We’re not yet two weeks into the new year, and I’m already seeing posts of people shaming themselves with confessions of failing miserably to follow through on resolutions. This is why I don’t make resolutions. We don’t stick to them. Then we feel like failures.
It’s good that we can be open about our lack of follow through. Good that we can find comfort and solace in a community of similarly completion challenged friends. But I’m still ruminating on this idea of the start of another year as the beginning of something new and fabulous.
As if this is our one shot to get it right.
Of course I’m as guilty as the next person. I’m drawn to the idea of a fresh start and set time to begin. It’s a good excuse to wait. We justify bad choices with the dream of a new year, new attitude, new ability. But those bad choices started to form a habit that isn’t easily broken when the clock strikes midnight. Once the inevitable slip-up happens, we’re back where we were before. Now what? Wait eleven months and 16 days to try it again? That seems a little silly. Maybe a lot silly.
I wonder if those of us in the northern hemisphere aren’t kind of set up for failure. The days are short. It’s cold. At this very moment, I’m watching a Crepe Myrtle sway in the wind as a storm brews. The Crepe Myrtle is obviously napping – it’s dormant, hunkered down in this season of harsh weather. I want to hunker down and nap.
Years ago, I worked as a grader for one of my college English professors. On a partially frosty and short winter day she confessed that she was not motivation and needed to just hibernate in the winter. I was shocked. Students aren’t given much time for hibernation. Now I totally get what she was saying. A nap, not the elliptical calls my name.
Wait! What am I saying? Am I using the weather as an excuse?
You bet. The weather is my continual scapegoat for everything from a bad mood to a bad hair day.
Seriously, though. I do believe in seasons and cycles and a time for everything. Plants can’t produce year round, and I don’t think humans can either. At least not at the speed current western thought ascribes to. But a new semester started this week and now I’m the teacher. I can’t hibernate. I have prepping and grading. I can slow down, though. Like my English professor friend, I can recognize that the weather affects my mood and energy. I can be gentle with myself. I can set realistic expectations (intentions) in the first place so I don’t have to find a lot of excuses for why I’m going to go take a nap.