I resolve to not tell you to stick to your resolutions. I resolve to not guarantee I’ll stick to mine.
I’ve never been wed to New Year’s resolutions. Don’t get me wrong, I love the spirit behind them, the sense of renewal and newfound purpose. What I love more is seeing people who make them actually succeed. By all means, please do share your triumphs (and your failures, too). Whether in person or from behind the screen, I will champion your victories, both large and small. (Yes, forgoing Hot Pockets for nine entire days is a victory.)
Let me repeat as to avoid poo-pooing and/or pee-peeing on anybody’s parade: I am pro-NY’s resolutions. (I am, however, pretty much anti-gun. Therefore, NY’s resolutions about or relating to guns can suck it.)
There’s just something about New Year’s in general that sparks anxiety. Even though I’ve celebrated the clanking of crystal in low-key fashion for years, there’s part of me that still feels pressure to will or witness something magical, whether it’s that night, the next day or a couple of weeks later. You know, a herd of unicorns sliding down a double rainbow. Water turning to wine. Donald Trump’s impeachment.
The feeling doesn’t last, but is followed by the traditional post-holiday blues, letdown, nostalgic hangover, the Christmas-tree-no-longer-shines-ever-hopeful-in-my-living-room meh. Speaking of Christmas trees, on NY’s Day I told my husband we should put ours up in January and leave it up until the month of December, when we ceremoniously take it down until January begins anew. If you ask me, eleven solid months of that soothing glow is a whole mess better than one (or two or seven). It’s winter and I am not being the least bit hyperbolic when I say the sun don’t never come out here in southwest Michigan.
Shit, I’m digressing. It’s January 8, so my lack of focus must be from the lack of bourbon cream in my coffee. (Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.)
So … back to resolutions, the NY’s kind or otherwise. Regardless of my ability to achieve or maintain them, here are five of mine:
Embrace nostalgia for the places, the things and especially the people in your life.
There’s this line from a movie I hold great nostalgia for: “We may be through with the past, but the past ain’t through with us.”
The 2017 holidays filled me with significant joy and gratitude. Yeah, I know, fa-la-la-la-blah-blah-blah. It may be my age making me trite and sentimental, but I prefer to believe I’m just that lucky. Whatever my general feeling of euphoria was or wasn’t, the season also brought some sad and unsettling news: the death of one of my cousins. He was 51, only six years older than me. I had no idea he had cancer. I hadn’t seen or spoken with him in a decade or longer. I didn’t know him as the vibrant, successful, full-grown, married-with-children adult he very much appeared to be. Yet I do know the word Herculean springs to mind when I look back and think about how I viewed him in my childhood. My brother and I spent a lot of time at this particular cousin’s household, and fear wasn’t in his vocabulary. He could defy gravity on a trampoline. He was a ping-pong phenom. He had these dimples. His brains and humor seemed as effortless as his athleticism. When it was time to leave this particular cousin’s household, we schemed to keep the grownups talking or otherwise distracted so we wouldn’t have to go. Just ten or fifteen more minutes to linger and hopefully stir up some good(ish), clean(ish) trouble.
RIP, Eric. While I regret not making more time for you in this world, I’ll cling to the past I’m blessed to have shared with you.
Don’t sweat the small stuff (e.g., let the occasional whopper cliche slide).
Race her scooter up and down our hardwood floors chanting, “Mommy farts a lot.”
This charming ritual tops the list of Ava’s favorite things to do if I tell her she can’t watch TV or stare open-mouthed at my iPad. The first a hundred and sixteen times it was funny. (I admit, I, too, am a fan of the flatulence jokes.) She is spelling the word out now, slow and deliberate—“Mommy F-A-R-T-S a lot!”—and I’m no longer chuckling. Instead of dreaming of locking my daughter in some kind of sulfur prison, I should take solace in two critical facts: 1.) her spelling is improving and 2.) before too long, it’s likely she’ll prefer the company of her farting peers over her farting mother.
Put your doubts, worries and outright fears in their rightful places—with the growing threat of nuclear war, the dire consequences of climate change, Steve Bannon and Freddie Krueger.
I am my biggest obstacle to writing. Trust in my abilities. Recognize my weaknesses. Learn from and celebrate the success of others who share my passion. Put in the work this discipline requires and deserves. (Follow your dreams at all costs, as long as you stay the fuck awake, because you know what happens if you fall asleep? Steve Bannon will cut you.)
Go vegan for 30 days.
I appreciate folks who have this kind of commitment, whether it’s for moral reasons, health reasons, both moral and health reasons, or perhaps most importantly, for the reason they think anything resembling the taste and texture of eggnog is gross. (If, however, their reasoning is lifelong admiration of Morrissey, I will pelt them with lukewarm mozzarella sticks.)
All right, I’d settle for eating one vegan meal per week. Yeah, this is pretty much a copout, but strong is the force of cheese.
For anybody out there who’s made it this deep into this post: 1.) thank you, 2.) If you have any, please send me your favorite vegan recipes, and 3.) If you think eating vegan is akin to tattoo removal whilst sitting on a bed of nails, or in the words of the great Ron Swanson, you believe “Veganism is the sad result of a morally corrupt mind,” I promise I won’t judge you. That said, DO NOT send me any meatloaf recipes. Like egg and nog, meat and loaf should not be combined in the same word or food product.
Roll the dice on something more meaningful than craps.
This statement isn’t intended to be a metaphor on gambling and/or taking a crap. (Well, maybe the latter.) Remember that more often than not, and especially if they don’t involve Fireball shots, sharp objects, eggnog or meatloaf, risks yield reward. And as I’ve already pointed out on Facebook (please, please friend me), this doesn’t necessarily mean becoming Liam Neeson in every movie he’s made in the last century.
Learning to ski. Participating in a fitness class in tights with others around me who are also participating in said fitness class in tights. Bursting into spontaneous song at the grocery store. Doing a public reading. Writing with reckless abandon most all of the goddamn days. Entering an eggnog chugging contest.
How the hell has this post turned into a manifesto on the cons of eggnog?
The point is, 2018 brings with it fresh opportunity to vacate my comfort zone, and if that isn’t inspiring enough, there’s always the Russia probe. And my couch. And my Five Below mermaid pants I vow to never, ever, ever wear outside of the house, unless the smoke alarms are screaming, I need to embarrass my kid or we’re fresh out of eggnog.
Happy New Year! May all your resolutions come true or you find peace and strength in your continued resolve.
Either way, cheers from me to you.