New Year’s resolutions are stupid. I never make them, and that way I am never pissed about failing. It’s a general middle-aged life policy I’ve developed: lower your expectations, avoid disappointment. Our 20s and 30s are decades packed with unattainably high standards, hamster-wheel hard work, and voluminous emotional effort. As I’ve hit my mid-40s I’ve realized that there just aren’t that many things in life that are so important we need to get all riled up over them. New Year’s resolutions fall firmly into this category. Here’s why:
- Exercise. If you’re going to work out, you’re going to work out. You should do it in a way you enjoy. I’m never going to run, because I fucking hate running. I did hip-hop cardio for a year, and it was like dancing, so it was fun. I decided to try something new, and now I’m taking PiYo, which is a combination of Pilates and Yoga. I like it, so I go. I don’t go because it’s a resolution. They make fun of me at the gym because I always leave before 10:30, when McDonald’s unfortunately stops selling hash browns.
- Diet. Making resolutions about what you’re going to eat is only going to end up making you feel lousy about yourself. I lost 50 pounds, and it wasn’t because I had a New Year’s resolution, it was because I was fat, and I didn’t feel like being fat anymore. You make that kind of decision no matter what the page says on the calendar, and for reasons that have nothing to do with some arbitrary to-do list.
- Work. Yes, I have work goals. I’m very happy in my job as a writer and editor here at Splice, but it’s a part time job and I need to supplement my income with freelance work. I am not going to make lofty goals about publishing stuff, because (and this is a story for another day), let’s just say I have been very let down in that area of my life, and it was because I allowed myself high expectations. So I’ve lowered my expectations, and can perhaps now safely hope that I won’t be as disappointed in the future as I have been in the past. It’s not a resolution as much as a general life goal to embrace a certain level of mediocrity.
- Hopes and Dreams. It sure isn’t a resolution, but I’m going to be a grown-up now, and it’s about time because after my next birthday, I will be on the 50 side of 40, and there is such a cavernous world of difference between the two sides of 40 that it’s not even funny. Childish fantasies about my career and life are over. I can’t afford to be lofty anymore, and New Year’s resolutions written with swirly script on pretty paper are for eras past.
- What Kind of Person You Are. Why on earth would you allow yourself to feel bad about yourself by “resolving” to “become a better person” in some way? What a bunch of new-age hippy dippy bullshit that is. You are the kind of person you are. Accepting yourself would be a better resolution, if resolutions were a good idea to begin with, than trying to change yourself, which will never work and will just force you further down the rabbit hole of self-disappointment. Who needs that?