Julie Barrett is a freelance writer and photographer based in Plano, TX.

No Resolutions? No Problem!

Fresh when it gets here from Julie Barrett
Saturday, December 30, 2023

Streamers to see in the start of a new year, 2012.
Streamers to see in the start of a new year, 2012.

The one thing I hate about this time of the year is the pressure to make resolutions for the new year. I have learned not to cave into that pressure. Why? Because I always (metaphorically speaking) bite off more than I can chew. I've also reached the conclusion that self-improvement is a process not dictated by the calendar. 

Those of you who have seen me in person know that I could probably stand to lose a few pounds. For years I made that resolution. Then I would get thrown off track by illness. So why bother? Over the years I've come to realize that the January/February virus in most years is almost an inevitability for me. Okay, so how do I deal? This year I tried to lose some weight ahead of our vacation. The vacation was not a carrot for we had already booked it. I took off nine pounds, and I've kept it off even through the Gorging Season. (Felicitations of which apply, if you're a Blackadder fan.) I hope to lose more, but I'm also cognizant of the fact that I'm about to enter two months of stress, and you know what? If I can just manage to maintain my weight through this I'll consider it a success. Is it a resolution? No. It's a quirk of the calendar. My stress period used to be August-September, and now it's January-February. I'll need to make an adjustment.

Also, shit seems to happen, if you'll pardon the adult language. I gave up doing National Write A Novel Month because things kept happening. The first year I was clicking right along and then my MIL fell and literally broke her back - a day before my husband was due to go out of the country for two weeks on business. We had a kid in middle school, and MIL lived 90 minutes away. Something had to give. It was the novel. It still sits unfinished on the hard drive, a constant reminder of my failure. The next year I got what my doctor called the "not the flu" virus that put me down for a couple of weeks. I took that as a sign. I write when I can and not when the calendar implores me to do so. While I admire the people who can sit down and knock out 50K (or more!) words in a month, I'm not one of them. Why keep pushing when I know I'll fail? 

Don't take that as giving up. I see it as learning my limitations and learning how to work around them. Sometimes I can crank out 20,000 words in a day, but it's when the muse calls rather than some arbitrary date on a calendar. I am not a failure because November tends to fill up with unexpected things. I would be a failure if that meant I should give up writing altogether. And I haven't. So there is that.

My biggest resolution? It was made in the middle of the year, when I decided to retire from everything that's not a creative job. My previous post was all about that, so I'll not rehash it here. You're welcome. I'll just say that it's not a decision I could have made in January, and it took several months of additional things piling up to push me into that decision. And I certainly wasn't going to wait until now to let some key people know about my plans. This is what I mean about not being forced into life changes by an arbitrary calendar date.

So there ya go. As far as resolutions go your mileage may vary. If it works for you to set January 1 as the date to make changes, you have my support. I just know it doesn't work for me.

And overcooked black-eyed peas on Monday? Heck no.

Filed under: Life            

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