By Amy Kernan
Are you a resolution maker? I know it sounds ridiculous but I am. Resolution making has been one of my favorite things to do each year (save for a few depressed years,) and whether or not I actually follow through on any of them — well, it doesn’t matter.
It’s the act of writing out what I HOPE to achieve in the New Year. It’s merely a guideline. I’m now to the point where I really don’t bother adding something to the list unless I know I’m absolutely capable of it. (There have been too many years that I’ve put “Marry Paul Rudd” on my list… I think I can finally remove that one what with his wife of over 20 years and two kids existing. They seem happy.) Still, I will throw a few on there to challenge myself.
The very idea that I want to challenge myself in each New Year is such a marked difference in attitude for me after the last 5 years of not making a list because I really thought life was becoming pointless. I was in a very, very dark place. It’s such a blessing that I sit here typing this column about New Year’s resolutions, it truly is. Anyway…
When I was 15 years old, I wrote out the longest list of New Year’s Resolutions; 115 resolutions to be exact. I remember being very thoughtful about it but upon revisiting that list, it really could’ve been paired down to MAYBE 25. (There was an awful lot of repetition and redundancy in 1992 for me.)
Anyway, I was so excited about my list that included such basic gems as “Lose 20lbs” and “Dress better,”
and “Do more to make others like me…” (facepalm), so excited that I’d gotten myself together and made a plan for 1993. So excited that I couldn’t wait to take the list to my best friends and show them my plans to do good and thrive in the coming year. I gave the five- page “Amy Kernan’s GIGANTIC LIST OF NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS FOR 1993 (to be adjusted)” to one of my most trusted pals.
This was a mistake. I named names in my list. I listed things like “I won’t let LeAnn get to me this year,” and “I am going to grow my hair long like Jessica,” and for some reason, the person I trusted took that list and showed it to half of the sophomore class. Hell, maybe even half of the junior class. I can’t be sure!
I was absolutely humiliated. I wasn’t popular to begin with so this list of things I was going to change about myself only made me look even more like an overly sensitive geek. I was thinking that list was going to be my blueprint of a good life and help shape my year the way I’d always wished. It didn’t… at first. I got the list back from another student who somehow got their hands on it and I took it home and cried and cried and cried. Then I read it out loud to myself.
The more I read it, the more I realized that I had nothing to be ashamed of. I mean, MAYBE I should’ve paired it down before I shared it but that aside, there wasn’t one thing on that list that I needed to be embarrassed of. It was written by a chubby but happy young girl who had a smile on her face as she wrote every resolution. It came from a good place.
That’s when I actually drew a line through “Do more to make others like me.”
Fine. 114 resolutions and challenges to go.
Do you know what? I accomplished about 15 of those resolutions in 1993 AND I found a best friend who I could trust implicitly and still do to this day. I’m also still good friends with the person that shared my massive resolution list. Why? Because she was growing up just like me and what she did really wasn’t like her and she never did something like that to me again. I forgave her… and that was one of my resolutions that year, “forgive people who have hurt my feelings.”
I know people think resolutions are silly, stupid, and/or a waste of time. That’s fine. To each their own. Though for me, they work. My resolutions still make me smile as I write them down. I’m still a chubby and sort of happy gal. I still get that feeling I did back then when I write “Lose 20lbs.” I feel dread but I know I can do it because I’ve done it before.
So here it is- a far more mature take on a resolution list… sort of:
“Amy Kernan’s GIGANTIC LIST OF NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS FOR 2020 (to be adjusted)”
- Lose 20lbs.
- Learn how to manage my money better.
- Quit social smoking (I’m ashamed to admit that I have a real issue with this.)
- Be kinder to the people who work at the gas station near me who always make me late in the morning due to their “shift change.” (I’m admittedly a bear in the morning and they’re just trying to count their drawers so they can go home. We’ve all been there. I need to suck it up.)
- Honor deadlines and write MORE!
- Put grudges and past hurts to bed. “Forgive people who have hurt my feelings.” (I try to do this anyway but the time has come to do this completely.)
- Go to the gym ESPECIALLY when I’m feeling lonely or even mildly depressed.
- Take soda off my personal menu. (I drink far too much Diet Pepsi, folks.)
- Spend less time gaming. (This will be my MAJOR challenge for 2020.)
- Marry Paul Rudd. (Old habits die HARD.)
I hope you have the greatest year of your life in 2020. I hope you find peace and solace and comfort in anything you do. If you make a resolution list, know that you can do it! The only one who has to have faith in you IS you. Happy New Year!