I’ve kept a diary since I was eleven, with varying degrees of enthusiasm. Each year, the New Year’s resolutions have gone in, and for most of my life that’s been a yearly ritual of beating myself up a bit. For most of the way the intention to become thin and somehow attractive has underpinned my intentions every year. I did not have a good body image in my teens, I can’t say my twenties represented a vast improvement, while pregnancy left me with a lot of bulk. I’m nothing very unusual in any of those things. The standard New Year’s resolution to get fit, thin and healthy, is mostly about the thin bit. I’ve also made an abundance of worthy resolutions, to do more, try harder, achieve something. In essence these are all ways of reminding myself that I’m not really good enough as I am.
Over the last few years I’ve become more conscious of the ways in which I beat myself up. It helps that I have no external encouragement to do that anymore. I’m working on not doing that. I’ve also learned, via some self help and New Age books, the rather important truth that negative statements don’t work. “I will get thinner” is in so many ways a negative statement. “I will have a healthier lifestyle,” is a better way to be thinking. Positive affirmations are easier to work with and fulfil, and encourage warm thoughts about the self. Very few of us are going to benefit from having a stick to beat ourselves with.
Still, as the New Year rolls round and the arbitrary calendar date approaches, I still get the inclination to make resolutions. Old habits die hard. Plus its traditional, and I’m a total sucker for that. 2012 was a really hard year for me. For most of it there was just one horrible challenge after another, with a lot to stress over, a lot that did not go smoothly, the pressure of constant scrutiny (now mercifully at an end) and some legacy mental health issues that have been painful to face, much less fix. A bloody hard year, made harder by the incessant rain. I’m hoping 2013 will be gentler with us, although there are several big challenges ahead that I know are going to demand a lot of me.
Resolutions then. No diets. No worthy, virtuous try to turn into a much better person sort of projects. I’m a work in progress, and I accept that. What I really want for myself for this next year is to get the depression and anxiety under control so that they stop sucking the marrow out of me. To this end, it is my resolution to devote more time and energy to fun things. This will include getting to more events, where I get to meet cool people, travelling to see friends, taking time off, and making more time for the good things in life. I expect there will be a lot of work along the way, but this next year is going to have some play time in it as well.