You can be anything you want to be. These must have been words I heard often growing up because, back then, the possibilities seemed endless. And it still comes as a shock that physically I can’t do anything I want. I have to remind myself that I can’t compete on The Amazing Race or be America’s Next Top Model. Not only is America not ready for lots of 45-year-old exposed flesh, but I’m thinking I might have a little trouble with the catwalk. Fortunately, I settled on writing. It’s one of the few things I can actually still do with any measure of competence. Some people might call that lucky. I call it meant to be.
So, once again the new year is upon us. As many of you know, I love this holiday. I have my list of resolutions ready to go well before the first champagne bottle pops. And I’m not talking about some last minute thing. These resolutions aren’t done mentally as the ball begins to drop. They are carefully considered, written-down plans for the future me. A new me. Me, only better.
Sure, a lot of resolutions have been listed a time or two before. There are the usual about eating right and exercising. I really do want to meditate daily. (And no, the ten minutes spent zoning out on the couch thinking, “I really should get up” don’t count.) Plus, there’s weight to lose. Gee, where have you heard that before?
But hey! At least I’m putting it out there! I’m making myself accountable to my blog readers. I mean, how many times can I write about losing weight before someone comments, “Oh for chrissakes, just do it already!” I mean, enough is enough. It’s embarrassing.
This year, I’m finally taking my writing teacher’s advice and checking out future me.org . It’s right up my alley. Want to be held accountable more often than once a year? Write yourself any number of letters that you’ll never see again until the date you’ve chosen. These letters are great reminders of the things you wanted for yourself back when you were feeling motivated at the beginning of the year, i.e. now. Plus, as I’ve preached before — there is power in writing these things down. Really. Don’t knock it until you try it. One of my planned letters, due to come back to me in February, will simply say, Are you writing every day? Because I really should be. And meditating. And exercising. And eating right. I realize that’s an awful lot of shoulds. I should probably work on that, too.
The point is, it’s never too late to reinvent yourself. And don’t worry if your list looks like mine, with lots of repeats. I’m all about the try try again, clean slates and do-overs. I think that’s why the holiday appeals to me so much. Besides, even if you don’t get it right the first time, you really will make progress. Take my sweet tooth, for example. I’ve fallen off the wagon plenty of times, but this year I dusted myself off and climbed back on a lot quicker. I was just sick of eating holiday junk. I usually give myself until the beginning of January. But look, it’s December 28th and I’m writing this with carrots and hummus at my desk. Progress. Celebrate the small victories. Maybe in a few more years, I’ll be one of those people that sneak kale chips into the movie theater instead of buying overpriced, greasy snacks. For now at least, I order my popcorn without the butter. I’m getting there.
As you’re thinking about the new you, remember — some old dreams are better left unvisited. Or revisited for amusement’s sake only. But some could be important. Particularly, if they keep coming back up. Is there something you wanted to be that you’re not? Is there some way you can incorporate this into the current version of yourself? It doesn’t have to be huge, just some small way. And you know, it’s okay if you don’t succeed on the first go around. After all, you’re a work in progress.