When the calendar reset button approaches, our mind madly scurries to find ways to quiet our deep longing for vice. “We will be better next year!” we exclaim and hastily create New Year’s resolutions to transform ourselves into a better, slimmer, calmer, happier, richer and more sober replica of ourselves.
Many past New Year’s resolutions went something like this:
- “I will never drink again. Correction-I will never drink more than 1 drink in one sitting* ever again. That drink will be limited to red wine because red wine has anti-oxidants and is good for us.”
*Clarification:1 sitting = 1 locale in a 60 minute time frame.
- “I will no longer eat fried things. When the waitress asks which side I want with my organic veggie burger, I’ll pretend fries no longer exist (perhaps they died in the ’08 financial crisis) and eagerly ask for leafy greens with a slimming sounding dressing like ‘Green Goddess.’”
- “I will exercise daily. I will join the Marina girls in their bright yellow leggings and perfectly formed buttocks at Soul Cycle class where I’ll spin away any evidence of past fried food to overplayed radio pop.”
- “I will save money. In order to afford the $30/class that promises buttocks you can bounce a quarter off of (a small price indeed), I will put myself on a strict budget and buy less….shoes. I’ll resist their pleas as they call out to me like Sirens from the storefront window (“Am I not beautiful?” “Come in and feel me on your foot!”) and walk by quickly in workout sneakers. Walking saves cab money too.”
- “I will become spiritual. I will go on a meditation retreat in Esalen where they have those naked hot springs and everyone pretends to have no body issues because they are so beyond such trains of physical thought. After its completion I will quietly sit on a hilltop once a week, freed from neuroses and perform meditation chants. I will imagine each intruding thought a fluffy cloud like those in a Bob Ross painting and dismiss them, leaving my mind pure and my face unwrinkled.”
- “I will talk less. With my new clear mind, I won’t repeat the same story at each dinner party and will simply smile and listen to others. People will assume I am a serene introvert and think the girl that once cut lines in Argentine clubs and slammed down her whiskey with a loud drunken laugh was someone different. Someone who didn’t make New Year’s Self Improvement Resolutions.”
These wishes are on repeat every year, embarked upon in great earnest once January 1st emerges like a phoenix out of ashes. As days go by, and life happens, we falter. Sometime during March when the weather is particularly gloomy, our old selves reappear right when we are embarking upon a detoxifying juice cleanse.
“Ha!” our old self shouts,“You thought you could lose me, didn’t you? But I’ve caught up…Now drop that glass of pureed kale!”
In order to avoid this annual failure of ourselves perhaps we should make claims we can stick to. Perhaps we make claims for NONIMPROVEMENT and cherish the results that may happen.
NONResolutions for NONImprovement:
- “I will improve my alcohol tolerance. I will ensure I can drink MORE than a glass per sitting so that I can be the gracious host of whiskey nights and wine tastings and allow alcohol, the social lubricant, to unite us. Generosity will be demonstrated through pours and after the 5th swallow we will all become more honest and vulnerable and admit that we are not so perfect and do stupid things, like NYE ’09 when someone lost their pants in a Colorado snowstorm (aka The night of the fallen snow angel).”
- “I will exercise LESS. I won’t join any cult workout that makes me feel worse about my lessening coordination (is it aging or the whiskey that makes me fall off of my bike?). I’ll stop my mad fanaticism to have a perfect body and relax and slow down and enjoy reading a book (and no, not while I am on the treadmill).”
- “I will eat MORE fat. Odd you may think, but since I’ve been counting calories in everything from a club sandwich (630) to a stalk of celery (negative 2 if you chew it for long enough) since I was 14, I decided that it would be better to enjoy food instead of viewing it as an adversary, each bite decision a calculated algorithm comprised of savory taste and caloric mass. Positives of fat: 1. More fat on the face reduces the appearance of wrinkles. 2. Not obsessing about fat provides more brainpower for spiritual enlightenment.”
- “I WILL meditate but I WON’T pretend it will have magical powers to transform my personality. Perhaps instead of despising aspects of myself (like repeating stories) I’ll learn to LIKE myself (at least in moderation) and stop trying to pretend to be someone with perfect posture and silent wisdom and instead let my loud laugh fill the room, a room filled with people that are as flawed* as I am. And happy.
*Note: The insertion of the picture above does not mean the people in it are ‘flawed’. Many probably made good self improvement plans for 2014. But they are all happy in their vice. Some ate pulled pork and biscuits for breakfast with me on New Year’s Day last year.
That left me with a big smile and a wonderfully generous insight.