New Year’s Resolutions: are you a maker, a breaker, or a faker? Or are you like me and just don’t make them at all?
I have made them. I went through a phase in my later teens when I’d make myself a wonderful little list, which I then proceeded to ignore entirely without guilt or longing. In other words, the whole exercise was entirely meaningless and I quickly decided not to bother.
Since then, I’ve made precisely one resolution: to give blood. That was back sometime between 2007 and 2011 and was something I’d been wanting to do for ages but being very afraid of needles, hadn’t quite dared. So in that case, making a strong resolution to do it actually helped. It was a pretty forgiving resolution; I just had to do it once, sometime that year. And I did. Admittedly the first time can only be described as a failure, since I was so terrified that they refused to take my blood, but after that I asked my mum and sister to come with me and that time I managed to go through with it, and gave blood regularly until a couple of years ago when I started having a tendency towards anaemia (and now that I’ve got ME/CFS they won’t take it just in case it can be transmitted through the blood). The point is that I made this resolution, and I did it, and it was great.
But mostly, no.
In fact, this year I’ve made what I might call an anti-resolution. My expectations of myself have had a huge negative impact all my life so this year I’m trying, very gently, to remove them all.
I’ve dealt with the biggest and worst, at least to an extent, but new expectations are always popping up, and old ones rear their big ugly heads in unexpected ways, not to mention old and familiar ways. I’m also taking care to not judge myself when I do discover these expectation, because expecting myself not to expect things of myself is just another kind of expectation.
The latest one I’ve spotted is in relation to my ME/CFS and my activities. Honestly, not expecting things of yourself is particularly challenging when you’re still adjusting to abilities that are wildly different from the abilities you had just a couple of years ago (12 Things Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Has Done To Me). So, my mum made me an offer: she would do my laundry if I cooked the dinner once a fortnight. This makes a lot of sense because a) I love cooking and don’t get to do it very often, and b) Mum has to cook almost everything so it’s not really a treat to her. My reaction was an instant negative because I felt like it would be ‘cheating’ for me to exchange a boring job for a fun one, even though the swap would benefit her as well as me. My point here is that I expect myself to continue with the boring, less enjoyable jobs, even when there’s a really good solution that means I could do a much more interesting and rewarding job and benefit someone else at the same time, while using no extra energy. This is a hangover from my old ‘I am not allowed to do good things for myself’ rule.
So, I’m going to take my mum up on this offer; I’m going to cook the dinner once a fortnight and not do my washing, and I’m going to enjoy it.
Tl;dr? My word of the year is UNRESOLVED.