Happy New Year! It’s a great opportunity for starting over, renewal, and rebirth. If you want to. But don’t over-burden your already tenuous hold on stability with ridiculous expectations of new year’s resolutions. For years I said I would lose weight, quit biting my nails, quit picking at my face, be nicer, save money, blah, blah, blah….it never ever worked! Yet year after year we try again. The arbitrary date on the calendar organized by over-zealous men hundreds of years ago doesn’t really rule our habits and hopes. This time of year is so fraught with pit-falls and guilt and obstacle courses of family and appropriate gifts and fruitcake (!) that we certainly don’t need to pile on some superficial ideal of what we need to become. Unless that actually works for you, of course (in that case – Congrats! You may be the only one).
The thing that actually worked for me was my birthday. I LOVE MY BIRTHDAY! Really. It’s the only day that is ALL ABOUT ME! In fact, I celebrate for the entire month (it is the shortest month, after all – I’m not being greedy!). I have bitten my nails forever – for as long as I can remember. The year I turned 40, I looked at my sore, bleeding and ragged fingertips and said to myself, “A 40-year old shouldn’t bite her nails”. (Spare me the therapy session of not using the word “should”. I get it – it works for me – YMMV). And I stopped. Mostly. Every time I wanted to chew, I pictured my ideal of 40 year old hands and stopped. I carried around a nail file and clippers. They grew. And stayed. They looked so pretty. They looked like my mom’s nails, which I was in awe of as a child. The next year, I decided to stop picking at my skin. That worked too…for awhile.
The last couple years my anxiety and depression started ramping up again and I fell back into old habits. These exact two tendencies are what alerted me to the fact that I needed to seek help again. That my brain chemistry had progressed to a point that I couldn’t fix it on my own this time. So yay me for seeing the signs and getting help. It’s a super hard thing to do, but it needs to be done, and I applaud anyone who can gather up the strength to make that first phone call.
Back to today – with all the other crap using up our spoons (or spell slots as my friend M likes to say), don’t add to it with a New Year’s Resolution. Find a date that means something to you and go from there. It may be your birthday, it may be an anniversary of something, it may be a random beautiful sunny day where you feel invincible. If that day is today, then “Hooray”! Me – I’m gonna wait until February.