Today I’m not talking about food or recipes. I want to talk about holidays and the new year, in particular.
Every year it’s the same thing. Messages to “live it up” through the holidays, indulge in whatever we want. Then, in the new year, it’s time to make up for those indulgences. Set things right, a path to a new you.
Detox. Do yoga. Lose weight. Eat Clean. Quit sugar/alchohol/overeating/_____. Meditate. Volunteer. Hit the gym. Look better. Do better. Be better.
The assumption is that we haven’t already been working on these things. That it’s “now or never”, rather than appreciating the personal improvements we’ve already made, or the steps we take daily, monthly, or during certain phases of our lives.
I’ve been reflecting these past few weeks. Christmas and the holidays are not the easiest time for me. I’ll be very real and say that Christmas evokes a great deal of anxiety for me. This year was better than last, when I pretty much broke down Christmas Eve in tears and nerves. I tried to hold it together for the girls, but ultimately I was crashing inside. As most moms understand, the weeks (and months) leading up to Christmas are mind-boggling. Like a mental marathon of things to keep up with and attend to. For me, I think there’s another layer. While I love the time I share with my family during the holidays, Christmas itself leaves me feeling a little empty. It might be partially because of my past and sad times through the fall and winter. Those memories and times are not so easy to shake off, even as adults with our own families. Also, because we don’t have extended family gatherings, I guess I have this need to deliver holiday happiness for the girls on Christmas. No pressure, right? 😉 So, yeah, it’s no surprise to me that I feel a little blue during the holidays.
New Year’s delivers the same. Again, I love hanging with the family on New Year’s Eve, and creating traditions. But one tradition I don’t enjoy is the looming feeling that we must better ourselves come January 1st. Why?
How about accept where we are come January 1st, and understand it’s part of our life’s journey? Sure, let’s take time to assess new things we’d like to achieve or how we might strive to become healthier and happier. Yet, so many of us feel this need to accomplish one or more of these goals in the very short-term. As in…
Lose any weight that first week? (No? Oh dear.)
Missed 2 days at the gym already? (So much for commitment!)
Off the juice cleanse already? (Where’s the willpower?)
It’s as if we start the New Year telling ourselves we aren’t already good enough. That we must improve. And, if we slip on one of these resolutions or goals, then we are already failing in the new year.
When, in reality, another month or day may bring that awareness and ease that stimulates the change we desire. Most of our goals are met in the very long-term, yet our mentality for improvement in the new year is quite short-lived.
At 45 I’m done with these “new year, new you” messages. I’m already internalizing these new year expectations and it’s not a good feeling.
I’m a great person, with a good heart. I give and love and do the best I can. Whether January 1st, August 1st, or December 31st. I know I have areas of growth and things I want to change, yet this new year, new you mentality is not supportive.
I’ve come to recognize more about myself in the last couple of years than all my years before. As hard as it is to accept the parts of me I don’t love and wish I “didn’t have”, I know that those parts also allow me to bring beautiful things to my life, our children, and the world.
So, right now – this January – this new year: I’m going to be less demanding on myself to improve, and more fully accept the person I am.
As I move towards new change, I’ll celebrate the small steps. Whatever day or month. When I slip or feel I’ve let myself down, time to remind myself that this too is part of the journey. Being present brings us more happiness than thinking about what we need to achieve, or ruminating about the past.
That’s it, really. These thoughts and feelings have been bubbling up and I decided to share and discuss today. I’m not sure where all of you are at this time of the year. But if you’re feeling some of these emotions, you certainly aren’t alone. I invite you to join me, to just breathe and take it one day at a time. Loving who you are the best you can, and celebrating when you do make changes that bring you more happiness – whenever that may be.
I wish you all joy, peace, and love today… this and next month… and all of 2016.