By Sam Wilson-Späth
It’s time to put a stop to the tyranny of reinvention that accompanies the start of each new rotation of the earth around the sun. Yes, change is good, but sometimes, the best New Year resolution is just to be who you’re comfortable being. Your good old authentic self.
Is there any January media headline more pervasive, more manipulative, more patronising than “New Year, New You!”?
I don’t think so.
The only people in the world for whom this phrase is appropriate are the much-touted New Year’s babies. They are, quite literally, just out of the box. The rest of us? Not so much.
I’m a 42-year-old mother of teenagers. Frankly, I resent the implication that I’ve done such a crap job of being me, so consistently, that I need to gird my ovaries and start afresh year upon year upon year. Who am I, Sisyphus? Why do I need to be punished?
Sure, there are bits of me I’ve let slide, and bits of me that I need to work on. And I do, throughout the years, with varying degrees of success. That process, as I understand it, is called LIFE. And I like that my life is a journey and not the media hamster wheel of a single year.
I don’t want to be manipulated into prostrating myself before the Epitome of Perfection every year, buying into the idea that a list of “10 ways to a new you! will save me from myself.
And the advice in those articles? Even the editors of those magazines don’t believe in the efficacy of these “Top Tips”. If they did, they wouldn’t have to run the same ones year after mind-numbing year, and definitely wouldn’t dedicate so much December ink to “Indulging yourself”.
This is not a bah humbug column. I really believe in trying to live a healthy, authentic life. But this stop-start Groundhog Day approach does nothing except remind me that I hate magazines.
That also doesn’t mean that the New Year isn’t a good time to springboard into or reload healthier habits. The festive break usually means that you have more reserves than you did during the “running-on-empty” end of the year. So you have the mental space to be more present, to cook more healthily, get more exercise in, etc.
But it’s also time to celebrate the progress you’ve made. In the last few years, I have made big changes in my life – going out less, spending more time with my family, focusing on the interesting bits of my work and more time de-stressing with nature rather than Chenin Blanc.
I am really proud of these changes, and while I’m still full of January energy, I am taking time out to be proud of them and grateful for the differences they have made to my quality of life. And the areas where I haven’t made the strides I want to yet? This may be weird, but I’m also kind of proud of the way I face my mistakes. I know my stumbling blocks and will keep trying to figure out how not to let them trip me up.
I don’t think I need a New Me this January, thanks. I really like the old me. And you know what? I am pretty sure most of this is true for you too. So put the mag down, don’t click on the link-bait, lose the guilt and pat yourself on the back for living the best life you can.