With Christmas (barely) in our rearview mirror and 2016 looming ahead, the New Year’s resolution ideas are starting to zip around. Blog titles like “The 10 New Year’s Resolutions You Absolutely Won’t Regret This Year” show up on all my social media. I’m seeing everything from “get up five minutes earlier every morning” and “read through these 100 classics” to the timeworn “go to the gym” and “stop drinking soda-pop.”
And my anxiety level is climbing.
I really don’t need any more anxiety. It’s bad enough that I have a to-do list the size of my school debts. The internet is eager to suggest a hundred other things I should do, other books I should read, other commitments I should make. I’ll never reach the end of it.
Somehow everyone else on the planet manages to read all the right books and go to all the right places, pass all the right classes and follow all the right headlines—and here I am, proud of myself if I do my laundry over the weekend or blog on time.
Every book recommendation is one more thing I can’t measure up to (because my to-be-read list is already longer than my lifespan). Every “get healthy using these 3 tips!” article covers three more habits I’ll never build (because my “get healthy” list would already fill a 24 hour day if I followed it).
So a New Year’s resolution is not encouragement to improve; it’s one more thing to feel guilty about not doing.
And this year, I refuse to live the way I have for the past twelve months—desperately trying to catch up with a million other people who are also desperately trying to catch up. I refuse to feel guilty for my humanity. I refuse to compromise my health for the sake of some impossible standard I’ll never reach.
This year, my only resolution is to breathe. This year, I resolve to forgive myself. To allow myself the space to appreciate the moments as they pass, to see the place I’m living in rather than looking forward to some hazy future. I resolve to sleep. To recognise that nobody else has it all together, either, and that my flaws, like everyone else’s, make me unique.
Rushing from one thing to another, obsessing over to-do lists, committing to yet another habit I know I’ll break—that’s hardly surviving, much less living. Each year passes quicker than the one before it, and I don’t want to reach the end of 2016 and wonder what I’ve done with my life. I want to live it. I want to reach the end knowing I’ve immersed myself in every experience, knowing that maybe I haven’t completed everything or followed every handy tip, but that I have lived and fully enjoyed it.
No guilt. No pressure. No regrets.