Stop biting my nails. Floss every day. Lose weight. Be a better person.
I make these same resolutions every single New Year’s Day. And then... I stop biting my nails for a week. I floss for about two days in a row. I work out almost daily for a month, maybe. And I stop cursing at cars that cut me off in traffic and start recycling plastic bottles. That lasts about as long as... well, until someone cuts me off when I’m in a hurry or until there are no recycling bins around when I finish a drink.
I’m a New Year’s Resolution Failure.
I typically throw in a few other, more unique resolutions, hoping those might stick better. Last year, I resolved to start cooking (I learned that raw chicken disgusts me and quit that one by February). The year before, I resolved to drink less and study more (still graduated a year and a half late, and still love tequila). This year, I’ve added a few things (accept and follow through with a real date, learn to walk in heels, take a photo every day, write weekly) to the resolution list. And I’ll probably follow through with those about as well as I’ve stuck to all my other New Year’s resolutions.
I hear so many jokes about people like me. There are those who say that people like me, we can’t take a hint. We can’t see that history repeats itself. We don’t realize that doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome is... well, stupid. They say that we are silly for believing that this year might be different, for believing it might be better than the last, for hoping the best is yet to come.
To the naysayers and the resolution haters, I say... You. Are. Wrong.
I believe a new year really is a clean slate. A blank page. Like a small spark, just waiting to burst into a big, hot flame. And those of us who hope for bigger things, we are the kindling to build that fire. Whether you make new year’s resolutions or not, there is no denying the beautiful energy of a new year. Everyone feels it. And we dreamers are the ones who keep that going, year after year after year.
A lot can happen in 365 days. This time last year, doctors said my grandparents wouldn’t make it to this Christmas (they opened gifts with us last week). I wasn’t sure if I could make it through yet another semester of college (I graduated last month). I thought I couldn’t love anyone else as much as I loved my niece and nephews (and then my sister had another little girl, and my heart expanded). I had my share of good and bad, as does everyone. But I swear, if you look hard for those blessings, the good will outweigh the bad every time. And if you really believe the next year can be even better, then it will be.
Remember when you were five and you could call do-over whenever you wanted? You were trying to show your sister how you could cross the monkey bars two at a time and you fell to the ground. Do-over. You ran to the edge of the water and leaped in, hoping to showcase your new cannonball move, but bellyflopped instead. Do-over. You played checkers with your grandfather, sure you’d get him this time, but instead, he double-jumped your kings and you lost again. Do-over.
Last year was a roller coaster ride, just like every year before it. I laughed my ass off. I cried my eyes out. I hurt people I loved. I felt heartbreak. I felt joy. And I know this new year will bring the same things. I can take a hint. I can see history repeating itself. But I don’t think it’s silly to believe that the best is yet to come. Every new day brings something to smile about. And every new year brings that blank page, that small spark, that chance to call a do-over. As one of my heroes, the wonderful and wise Oprah Winfrey, said... Cheers to a new year and another chance to get it right.
So I’ll renew my gym membership next week. And I'll pull some new recipes off Pinterest. It’s technically January 2nd, and I didn’t take a photo today, so I’ve failed one resolution already. And I’m okay with that. I’m writing and I flossed tonight and I believe that this year will be better than the last. Because here we are again. A new year. Another chance to get it right. Adios, 2011, it's been real. Hello, 2012, and welcome. I’m calling do-over.