As another New Year nips at our heels, these are the moments I’d typically spend hunched over my desk, pressing fresh ink into crisp white parchment, constructing a tidy and aesthetically pleasing list of resolutions. And when I’d sit back to admire my work, I’d discover that the list had grown and stretched beyond my wildest imaginings, and I’d ask myself why, when in fact I already knew.
The grand majority of those resolutions had carried over from the previous year…and the year before that…and the year before that…and the year…
Well, you get the point.
Sure, I’d always manage to cross at least a few to-do’s off my list. After all, I’m not a complete lazy bones. But by and large, each year I’d find myself conducting a stare down with the same tired goals, wondering why I still hadn’t managed to score those six pack abs, a bestselling novel, or an invitation to perform an acoustic set with Jason Mraz.
Ok, so maybe some of my aspirations are a wee bit unrealistic, but still..
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not knocking lists. I love lists. They keep me organized. They elaborate upon that old-fashioned notion threaded in a single piece of symbolic yarn tied around my finger, reminding me to keep my head on straight.
So what is it about New Year’s Resolutions in particular, that glorious list of promises we make to ourselves, that seems to stall right out of the gate? Is it in making such a list that we actually jinx ourselves? Is it because we lack the wherewithal to get our shit together?
I think it has more to do with the fact that we all want a clean slate, and we seize the New Year as an opportunity to leave the untidiness of the past in our dust. And we craft our resolutions to be used as escape vehicles, only to find that there is more untidiness ahead.
But you know what? That’s not a bad thing. Because reality is a wild, bumpy, sometimes hairy road of unpredictability, and yes, even broken resolutions. Life doesn’t travel a straight path, despite our efforts to pave one, but it’s in the twists and turns that we take in the most vivid scenery, and our most valuable lessons.
So with that in mind, this year I say, “to hell with the resolutions!” Goals are healthy, and I’ve got loads of them, but I don’t need to write them down to know what they are. Nor do I need to put a time limit on achieving them. Whether it takes me a year or an entire lifetime to get it all done, who cares? As long as I keep trying.
In the meantime, I’ll enjoy the incredible ride as my husband, kids, and I all take turns at the wheel. Sometimes we’ll get lost. Sometimes we’ll hit road blocks. But most of the time we’ll crank the stereo, roll the windows down, and discover new and exciting places together. I couldn’t ask for better travel companions, and I am so grateful.
Each year delivers its share of the good, the bad, and the ugly. And if you’re tempted to get down on yourself for failing to scratch every resolution off your list, don’t. Because if you have the love of your family and friends, you’ve already achieved the important stuff.
Best wishes for a happy and healthy 2015. May the year bring you many blessings.
S A Healey, a happily married mother of two, is and will forever remain, a lover of words and a sucker for romance. You can find out more about her novels and other works at http://www.sahealey.com