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Regarding Those Resolutions (aka Bucket List of Fantastical Dreams)…
CONGRATULATIONS. You did it (again).
You’ve crapped out a list of ideas/motivators/encouragers/exciters—dare I say resolutions, for the shiny new year.
If you’re a little crooked in the head (like me) then you went BIG, even humongous, with your list of star-studded suggestions.
Finish 3rd novel (not just increase my weekly word count by 20% but FINISH, people)
Run two Spartan races (because one just isn’t enough)
Complete the application for Broken Skull (no more stalking the site and asking myself if I could really wrestle another woman—Shit or get off the pot, as the English teacher said)
Double page views and subscribers at One Strong Southern Girl (because picking a random number as a goal would be silly, it must be DOUBLE, I say)
Half the amount of money spent on athletic apparel (Did I mention that I went big? I meant ENORMOUS! My savings account is a mere speck of what it’s going to be!)
Shave more (yeah, yeah, let’s just say it needs to be done)
I penned this beautiful diatribe of ego-fueled encouragement on January 1, then trolled off on my merry way. Patting myself on the back for creating another incredibly motivating (and of course, totally doable) list of things to accomplish in all of my spare time (the key to it all) over the next 365 days.
Until my 10-year-old brought home her own lovely list of resolutions (created at the fancy public institution of higher learning).
Get my full (this is a gymnastics move which she’s already doing with a spotter)
Score 15 points in a basketball game (she scored 14 in the last game)
Spend the night with Jessica (one of her best friends with whom she spends the night regularly)
Get a new Ipod (this is already on her birthday list and meant to replace the current device which has been dangling on life support—shattered screen and all— for the last several months)
Me: You’ve listed a bunch of stuff that you already know will happen.
Daughter: Yeah, so?
Somewhere along the way I missed something. Aren’t your New Year’s resolutions meant to galvanize you towards bigger and better? Isn’t this list supposed to line up with your Bucket List of Fantastical Dreams? Or is it?
Maybe she’s on to something…
Spend less money on clothes
Now we’re talking. This is a list I can cuddle up with at night. I can hug and squeeze this itemized chunk of vagueness. Shit, I’ll have this list knocked out by the end of the week, I said (to no one in particular).
So, I went on my happy little way. Content that I’d conquered (avoided) another awkward moment of uncomfortable introspection.
Then my friend—let’s just call her Lovey (overflowing with mushy sweetness and tiny pink hearts of kindness) shared her list of resolutions with me:
Double my donations to charity
Volunteer at least once a month to help a civic organization
Plant a garden
Help at least five neighbors/friends with a task
Spend more time with family
What the f*!#%??? Does it ever feel like people are trying to do crap just to make you look like a selfish jerk-wad? Man was I glad I didn’t email my list first.
Why have New Year’s resolutions become the stage for itemizing all of your sappy good intentions?
When I grew up New Year’s resolutions were supposed to be banging the bell on the fun-o-meter, not politely pulling up a chair at the table of altruism.
Maybe it’s just time for me to grow up and realize that not everything can be fun. It’s like my sister says, Adulting is hard.
We all know that there are as many ideas about how to create a list of resolutions as there are crumbs in the bottom of a bag of pretzels.
Make your resolutions specific. Make them realistic. Make them big. Small. Short. Hairy. Fat. Bald. It goes on and on.
Guess what? I say make a list of resolutions about you. Make yourself happy for once. Go ahead. You have my permission.
Don’t make a to-do list of crap that stresses you out. (Not that helping others, or planning to help others is stressful. But setting myself up to be accountable for specific acts of benevolence gives me a tiny bit of anxiety.)
It’s OK if you don’t want to make a list that you can show off to your neighbors. No one else needs to know you didn’t write down a single thing about helping anyone but you.
If Getting a Promotion gets you warm in all the right places then put it on your list.
If Running a Marathon makes your little heart kick with excitement then put it on your list.
If you put Win the Lottery on your crazy-ass list and it makes you laugh, then you’ve got the right idea.
But don’t go listing a whole bunch of stuff that makes your insides knot up like a can of snakes or shoots up your blood pressure like a clown from a canon. The world has enough in it to stress us out every single day. Don’t use this moment to sabotage your happiness.
And yes, we all have a friend like Lovey, and it’s OK (even amazeballs) to write a list about nothing but how you plan to help the rest of the world around you over the next year. But I challenge you to show that list to NO ONE (except maybe the people you live with who have to do all that stuff with you). Make sure your intentions are as admirable as you want them to be.
Motivate my readers to do something hard.
Write and read every day.
Whew. I like it. Doable. Specific but not too specific. I left that last thing on the list as a special gift for my husband, which means I’ve already got a running start on that 3rd item, too.
This list has been officially scribed on a Post-it and put at the front of my planner (until it falls out around March).
You’re amazing. Thanks for reading!
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