As I find myself five days into 2014, I am truly patting myself on the back for once again, NOT making a New Years resolution. I am well aware that the ringing in of a new year is very symbolic for most people. They see it as a way to wipe the past clean and start fresh with a clean slate. The fact that it is not possible to “leave your past behind you” doesn’t occur to most people, or if it does it’s not something they will be soon to accept.
Furthermore, why do you want to be someone brand new over night? Is it not true that we learn and grow from our past experiences, whether they be mistakes or not? I live with a strict “no regrets” policy. Life hasn’t been a series of correct and sound decisions, but the decisions I made that were really, really bad… well, they helped me grow. Why in the world would I ever want to wipe that slate clean?
The fact is, from a very young age we are constantly being disappointing to others. Our parents, our teachers, our friends and significant others, our bosses… I know you know, this list goes on. I refuse to add myself to that list.
There are going to be improvements we should make to ourselves and our lives, and we should recognize them. It’s up to our own inner compass to know how hard and how soft of a judge to be. Changing over night is a lot of pressure, though! New Years Eve, here I am, a flawed human being. New Years Day finds me a new and improved version of my prior self. No transition, no wiggle room.
So here is a quick list of things you should not give a shit about.
1. Being a couple pounds overweight. Truly this may sound so corny, but loving yourself is first and foremost. If you’ve been working out hard and you want to treat yourself to a candy bar, don’t let someone thinner or better in shape make you feel wrong for wanting it. Life is short, savor that candy bar. It could be your last.
2. Being a bad parent. We are all bad parents, and our parents were terrible, too. We work too much, we sleep too little, and the guilt we pile on ourselves doesn’t lighten the load. But they are going to be OKAY! They are going to be self sufficient creatures who don’t need their mommy’s to make them a grilled cheese. We are the generation that are raising little boys who know how to do laundry and little girls who know how to change a tire. As long as they know you love them, completely and unconditionally, they will be fine.
3. Being too weak… or too strong. This is who you are, and unless it’s severely not working out for you, leave it be. In my case, I’ve been told I have a strong personality and there are those who would like me to feel wrong for this. I know in my heart I mean well, and I know that I’m a good person. When I am wrong, I apologize. As much as I would like to change and be someone who is more diplomatic, more behind the scenes… I won’t finish that sentence. I wouldn’t like that, I’m happy. We should all be happier with who we are.
4. Having vices. I have so many, trying to pick them off one by one would probably take a lifetime. I’m not talking heavy addiction here. Sometimes I like a cigarette, a lot of the time I like to sit in front of a riveting episode of The Good Wife and eat an entire bag of Ghiradelli Sea Salt and Almond Chocolate Bars. I scream violently at other drivers on the road, sometimes I make angry fist motions at them when I drive by only to feel bad that they are elderly. I could drink 25 cups of coffee a day, and not just any coffee. The Starbucks latte kind that contain 450 calories in one beautiful paper cup. My caffeine habit could feed a medium sized African country. Without fail when I walk into a shoe store, my pulse speeds up and I feel like anything in the world is possible! In moderation, or in excess, these things make me really happy. In a sometimes mundane world you need a little thing here and there to look forward to. Don’t take it away from yourself.
This list is not exclusive to me, but it is also not exclusive to you. Make your own. Forgive yourself, be easy on yourself. You are not disappointing.