Updated: Jan 1
The end of 2020 has finally arrived and from what I hear, everyone is very ready for this year to be over. I’m not sure what is going to happen at 12:01am to change what is currently happening, but we can all wish. :)
My friends and I were sharing our new year’s goals (we have all decided we do not like “resolutions”). Some shared about wanting to do better about keeping up with friends, another said she was going to open mail the day it came in, I said I wanted to start cooking more. What is it about a new year that makes us want to better ourselves? Is it tradition? Is it peer pressure? Or is it a definitive date that we give ourselves to strive for more? All the studies about smoking cessation (quitting smoking) say the first step is to set a date to quit. If science thinks there’s something to a date, then maybe there’s a little more to the story.
Of all the resolutions/goals/new habits out there, I don’t know that I’ve ever heard anyone say, “January 1st, I’m getting on the phone and finding a therapist. This year is the year for my mental health.” Have you? (If you have, please send them my way because they sound like a very motivated client). We live in a world where the buzz word is “self-care.” But really, what does self-care mean? Is it bubble baths? Is it surrounding ourselves with only people that make us happy? Is it yoga? “Clean eating?” “Self-care” is an industry at this point; an industry that makes people lots and lots of money.
But what if you can’t rid yourself of every toxic person in your life? What if that toxic person is your boss and you really need your job, or your in-laws and you really love your spouse, or maybe it’s you! As my sweet grandfather used to say, “wherever you go, there you are.” The more I understand the human psyche, the more I think we learn from less than desirable circumstances. Now I’m not saying stay in an abusive relationship or allow others to exploit you, but rather, what if reframed the hard stuff in life.
There is not a person on the planet that can say this year hasn’t been hard. It took a little longer for the “hard” to hit some people than others but it is a fair statement that we are all somewhat on the struggle bus. We miss our families, our co-workers, steady paychecks, the ability to leave home without anxiety. This year has been a year of grieving. We as a country are grieving the loss of life before the pandemic. And maybe that’s why so many are hanging their hats on the new year bringing new life. Maybe that’s why we look for a date on the calendar. Maybe we think, “if I can just put one foot in front of the other until x, then I will be okay.” But what if that’s not true? What if in the new year, we find ourselves in the same gong show? What then?
I’ve been trying to ask people what the pandemic has gifted them with. I had a client who said it forced him to be stationary for the first time in his life. For me, the standstill allowed me to dive deep into the enneagram and finally begin the road to recovery with my eating disorder. What did it bring you? It is easy to list off the things that this time has stolen from us, but what has it also given you?
The new year is a time for fresh starts, new habits, and dreams. I guess I’m encouraging us all to not need a new year to decide to do something different with ourselves. If you have nutrition goals, start them. If you have a new way to incorporate movement into your daily life, man get going! But let’s not only let ourselves be renewed on January 1st. What if we spent 2021 trying to become the best version of ourselves? Not just skinny, or organized, or playing less video games. Let’s take 2021 to dive deep into the worlds of where we’ve come from, where we are, and where we’re going.
We didn’t take many holiday pictures this year and at first I was kind of sad, but then my incredibly logical, 8, sister said, “I always think that means that we’ve been having too much fun.” So maybe that’s my goal: to cook more and take pictures less. I can’t guarantee that I won’t take pictures of the food I cook though, because sometimes I outdo myself. And you know what, I think that’s okay.
Some days we’re all just good enough. We’re good enough partners, children, moms and dads, employees, volunteers, and on. Here's to 2021 and all that we’ll become, the places we’ll stumble, and the places we’ll thrive!