I resolve to make zero resolutions for the new year. Besides the one I just made! I am hoping for an underwhelming year. My mantra will not be ”I am so overwhelmed.” I am saying NO to lofty goals, NO to dreaming big and a really big NO to self-improvement. I realize this is heresy, but I am willing to be labeled a heretic. You might ask what will be my motivation to get out of bed if I don’t have goals and/or planning to do? I’m thinking I will want to get out of bed because I will be so curious what a day without striving and trying will be like.
I will need to talk to myself in a new language, the verbal whips of “I am not enough.”, “Try harder,” or “I should _____(fill in the blank) will be defused by a gentler vocabulary of self-talk. My sister Aileen has coined a new word “overwhelmtion”, the disease of too much to do and too little time to do it. It’s very contagious and there is no vaccine for it. Some people are immune to overwhelmtion, they follow a diet of nourishing self talk . What if I answered the social/polite question “So what are you up to? with “I have time to do the things I want to do and to explore new areas.” Would the conversation end? If I am not “too busy” do I have any justification for being on the planet. I am afraid that living life at a slower pace may bring me face to face with loneliness. “Too busy” crowds out loneliness, surely if I am rushing to and fro I must be a popular, important person.
Sometimes I feel like I am leaning so far into the future that I could fall flat on my face. I want to meander a bit, stop and look, maybe double back and eventually amble into this moment or the next. The future is really just a “now” that hasn’t happened yet. I don’t want to be famous——o.k. just a little famous would be alright. I want to be a good writer, a good mother and a good friend. I may not be a big splash, but I might be the rock that skips across the water three times.
So what will 2018 be like for this underachiever? I could get a part-time job with Consumer Reports rating how comfortable Mattress A is compared to Mattress Z and all in between. This is a big contribution to my and mankind’s need for a good nights sleep, but I get tired thinking about how many mattresses I would need to rate to meet a quota. I guess I don’t want to live up to my potential and my second grade teacher had me nailed after all. I don’t want to live up to any arbitrary measures i.e. too fat or too skinny, too smart or too stupid, and conversely scrubbing toilets is not “beneath”me. Allowing myself to simply be, and accepting my growth or lack of growth, is my Grand Experiment for 2018.
Wishing all of you a New Year filled with love and joy.
No need to hurry. No need to sparkle. No need to be anybody but oneself.”
― Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own / Three Guineas