(I guess brief content note for discussing diet/exercise since those are really common resolutions.)
It’s New Year’s Eve and lots of people are reflecting on 2013, seeing how they did on their resolutions from last year, and trying to decide how to proceed with the next twelve months.
I posted about this on Facebook and got some interesting responses. I’ve found myself thinking of 2013 and 2014 as Separate Things and saying stuff like “Man, 2013 sucked,” and “I hope 2014 is better.” People tend to make a categorical separation between periods of time, especially with years, and I’m doing the same thing without much conscious thought.
It’s somewhat silly to me to make such a divide in your head. There’s not a fundamental difference between today and tomorrow, and yet we view this as the end of one thing and the beginning of another. The reason I think this is negative is that some people make a huge deal out of how their whole life is going to be different: they’re going to start dieting, hitting the gym, looking for a new job, etc. I’d wager that most of the resolutions taken today won’t last a month.
It seems like a greater opportunity to set yourself up for a let-down than an opportunity to really self-improve. Viewing 2014 as a separate entity from 2013 almost makes it seem like it’s not going to come one day at a time. You’re going to have to live through each moment; it’s not as though a perfect version of you is going to swoop in and do all those things you’ve been promising to do. Dieting and exercising take effort, it’s hard and it takes time to see the results of those actions. Most resolutions are things that take proactive energy (quitting drinking/smoking, being more open with your partner), and I think it would be healthier if more people viewed those as processes with many steps, rather than stuff you just Start Doing because the year reset.
That said, it’s also really good to take stock of your life and plan for the future. People who might otherwise not do this are surrounded by those messages of starting anew. I know that sometimes I need a kick in the pants about figuring out my life, and to an extent I do feel moved to do some reevaluating and planning. There are things I’ve meant to do for a long time that just seem really appropriate now. It’s also important not to get mad at myself for not accomplishing everything I wanted in 2013 though, and not to expect too much of myself in the coming year.
So, now that I’m done criticizing the practice as a whole, I do have some reflections on my relationship with 2013:
As I said above, 2013 sucked. I’ve been unhappy about my body since December 2012, I’ve had a shit-storm of depression all year, I spent way too many months worried that my marriage was over… It’s been rough.
There are positives, though! Despite having spent most of the year in varying degrees of severe depression, I’ve gained a lot of tools to handle it. I’ve made leaps and bounds in my recovery in terms of being more rational and communicative. I don’t feel a lot better, but having tools is important.
Despite having almost destroyed my marriage, things are now better than they have been in a long time. Our living arrangements are finally stable, we’re much better able to communicate, and I’m not paralyzed with guilt over my poly orientation (since we’re now basically doing the open relationship thing). We aren’t fighting over stupid shit all the time and we aren’t resentful toward each other. I’m finding lately that the loving feeling between us is more similar to the beginning of our relationship. It’s a companion form of love and not the fiery kind, but the.. I dunno, appreciation? The appreciation and wholeness in it is similar.
I’m still not happy with my body, but I already know why that is and what needs to be done to fix it. I’ve been inching my way that direction for a while, and I hope to continue in the coming months.
2013 is definitely ending on a brighter note than could be seen all year. I really hope that I can take the lessons I learned and apply them to make my future better. I really hope I can make myself well. I won’t set any specific resolutions because I know I tend to disappoint myself when I do that, but I will just say that I want to do better. With any luck (and x amount of hard work), I’ll have a more cheery report to give next New Year’s.