I have a complicated relationship with the New Year. I’m not alone in that. When I drank, New Year’s Eve was full pressure to make sure I was having the best time at the right party. Now that I no longer drink, NYE is about trying to have fun while being surrounded by drunk people. Easier said than done. So much so that I stayed home on Monday and was in bed before the clock struck midnight.
This is point where I tell you I’m not an alcoholic. That is what most people assume when I talk about giving up drink because that’s how messed up our view of alcohol is; the only reason someone wouldn’t partake of a tipple is due an addiction.
If your social media feeds look anything like mine, they are full of people talking about the pros and cons of New Year Resolutions. More accurately, they’re full of people either sharing their resolutions or telling us why New Year Resolutions are bullshit. January 1st is just another day after all. What if yesterday was simply a day like any other, but also one where people felt comfortable dedicating time to focus on what they want from life?
I’m not talking about diet culture and the media that told us to indulge ourselves over Christmas now insisting that we immediately shed that weight or risk failing at being our best selves. Diet culture is toxic, weight is not an indicator of health, diets do not work and wellness is used to sell us so many different things that it has become meaningless. That doesn’t mean you can’t exercise or eat differently than you usually do. It does mean we should interrogate the societal structures that lead us to finding our self-worth in how we look or assuming that there is a one size fits all definition of ‘healthy’.
I’ve a terrible track record at sticking to the few resolutions I have set myself over the years. The only one I’ve managed to be consistent with is using up skincare products and make-up before purchasing new ones. Even with that, I’m not religious about it. My recent panic buy of three tubes of the Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet lipstick in the shade Personne Ne Rouge! is proof of that. It is the colour I wore on my wedding day and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find.
In a bid to get better at them, I switched from resolutions to goals a couple of years ago. I reasoned that longer term aims would be better than quick-fix solutions. I didn’t fare much better. I’m a list writer. I love a fancy notebook and a good pen. But the arbitrary date for making plans does not work for everyone. It certainly doesn’t for me. That is not a failing.
This year I’m focusing less on ‘New Year, New Me’ and more on accepting that I am a work in progress. If only the latter came with a catchy slogan!