Ask not what 2017 can do for you…
I’ll be blunt. People dying, even people I know and love, does not affect me the way it seems to affect most people. Even when my most beloved Gram (my dad’s mom), and my favorite aunt/godmother passed in 2010, I did my crying when they were alive. I was much more hurt by their suffering than by my own loss. The hardest part for me is coming to terms with all of the ways I failed to show up for my loved ones while they were living. Once the people themselves are gone, I don’t have a lot of grief.
And as for celebrity deaths, they are barely a blip on my radar. So yes, 2016 was a bad year to be a living icon, but that was really not an issue for me. Did I make some jokes about 2016? Absolutely! And was 2016 a terrible year for me? It was. But not entirely. I married the love of my life (after Gram). I did a lot of writing, and even got an article published. I started jogging 2 miles a day, five days a week. I knit my first adult sweater, and I learned a handful of difficult knitting techniques, like fair isle, and wraps and turns. And I was interviewed for a documentary about people who have maintained long-term weight loss.
That was some great stuff! It was a hard year because I am particularly sensitive, and it was so difficult to escape the mean-spirited, hateful, dishonest, angry, and scary rhetoric of the year’s politics. And there is no end in sight, frankly. So I have decided to take on a resolution this year.
Look, I don’t generally call them resolutions, because now that word is synonymous with “broken promise,” but I often use the new year or my birthday to make some personal changes. Both my food anniversary and my blogiversary are January 2nd. And I started jogging as a commitment the first week in January last year. Plus, I quit smoking on my 35th birthday over 4 years ago now.
Could I make my changes on, say, October 7th? Sure. And do I understand that calendars and time are arbitrary constructs (mostly arbitrary – a year is the time it takes for the Earth to make one trip around the sun, after all) created my humans? Of course I do. But they also hold a collective sense of humanity in them. We might celebrate something called Christmas in the modern world, but as long as there have been humans, they have been noticing the sun slowly go away, and celebrating it slowly coming back. And the New Year may once have begun in March rather than January, but we do generally, as a species, enjoy collectively marking one trip around the sun.
So this year I want to focus on personal peace. Obviously, that is not a new concept for me. Even the tag line for this blog is “Peace is better than chocolate.” But this year I ran into some stumbling blocks in my ongoing quest for inner peace, and I would like to make that my focus in 2017.
If you know me, or regularly read my blog, you know that I believe in, and rely on, specificity. I am not interested in lala conceptual promises. “I am going to try to be more peaceful” is nonsense. It doesn’t mean anything. I believe in being able to measure your results. So I am going to spend the next few days making a plan. It will probably be a mix of actions and abstentions, but whatever it will be, it will be defined and “knowable.” Just like I know when I am in my food boundaries, because I have specific rules. I am either following those rules, or breaking them. Some people call that “strict,” but to me, that “strictness” is a huge relief.
I don’t know what 2017 will look like, obviously. But I do know that what was so hard about 2016 for me was that I was so unprepared for the negativity. And I don’t have to have that excuse anymore. I believe in taking care of myself. I can’t expect anyone else to do that for me. So no matter what 2017 brings, what I plan on bringing to 2017 is my personal peace. And I will do my best to share that peace with you.
Happy New Year! I hope it’s a peaceful one for you and yours!