As much as I love the blissful spirit that embodies Christmas Day, I equally dislike the pressure-filled anticipation that makes up New Year’s Eve. If there were a New Year’s Eve Grinch that stole the ball before it dropped, it would be me (though I am thankfully not in any way green … or, thanks to laser hair removal, furry). Not only do we feel pressured to dress to the nines and stay up all night after over-eating and extending ourselves throughout the Christmas break, but we also have these inner demons making us feel like we need to make resolutions to be enhanced the next year. Bah Humbug.
I wake up on New Year’s Eve every year and feel like I need to make myself a “better” person as if my main goal is to take home the prize of “Most Improved” award when the year is finished. I create a list of how I am going to be a more loving wife, more attentive mom, more loyal friend … and I am going to save a thousand dollars a month for our children’s education, volunteer at least twice a month at our local church and wash my car weekly, while at the same time losing the last few pounds from child number two, reading one book a week, re-learning the French language, and showering every time I have to show face at a pre-school get together. WOW. I am going to take this year by storm … Then January 2nd hits and my husband leaves for a week-long fishing trip, the kids have strep throat, and I haven’t seen a face cloth- – let alone a shower- in over five days. WTF.
I have learned, after many years, that this “resolution” list is basically just setting myself up for failure. Because who wants to live day-by-day adhering to a list that may or may not be realistic … or, more importantly, a list that may not be “you?” Why put added pressure on ourselves as moms or women, when we already have enough life pressures to deal with? We can only control a small part of what life brings and, my last year’s story being a great example, life may throw you a curve ball or two that you can’t make a list to fix.
What if we woke up on New Year’s Eve this year and said, “Wow, I have really tried the past 365 days.” Through this year’s highs and lows from milestone birthday parties to my own mother’s drama, my husband and I have kept a respectful, devoted relationship and still share cuddles in bed. After family flu bugs and back to school concerns my kids still kiss me goodnight and tell me they love me. And my friends, well ….they are going through the same life challenges that I am, so I know even if it takes me a day or a month to get back to their “begging for advice about school bus anxiety,” voicemails, they will show up on my doorstep (and vice versa) tomorrow if I need them.
So, this year, I am going to reflect on the past 365 days and love myself for how much I have tried. I am going to embrace my highs and learn from my lows. I am going to make myself better by not putting pressure on myself to be perfect. I am going to accept myself for who I am, rather than who I think I should be. And I think this is a mantra to live by, year after year …