So I’ve kind of lost all sense of time, but apparently, it’s almost New Year’s Eve? Huh. So, I guess it’s when people make resolutions. Are we still doing that this year? Truthfully, I love making New Year’s Resolutions. I mean, a year-long to-do list aimed at self-improvement? Where do I sign up and is there a limit on how many items I can add? But this year? Oof. As I check back on my resolutions from January 1st last year and what I’d hoped for 2020…welp, those plans pretty much got demolished when the world turned inside out. Just to name a few, the goals of hosting monthly get-togethers, the plan to fly the cousins in from all over for a visit, and even my commitment to barre classes at the studio simply weren’t possible. But I did organize the pantry within an inch of its life. Whew - I can check that one off the ol’ list and tell myself the year wasn’t a complete flop. But what are we supposed to do for resolutions this coming year?
A lot of my resolution making stems from looking at the previous year and choosing areas I want to improve on. But it’s hard to focus critically too much on 2020. I get caught up in what I’ve missed this last year and the general state of things and honestly it leaves me weary and sad. But then when I turn too heavily toward the future, the amount of uncertainty in what lies ahead hammers me with stress and anxiety. It’s a bit of a pickle for a list-making, resolution-loving lady such as myself. I love the arbitrary fresh start the New Year brings and I don’t want to miss the opportunity to assess what went well about last year (yes, it wasn’t all awful!) and what I’m grateful for. I also do really want to plan for things I want to accomplish in the year ahead. But I’m also a realist and realize there’s nothing magical about the calendar turning over to 2021. As much as I wish it were not the case, January 1st is going to feel an awful lot like the last ten months.
So for me, 2021 is not the year to be crazy ambitious with New Year’s resolutions. Womp womp. And I think I’m getting ok with that? Maybe? Perhaps just giving myself some credit for making it through the last year ought to be worth something. It’s hard to squelch the desire to push a major reset button of self-improvement and ambition, but I’m going to taper it back a bit this year and keep in mind what lessons 2020 taught me. Or rather, what lessons 2020 smacked me in the face with - repeatedly. That’s my attempt to balance the difficult past year with the uncertainty of the coming one. So I’m thinking about resolutions more thematically than I typically do and for 2021, I’m specifically focusing on space. Not the six-feet-of-distance kind of space. But rather the space and stillness that’s come about with the forced slowing down of much of my family’s day-to-day life. Without all the outside noise of social and general community commitments, we’ve had a lot more space to ourselves. I can honestly say that my little crew has never spent more time together than we have in 2020. Now, was it always pretty? Pffft. That’s a no. (I took on full homeschooling this year with a makeshift office at the kitchen table, there have been some loooong days.)
But with the additional space for just our family, we’ve had room to breathe, be angry, be patient, slow down, reevaluate, redefine, reflect, laugh, worry, celebrate, grow, and learn about each other together. I want to make sure I carry space for my family with me into 2021. In my regular life, whenever it may return, I want to maintain some quiet and stillness for understanding, patience, and love within my family. That’s where I’ve recentered my focus. With all the time we’ve spent so closely knit together this last year, I feel like I understand who they are more than I ever have. And that’s something I really want to hang onto, but can be lost once the kids go back to daycares, schools, activities, and friends and we go back to offices and conferences and happy hours. I don’t want to lose that closeness so I’m making my commitment to space for my family my main resolution for the New Year.
And sure, I’ll throw in a couple of self-improvement resolutions on my list. too. But I’ll tell you right now that I’m going to be aiming lower than in years past. No, scratch that. I’m not aiming lower, but rather going for attainable this year. No need to pile on the stress for 2021. So maybe I’ll resolve to not let Netflix drone on through long binges into the wee hours of the morning until it concernedly asks me, “Are you still watching?” and I have to dig the remote out from the duvet and click “Yes”, yes I’m still watching you and your siren’s song of police procedurals and baking disasters and soap opera tales of the Royal family. (Oh, Netflix, you really get me.) And maybe I’ll throw more vegetable eating on that list as well. It never hurts to at least have a bag of baby carrots in the fridge to scatter on the kids’ plates. They’ll eventually start eating them without coaxing, right? But all in all, I’ll look to the year ahead less with a sense of urgent tackling and more with a calm ease of knowing I’ll try my best to accomplish what I can. And I’m going to pat myself on the back this December 31st more than I ever have before for a job done just fine in terms of getting through the last year. I hope you can find some space to do the same. Happy New Year, everyone.