I overheard an *expert (of what I couldn’t say) on a morning show the other day. This being the week between Christmas and New Year’s, the program was filled with pre-recorded, blathery end-of-year stuff. Round-ups, Best-Ofs, Top-Grossings blah-blah blah. But I did hear one statement and it’s stuck with me. The mystery expert said focusing so much on a new year and making grand resolutions only indicates that you’re considering the previous year a failure, essentially listing all the things, goals and good intentions that weren’t done.
I liked that.
I think it’s fairly common to do a personal year in review assessment and get a little bummed out at all the negative things that sprung up. I was definitely headed in that direction.
So many amazing and wonderful and awesome and fun times happen throughout the year yet we get to December and only focus on the weight gain or the people that don’t like us anymore or an unfulfilling job or the books we didn’t read. Why is it easier to cling to the bad stuff? Maybe because it’s the ugly stuff that keeps us up at night. It’s so, so wrong.
We’ve got to allow the good stuff to linger longer. Keep that dopamine flowing, people!
I’m going to start here. I’m turning my resolutions into respect.
My resolution of I’m going to write more this year (I only wrote five original pieces this year; for a creative soul, this is crushingly disappointing) is changing to Girl, you only wrote five things this year and one of those was nationally published! That’s 20% of all your shttttt! You go!
My resolution of I’m going to get to the gym more is changing to Girl, the weather was so great this week you hit your 10k steps every day without ever having to walk into that sweaty nasty-ass building! Boom!
My resolution of I’m going to eat healthier this year is changing to Girl, look at you! You tossed out way less from that produce bin than you did last week! Ca-ching!
Things like that.
And instead of bemoaning all the sad things that got me down this year I’ll give a beautiful eulogy to all the things that left me:
Gone: Another Kid to Adulting
I know I yapped up a big storm when my next kid was flying the coop this summer. I was looking forward to his new adventure as well as my own. The update on that humble brag is that most days life is actually super quiet and tedious as an empty nester. So many things are different: cooking, not running the dishwasher, sleeping with the bedroom door open. It really kinda sucks. But those days pale in comparison to the moments when I see the pictures of the roommate Sunday dinners and the visiting friends hiking together and all the adulting at work that NEVER happened under my roof. It’s making our upcoming family vacation all the more special since we’re all coming from our different corners to be isolated together for a whole week. CanNOT wait.
Gone: A Zillion Friends
It’s all good, we’re all throwing dirt on this coffin. This was my year for going from Being Friends to Being Friendly with a lot of people. Maybe it has something to do with the Slo-Mo Death of Facebook, something our kids have known all along, but which adults are a little slower on the uptick. To quote a friend, “Ugh, my Facebook feed is super boring now.” Yep. Gal, that is universal. Now that we’ve all deleted our once-submerged-but-now-surfaced political kook friends, and multi-level-marketer pals and the randos we only connected with after our high school reunion, we’ve all come to the realization we really do prefer an intimate circle of people who genuinely care about us. We are all in good company on this one. Being friendly can never be considered a bad thing.
Gone: My Self Respect
I became a fangirl of the show Sex Lives of College Girls this year, which is funny because I am neither a college girl nor even a mom to one. I boldly do not care. My husband, who will watch eight uninterrupted hours of football or Steely Dan documentaries, expressed concern but I still don’t care. The show, having zero to do with my actual life, cracks me up and that’s that. This has subsequently rekindled my obsession with Mindy Kaling (you know her from The Office but I know her as Girl Boss of All the Things). I listen to her books while walking and binge The Mindy Project reruns every night because I laugh out loud. My biggest absurdist dream is that one day Mindy Kaling stumbles onto my work and discovers I’m almost as funny as she is, so every now and then I tag her in a tweet and pray that she notices. Shame, out the window.
But my devotion to Mindy has unwittingly brought me a gift. As the days turned darker (damn, New England, you be grey!) I’m laughing more now. I’ve switched from true-crime podcasts to humor memoirs (laughing aloud while all alone keeps people at a distance-another bonus!) And I’ve found that laughter does indeed boost my spirits. So when I miss my kids or the air outside is frigid or I’m sad about my sister I turn to the funny to turn things around. My husband now joins and we sit, bingeing and laughing together and momentarily forgetting it’s just the two of us. It’s nice.
So while I won’t be making any resolutions, I’ll try to be more mindful of the bad takes I could definitely kick to the curb, not because it’s a new year but because I’ve realized some habits are draining me (looking at you, SCROLLING). Really, how necessary are the endless stoooooooooopid video reels of people cleaning toilets and throwing blocks of cream cheese into crock pots and folding sweaters the right way gahhhhhhhhhhh! Just. Stop. It. Getting sucked into the vortex of wasted time is one major habit I am definitely going to work on.
So Happy New Year friends, but more importantly, Happy Old Year! We’ve had 365 days of smiles, tears, hellos and goodbyes. How lucky we are to experience all of it!
(And Mindy, if you’re reading this … call me!)
Tina Drakakis blogs at Eyerollingmom and has been featured in Huff Post. She appeared in the Boston production of “Listen to Your Mother: Giving Motherhood a Microphone” presenting her popular essay The Thinking Girl’s Thong and her work has been featured in NPR’s “This I Believe” radio series. That said, she still places “Most Popular 1984” on top of her list of achievements (next would be as the $100,000 winner on that home improvement reality TV show of 2003 but her kids won’t let her talk about that anymore). A witty mother of four, she takes on cyberspace as @Eyerollingmom on Twitter and Eyerollingmom on Facebook & @Eyerollingmom on Instagram. Her collection of essays, A Momoir, can be found here (agent interest ALWAYS WELCOME!)