I used to set resolutions. Every year. When I was a kid it was stuff like “be nicer to [insert name of anyone I went to school with here] so you stop getting in trouble” or “talk less, listen more” or “be less of a picky eater”. Whatever resolutions kids come up with to make themselves feel grown up, because grown ups have GOALS and IDEAS.
I started feeling like resolutions and “new year new me” was all bullshit around fourteen or fifteen, because I was going through that angsty “nothing we do matters and we’re all gonna die” phase (my friends reading this are laughing at my use of the word “was”). On some level I felt like I was grown enough to not need resolutions anymore.
For so long I saw knowledge and growth like some sort of mountain, and once you reached the peak there was no higher to climb. You’d done it! Success! You now have all the knowledge you need to kick back and chill and feel better and smarter than everyone else for the rest of your life! You have finally finished growing!
Good joke, 17-year-old me.
That shit never ends. There is never a day you should wake up and feel like you have achieved the meaning of life, perfection, Nirvana, bliss, whatever you want to call it. You haven’t. No one has. Contentment is wonderful, satisfaction is amazing, and those feelings are feelings you deserve to have. But don’t stop growing because you feel “finished”, or stop learning because you think you have it all figured out.
I still don’t love the idea of New Year’s resolutions. It just feels cheesy. But I have had to learn that setting a resolution in 2017 doesn’t mean it’s something I can’t keep working on into 2020. I have ended up keeping all my resolutions from childhood. I learned to be a kinder person, but also to not be afraid of getting into trouble. I have never stopped talking, but I did learn how to listen, and at the end of the day I’m still a picky eater, but I am always willing to try new foods. I didn’t stick to those resolutions like glue, though I’ll blame that on being nine years old, but I had them in my mind and that allowed me to work on those elements of growth, while also realizing that the world wasn’t as black-and-white as I thought it was when I had initially created those goals.
In truth, resolutions are important. It’s important to set goals and strive to achieve them, I really do believe that. Despite the whole “new year new me” cheesiness, I know an arbitrary starting point makes it easier to find a time to put those goals into action, so I’ve accepted it and started making New Year’s resolutions that feel realistic for the moment, and then building on them over time. The way I see it, life is about being better than you were the day before, or hour or minute before. Even by a minuscule, microscopic margin. Change is essential to being a human being. I don’t believe any person should find their comfortable spot and plateau from there, we should all be working to find something to improve ourselves with so we don’t end up unchangeable. We should be finding a way to be kinder, more compassionate, loving, conscious, educated, badass, etc. every day. So hey, if resolutions aren’t your thing, I get that, but on some level, shouldn’t we all be growing and changing and setting new standards for ourselves all the time? And what the hell are we doing with our lives if we aren’t?