“Well, we all make mistakes, dear, so just put it behind you. We should regret our mistakes and learn from them, but never carry them forward into the future with us.”
– L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Avonlea
It’s January and you know what that means: every single person you know will be banging on about their New Year’s Resolutions.
The statuses went up pretty quickly on social media this year, almost minutes after midnight, and they didn’t disappoint.
2015: The Year of Me
2015 is the year where I give up the [sex, fags, booze – insert vice here]
This year I will not…
And that’s all great. I mean, it’s good to have a goal, and I get the symbolic nature of New Year. It’s the 1st of the year. Sometimes, there are fireworks. And any attempt to give up things that have made us unhappy, unhealthy or stark-raving-bonkers is good, right? But did you notice the amount of negativity lurking behind those statuses?
To me, it was a bit passive aggressive, whether aimed at an ex or a friend or a job. Or, in some cases, the negativity was aimed at ourselves, declaring “new year, new me,” and it got me thinking: Well, what’s wrong with the old you? I kind of liked that person.
Sure, if the “old” you smoked 50 a day, snorted everything to hand and hurt everyone around you, then yeah, it’s probably time to have a life overhaul, but most people aren’t like that.
So why all the self-hatred?
Why are we all running to the gym, tipping the booze down the drain, and swearing off men/women/any relationship ever again?
We’ve all done it. I took a drinking hiatus this year for all of about 24 hours because I had a rotten hangover and a foggy memory but I like a glass of wine. It’s not like I’m constantly attached to a bottle of merlot but it is something I enjoy. Should I cut down? Probably, I can neck it with the best of them. Give up? I don’t think I need to. But that’s just my opinion.
We’ve all said these things. If someone had recorded the amount of times I’d sworn off doing something (usually right after I’ve just done whatever it is and I’m suffering from The Shame Spiral) like it was the worst thing I could possibly have done, I would be cringing with embarrassment.
The thing is we all make mistakes.
Small ones, medium sized ones, hilarious ones, ones that hurt others, ones that hurt ourselves, catastrophic ones, important ones, life-changing ones, ones that mess everything up.
But that’s all they are. Mistakes.
They aren’t the end of the world. They are a learning curve and necessary to our personal growth.
“Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes.”
― Mahatma Gandhi
I’m not saying don’t make New Year’s resolutions – any opportunity to make yourself feel better or make a beneficial life change is great – I’m just saying be a little kinder to yourselves – and others – when you make them, and make them for the right reasons. Make them positive.
Go to the gym because you want to feel healthy not because someone else told you you’re fat.
Give up booze because you hate hangovers not because you got a bit pissed at the office Christmas party and belted out All By Myself on karaoke while sat on Dave from account’s knee (if you actually did this, never stop drinking, You are probably my soul mate).
Give up that person who makes you miserable because they are bad for you. You’ve done nothing wrong, you’re awesome. Don’t change.
Go travelling because you want to see the world. Not because you want to escape it.
Perhaps our New Year’s resolutions should be simple, broader and less punishing. Someone recently gave me the best piece of advice: treat yourself like you would your best friend.
Tell you off when you’re wrong.
Find you funny, smart, attractive.
Do things for you.
Stand up for you.
For me, travelling is my 2015 resolution. Travel more, write more, read more, do all the things I love more. Don’t make excuses for things that do not need excusing. Oh, and stop procrastinating on the internet when I should be doing other things like buying travel insurance, re-writing my CV and booking accommodation. Ooops. I’m learning from that mistake. Sort of. Well, I will right after I’ve finished watching these pug videos on the internet.
Have you made any New Year’s resolutions? What are your reasons for doing so? Do you think about others far too much when making decisions? Do you think I am I completely wrong? Do you agree with being your own best friend? And has anyone ever figured out a way to not use the internet as a form of distraction?