Think back to ringing in the New Year as a child. Does a particular year come into mind? Chances are good when you were little you didn’t even make it to the countdown to midnight. You probably woke up the next morning, without a care in the world that another year had passed.
But with time, this ritual becomes more significant. This year, New Years for me was like having the birthday blues. I felt like crawling into bed and pulling the covers over my head, letting the brutal north winds and cold of January sweep over me until spring.
Perhaps it was because as you get older the passage of time feels noteworthy. A milestone. A time for reflection. The “should” and “should nots” creep in. And unlike childhood, dammit, I did care that another year had passed. Yes, I’m much too sentimental.
Add to that dynamic the infamous New Years Resolution. Have you made one?
Resolutions are like having a high definition camera pointed directly on you. Most of us begin by “examining” what we’d like to change about ourselves and our lives. We scrutinize, compare, judge, analyze and dissect ourselves, until we boldly proclaim, “I may be broken, but this resolution will fix me”.
The most popular resolutions? Get fit, spend less, stress less, drink less, eat better, quit smoking and travel. Good luck with that.
The “experts” say to be more specific about your goals. Make them smaller and more attainable. Write them on a piece of paper. But the emphasis is still on how we are not measuring up to this ideal self we believe we should be. And most of us, with one small misstep, fall completely off the resolution wagon, spiraling into a shame cycle that we couldn’t measure up to our own expectations. We end up not getting fit, spending more, stressing more, drinking more, eating worse, smoking and staying home. All of this by the second week of February (the research says).
So maybe, (because it’s obvious resolutions are a crapshoot), instead of examining ourselves, looking for faults that need correcting, we should consider exploring ourselves and discovering new, unchartered waters. Consider being kind and gentle with yourself when you screw something up. Let go of the - I should have done this, I shouldn’t have done that, I should have said this, I shouldn’t have said that - black hole of self-doubt and regret. It leads to nowhere.
And while it’s admirable to set intentions for ourselves, it’s even more important to see ourselves as light beings with a purpose. And when the focus is on this purpose, we understand that if we are going to make this world a more positive place, we need to start with self-care. Taking care of ourselves by feeding and nourishing our bodies, minds and spirits, comes naturally and easily when we shift our thoughts away from what we think we should be and do, and instead, toward the beauty that flows within us, around us and through us.
...and it never hurts to go to an old-fashioned outdoor ice-skating rink with your kids and throw down an ice routine to some cheesy 80's music with your husband. Happy New Year!