My Facebook memories brought up my old New Year’s Resolutions from January 2020.
Yeah. That’s right. January 2020.
That was the last time I made New Year’s Resolutions.
Before 2020 I usually made about 20 New Year’s Resolutions at the start of each year and emailed them to myself. Then, when the next year started, I would review the last year’s Resolutions and see which ones I had kept.
Now is the time of year where the parking lots of every LA Fitness are jam-packed. Twitter is in a lull as everyone tries to restrict screen time. My Facebook feed is full of posts about book recommendations and the best way to include more antioxidant-rich color in your salads.
And you know what? It’s awesome. I love this time of year when people really do want to try to improve themselves. The rest of the year we live in a culture of fear. Despair and anxiety get clicks. Optimism fails in an attention economy. Oh, do you feel hope for the future? Fuck you. Enjoy your privilege Karen.
Now, however, at the beginning of January people are willing to forgive you if you’re positive. Go ahead and have faith! Drop that weight and learn Italian. It’s great. And after a hard last few years we as a society deserve some good vibes.
Still, after reading the Resolutions I hopefully wrote down in January of 2020, I feel some nervousness about making Resolutions for 2023.
January 2020, of course, was pre-pandemic for most of the globe.
“Start drawing classes,” “Go to the gym,” “Submit to more comics conferences.” I had no idea typing everything down in January of 2020 that fulfilling those Resolutions would be impossible. In eight weeks time everything would be closed. No schools. No gyms. No conferences. No coffee shops. Nothing.
I hadn’t made any New Year’s Resolutions since that time.
Skimming over my past New Year’s Resolutions all the way back to 2010 has been a little embarrassing. My Resolutions for the year my son was born are cringe. I was 8 months pregnant that January when I wrote down my Resolutions as a soon-to-be new mom. “Study Korean every day,” “Take at least one overnight backpacking trip this year and one international trip as well,” “Slim back down to a 28-inch waist within two months of giving birth.”
So should I make Resolutions for 2023? Or will I be jinxing myself? Would I trigger another worldwide pandemic? Would I just fail again and again? It’s been well over a decade since I’ve given birth and I still don’t have that 28 inch waist back.
In the end, well, I’m probably going to write down some Resolutions. Yeah, I may not live up to the majority of them but that’s not what’s important. What’s important is that I maintain momentum in my life. What’s important is that we as a whole allow ourselves hope.
Being optimistic about our own abilities to improve our lives is not privilege. It’s necessity.
You may not fulfill all your New Year’s Resolutions, but you will fulfill none if you don’t make them in the first place. Have faith!
And Happy New Year!