Kootenai River in Northern Idaho.
When I was younger I used to make endless lists of resolutions: I would lose weight, discover the secrets of popularity (I’m talking way younger), dress cuter, read classics, think good thoughts, write at least 3 pages a day in my journal, quit nail-biting, get over all my anxieties or phobias, learn 3 languages, walk on water, etc.
Now I like to resolve to gain 30 pounds, stay up late, drink more booze, smoke cigarettes and hang out with hookers.
I’ve never been hugely successful with either approach.
When I was younger it was hard for me to believe that people, or let’s say, I, could change because it was so hard. I saw so many books, article and TV specials about people who made miraculous changes in their lives like getting over a lifetime fear of dogs by talking to a hypnotist for 15 minutes or losing 30 pounds in 3 months by taking a pill. It took me a long time not to be pissed that I never had such instant moments. Or maybe it took me a long time to realize that reality is completely irrelevant in marketing.
I still leave a space for miracles. There are incredible moments of grace, luck, timing, whatever, where things can change in an instant, but I let those be unexpected gifts and expect that change will be a process.
So when I take that time to reflect back on my year, or my life, I can see that there have been all sorts of changes that I would love to go back and tell my 20 year old self about so she wouldn’t waste so much time worrying.
For example, and I’ve written about this before, I had half a lifetime of weight issues. There were years of my life where I couldn’t imagine not worrying about my weight and what I was eating or not eating and how much exercise I would have to do and would my pants fit me tomorrow or the next day.
And I remember there was a distinct moment where I was in my backyard enjoying some sunshine and reading a book called: Nourishing Wisdom, by Marc David, and I *got* it. And things changed solidly from that day forward. But was it instant? By that time I had years of books, counseling, programs and journals under my belt and even after that day there were bumpy moments where I’d find myself standing in front of the cupboard with my arm up to the elbow in a box or bag of something and I’d think: “Oh no, this again?”
Another example is yoga. I kid you not yoga has changed my life. But I’ve been doing it consistently for going on 12 years. It didn’t change me after the first class. And when I say changed my life it’s not like I’m not magically calmer, saner and more youthful. I’m still crazy and anxious. It just doesn’t bother me quite so much.
So here’s to a quietly insane new year. Enjoy!