Should I make resolutions?

Life is hard. It’s one of the things I try to teach my boys. Sometimes it’s unfair. Sometimes it’s painful. But no matter how unfair or painful it feels, it doesn’t give you permission to treat others poorly.

On this last day of 2017, I try to look ahead to the year to come. Should I make resolutions? Does anyone really stick to them anyways? I’ve never really made resolutions before. I figure as long as I make it through another year without intentionally hurting anyone I’ve done all I need to do. But is that enough? I wonder if there is more I should do. Should I expect more out of myself? Am I just flying by the seat of my pants and being willing to simply make it through this life of mine?  Or, am I doing just fine by actually making it through life, not seriously harming myself and taking some steps to make sense of all that I have survived?

I’m not at the stage of acceptance. Not even close. I don’t know if that’s what needs to happen in order to heal from my past. Truthfully, I don’t even know what it would mean to me. Does it mean being able to talk about it without being so overwhelmed that you need to disappear inside of yourself? Does it mean being able to cry and scream over all that has been lost? Or, does it mean something else entirely? Is it letting the feelings and thoughts and pain pull you under with the knowledge that you will still survive the storm? I don’t know. Maybe this next year will be the year I can figure out what it means to me.

What type of resolutions do people make who find it a struggle just to survive the day sometimes?

I won’t resolve to lose weight (although it would be better for me, I know). I don’t smoke or drink (so that’s off the table). Saving money is always something everyone wants, but for some reason it never seems to happen (for me it’s probably because I spend all my extra money going to therapy).

So what is attainable for me? What type of resolutions aren’t going to add stress to an already over-stressed system? Deflect less? Drink less Diet Coke? Swear less? Maybe, Not Happening, OH FUCK NO WAY!

So, what can I do? Or try to do?

Pay attention–I’m going to try to pay better attention. I am good at reading the feelings and emotions of other people, but I hide from myself. I need to pay more attention to the details–at work, home and life in general. I need to pay attention to how I’m feeling and work with it in the moment. With help if necessary. With patience. With some form of compassion for myself.

Write–this is fairly easy for me. But I’m going to try to write more. Especially in my journal–about my true feelings and reactions to circumstances. I’m going to stop writing as though I am writing about another person. I am going to write about me and my shitty life experiences. Raw. Open. Honest.

Talk–this is going to be one of the most difficult parts of what I want to change. Talking is hard. Talking is uncomfortable. Talking is showing the most vulnerable parts of myself. I will try to speak louder, above a whisper. I will try to allow myself to talk about my anger and disappointment and fear. Even if it’s only one or two sentences in the beginning. I will try harder to have a ‘real’ conversation about my life. About me.

Love–I’m going to try harder to let those who are important to me know how important they are to me. Because those people do exist–my boys, some of my friends, my therapist. I’ll have those awkward conversations about my feelings for them. I’ll accept whatever it is they feel for me. I’ll try to love myself more (although I might need some help figuring out how to do that).

And if I break these resolutions? Well, so what! The world will not implode because I forgot to pay attention one day. Nobody will die if I decide not to write. My therapist won’t leave me if I can’t speak (he’s proven that over the last three years). And I will learn to love myself each and every day eventually (at least that’s the plan).

Maybe 2018 is the year I am going to have to be selfish. Maybe it’s going to have to be about me for once. Because if it isn’t, there just might not be a 2019.

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