I’ve never been much for New Year’s resolutions. Honestly, if something is worth doing, why wait until January?
Still, it’s hard to avoid the “what’s your new year’s resolution” conversation this time of year. And, taking time to evaluate my life’s trajectory is healthy. So, I’ll play.
Judging from television commercials and web ads, losing weight and/or getting in shape is at the top of many people’s lists. Who couldn’t benefit from a few new eating and exercise habits? But, like so many others, my tendency to overeat and skip the daily exercise regimen is usually due to incessant issues of stress and lack of time.
I’ve often looked to women I emulated for inspiration. What if I could somehow morph into a combination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and Martha Stewart: hardworking, industrious, creative? What if I could actually make and do all the pins on my Pinterest account?
Don’t we all just want to be so much more productive?
My Grandmother was a working mother who cared for her parents as a young mother. She was up before dawn most days to milk the family goat. The milk was in the separator by the time her daughters woke for breakfast. When I was young, she was running her own business. No longer caring for her parents, she would often care for me when I was sick, so my own working mother did not have to take time off.
It’s easy to look at the results of these women’s lives and think I am missing something. Fact is, I am. I am missing the reality, they are human, just as I am.
I see the highlights of others’ lives on the glossy pages of a magazine, through a rose-colored lens of warm memories, or on a Facebook timeline. But I miss the moments of stress and fatigue—the feelings of failure that everyone experiences, but so many of us hide.
So, a few years ago, I decided to make reducing stress and making more time for myself my goal for the year. I decided to allow myself to be human.
I’ve quit beating myself up for not keeping up with Martha Stewart— or my Grandmother.
Do I emulate her? Absolutely. Can I keep up? Doubtful. And so I ignore cobwebs until I have time to dust. Or funds to hire a cleaning service.
I leave a little early in the morning to avoid the morning carpool congestion at my kids’ schools. They don’t enjoy getting out of bed five minutes early; it’s their gift to me.
Sometimes I allow myself to hibernate, rather than face the cold for a morning run. And sometimes I walk instead of run. Sometimes I stop for the day before I’ve gotten through the to-do list. Sometimes it’s pajama day. And I add a little Kahlua to my coffee.
I’ll admit, I haven’t lost as much weight as I’d like to, and there are more than a few items on my bucket list that I need to get to. But now that the pressure is off, I enjoy the process more.
It’s the best diet I’ve ever been on.