Making New Year’s resolutions is an historic ritual, dating back to the Babylonians and tied to agricultural seasons.
Post-harvest, promises were made to pay debts and return borrowed items to please the spiritual beings on high, in hopes the god(dess) might favour future prosperity.
The Romans took on the practice next, flipping the timing to its current Jan. 1 iteration; then Christianity got on the bandwagon, adding a religion-based spin: reflect on a year’s worth of mistakes (guilt) and sin (shame) and make promises to be a better person (morality).
Fast forward to 2018. Pleasing deities long ago slid from consciousness faster than a YouTube squirrel down a greased pole, the moral and religious overlays replaced by worship of the almighty ‘self.’ Believe it or not though, that shift was no modern-day modification. The inner-focused tide was well underway and duly noted in the early 1800s.
Admittedly, whether we fully subscribe to the practice or not, come December’s end, a guilty niggle makes many pause and rustle up a few-last minute, this-year-will-be-different intentions. This January, in fact, close to half of us made resolutions, most in the self-betterment vein via: This year I will ... get in shape (#1) …lose weight (#2) …save money …eat better …accomplish more …enjoy life …play the tuba… (Ring any bells?)
And for those who made resolutions, the odds of carrying through for 12 months? A dismal eight per cent.
Sheesh. Makes you wonder if the effort is worth even paying lip service to, bearing in mind the unlikelihood becoming that better person. Cock-eyed optimists that we both are, we’re aiming to be part of the eight per cent this year, each from where we stand: at the half-century-and-then-some (Karalee) and quarter-century (Jill) marks.
Been there, done that, and despite best intentions, when I make ’em, resolutions are long forgotten by February cuz, yup... once the cold hits, that’ll be me on the couch in a post-Christmas, bah-humbug, bill-fueled hangover descent into debauchery, like every year. Netflix boyfriend set on perma-binge, steady supply of Lindt chocolate in treat drawer, Vitamix whipping up dreamy cocktails (a pox on organic vegan smoothies), unrolled yoga mat jammed in the front door gap as insulation.
In defence... closing in on 58, habits are hard-wired and unalterable, in spite of decades of ‘this year will be different’ edicts. And besides, I’m so totally done with fixing myself – too late, that’s a to-do for those with more years ahead than behind. That ain’t me or my generation now. Nope. Not a leader of tomorrow (granted, I gave birth to three of them), not setting the world on fire (in fact, I should really figure out how to help put out those fires), and not a trend-setter (high-waisted jeans, again? No. Way.).
So, 2019 will be the year I try something different, in the Babylonian tradition of sacrifices to please or benefit others. Ahem... this year, my three resolutions:
Go grey... and get outta the way.
Letting go of youth and aging gracefully ain’t easy, but I’m gonna try. Sure, I can look younger by hair colour and ‘pass,’ but it’s not my world anymore. I need to own that truth and step aside. So... bringing on the grey with intentions to wear my age, loud and proud, because, for Goddess’ sake, the 50s are not the new 40s; now, well beyond the half-century mark, I’m just happy to be on the right side of the dirt. Giving back youth (and hair dye) to the next generation.
- Bonus: By looking my age, I might start to act my age which will surely please my adult sons. This is also an easily measurable resolution at any time via a quick ‘root check.’ (Please friends, family and strangers, help keep me honest.)
Zip it... and bite tongue, unless asked.
One year free of unsolicited advice, talking smack and, most of all, leaving millennials alone. No making excuses for parental mistakes by analyzing the generation ad nauseum and faulting what-is-wrong-with-society to wriggle off hook. We did the parenting. They’re dealing with the aftermath. Time to leave ’em alone so they can fall and rise up on their own gas cuz, guess what? They are, they can and they will, if left alone, that is.
- Bonus: Silence is viewed as both virtue and a sign of wisdom. I will get better and smarter by saying nothing, plus my adult sons can celebrate – no more mom lectures.
Knit more… and give it all away.
Everything. Knit for loved ones, friends and strangers… prayer shawls for those I don’t know, blankets for those I do, cuz everyone needs something cosy to snuggle into, and it’s always grand to get something someone made for you, for no reason at all.
- Bonus: Knitting legitimizes Netflix’s winter decadence, cuz I need time to knit. I also expect semi-sanctification and a bump in the cool factor since, rumour has it, knitting is the new black.
The last few years, I haven’t put much effort into dreaming up resolutions, and being life’s going okay, do I really need to start throwing change around like confetti? Sure, I want to be a better person, but doesn’t everyone? And the flip of a calendar page isn’t quite enough to drive me to betterment. Really, how much change happens overnight? I mean, if I didn’t jog on Dec. 31, 2018, there’s a good chance I’m not going to jog on Jan. 1, 2019. Nevertheless, I’ll give it a shot... millennial style. Plus, knowing only eight per cent actually follow through makes this a competition. Who doesn’t want to be part of the “winning team,” am I right?
Kill the spam…unsubscribe to all spam email lists.
Yes, I’m talking about all 6,784 accumulated over the past decade, and being I can’t afford to shop at Aritzia, why am I still getting their emails three times a week? According to the handy screen-time app recently added to iphones, I spend a minimum of two hours a day staring at a screen, not including laptop time. Processing all that information – some useful, some ridiculous – is draining, to say the least. The older I get, the more I’m tempted to throw my phone into the ocean. It’s time to disconnect at work day’s end and getting rid of spam is my first step in lightening the load.
- Bonus: Cutting down on non-work-related screen time by about 50 per cent means more time to live offline.
Cut closet in half… 365 different outfits, unnecessary.
I’m not kidding when I say I have enough clothes to make it through an entire year without repeating an outfit. Should I be looking inside myself to figure out why I’m hoarding band-shirts from my junior high emo phase? Probably. But sucking it up and getting rid of everything is a lot cheaper (and less wrenching) than therapy.
- Bonus: Might stop putting so much value on material things with a little help from Marie Kondo’s strategy, “Does this item bring me joy? No? Get rid of it.”
Assert thyself... um, if that’s okay with everyone?
At times, I’m as bossy and demanding as Veruca Salt, while others, I’m awkward and passive and would rather get walked over than bother arguing. Give myself 12 months to find the balance between confidence and humility, and I can contribute something useful to the world.
- Bonus: Think of the women who inspire me most in life, what can I do to embody their strengths and put my own spin on it?
My resolutions are a lot more self-centred than yours, Karalee. Hopefully, you’ll give me a pass as an “all-about-me” millennial. Speaking of which, January 2019 also brings my 25th birthday which, for some reason, seems like a get-your-*hit-together milestone. My brain somehow thinks 24-year-olds can still get drunk on cheap wine and sleep in late, while 25-year-olds must check their credit score and eat fibre. Karalee, can you help me out with this quarter-life crisis?
Wow! Only a few days in, and I get to offer wisdom, solicited no less. Jill, I don’t want to steer you wrong, but I’m a middle-aged runaway with no real job, flying by the seat of my pants, and still getting *hit together. Here’s all I know. Life isn’t meant to be static, and change, while intimidating and whether or not you know what the hell you’re doing, at least gives you dots to connect. So put your money on leaps of faith, cuz change is where the magic lives. Meanwhile, how about we hit the NSLC, have a good yak at my house, and consider committing to a fourth resolution…
4. Get *hit-faced together… and plan for one year, not flying by seat of pants.