You say you want a resolution

People like to think of New Year’s Day as a clean slate. It’s a lie. It’s no more a clean slate than that “fresh start” we all pined for as we headed away for Freshman year in college–the very same people we were days before, only with newer sheets, newer friends, and a newly burning desire to possess a fake ID.

clock at midnight | Mom-101

New Year’s Day feels more like a fresh blanket of snow–a chance to put down new prints and find new paths, maybe make a few snow angels on the way. (And this being 2014, Instagram them all for posterity with a nice blue-tinged filter.)

But snow is never permanent.

What remains after the thaw is the earth underneath. That’s what we’ve been walking on all year–maybe our whole lives. The seeds of dreams and hopes and goals (and other cliché self-help-y stuff) have all already been planted, whether or not we jot them down in lists and call them resolutions and pretend somehow that no, this year, no, really–this is the one that will be different. 

I’m not being cynical; I just believe we’ve confused New Year’s resolutions with a wish list of some other person we dream we can be. Like that magical transformation we expected the moment our parents drive away from the dorm waving goodbye through the rear window.

So this year, I don’t want to make resolutions. What I want is to strive to be me. Probably not the best me (if such a thing exists), but a reasonably good me. I want to grow. Which has nothing to do with resolving to read more books or write more posts or turn off my phone on vacation or eat fewer buttered salt bagels for breakfast. (Even though I will try to do those things too. Again.)

What I want isn’t a clean slate, but a full one; the culmination of things I hope I’ve already been working towards:

Healthy, kind, joyful children. Harmonious relationships. Hard-won successes. Enviable friendships. A peaceful home. Everyday happiness. Love.

I like to dream big. Why the hell not.

The snow will melt. It always does. That’s when we have the chance to look down beneath our feet and see just what is blooming.

Happy New Year, everyone.

{17 Comments}

17 thoughts on “You say you want a resolution”

  1. When I resolve to do (or not do) something on a random Tuesday in May it has more meaning to me than at a predetermined day and time. I like schedules and calendars and to-do lists, but one day for resolutions (or two, since I’m Jewish, and have the whole repent-forgiveness-do better thing in the Fall) sort of has a way of putting me off making changes. I’d rather have no excuse (it’s almost New Years! I’ll wait til then!) to do better or different right now.

    Although it’s true that diets always start NEXT Monday.

    Happy New Year, Liz!
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  2. This is lovely, Liz. These are words we should all live by. Happy New Year. May your life be filled with love, joy, happiness and health. And may all your “resolutions” come to be. One thing I know, you are always you.

  3. Happy 2014! I wish you enough of what you want in the new year to make it feel worthwhile.

    And I’ve decided the next time the kids are in the park making snow angels I want to make one, too. (As long as there is someone there to help me up.)
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  4. I’ve never been a fan of grand resolutions. I do take the new year to create what a friend has always called an “uber list.” It’s a list of very concrete measurable goals for the year. Some are small things that I’ve been talking about but haven’t done like going to a certain restaurant. Others are more ambitious, but not vague like “write more” or “get healthy.”

    New Year’s seems like an awful time to try to make grandiose changes anyway. It’s in a conflict to the idea of hibernating. Spring is a much better time to make new starts.
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  5. Yes! I have always hated New Year’s, perhaps in part because my real “new year” starts a week later, on my birthday. New Year’s this year was just Tuesday turning into Wednesday. Only, I stayed up til midnight to see it.

    Big deal.

    Hanging up a new calendar (and then, as you say, Instagramming it), doesn’t change anything if you don’t make the changes yourself, deep inside, all the time. It isn’t a one-time declaration; it requires way more work than that.

    Dream big indeed. But don’t wait for the calendar to make those dreams come true.
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