and are reading this, consider at least looking over them one more time and see what exactly you hope to accomplish, if it’s doable and perhaps most importantly, what is the reason behind it. If the last one is to please someone else or if you think it will make your life perfect, then think twice about including it.
Regardless, though, if you have zero resolutions or one hundred, here is hoping that all of us can accept what 2014 holds for each of us.
Happy New Year.
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Editor: Bryonie Wise