Something happens to me when I’m high on cold meds – T.S. Eliot quotes flit through my consciousness at random. Super normal, right? This morning, on the third day of 2018, the phrase that popped into my mind like one of those ear-worm boy-band songs from the 90’s was: “Not with a bang, but a whimper.” That’s how I’m entering into 2018.
I think we all have visions of ourselves leaping out of bed, bright and early, on January 1st, slipping on our yoga pants and marching virtuously off to the gym. That, more or less, was my plan. Until I came down with The Flu on December 30th, and had to cancel our 3rd attempt at making New Year’s Eve plans (apparently, New Year’s Eve partying was not meant to be).
Instead of striking into this year like a human force of nature, everything is on hold. All the great ideas and plans and lists I’d made for myself to start the New Year off right – pfft! Throwing myself into work like a polar bear plunge? Yeah right.
My body hit the ‘Snooze’ button on all of that.
But you know what? That’s okay. Because…
2017 was a helluva year
If my body tells me I need a little extra time to recuperate from it, all I can do is say “Yep, okay, that makes sense.”
Now, don’t get me wrong – in many ways, 2017 was a pretty good year, at least for me, personally. Last year, my life revolved around one goal – accomplishing my 2017 New Year’s resolution to put my physical well-being first. Yes, I actually stuck with my New Year’s resolution. Which came with some unintended consequences.
It turns out, when you actively put one aspect of your life first, it requires sacrificing a lot of other things. I haven’t made a hat in months, haven’t painted or even gardened much, and at times I’ve felt like my work and relationships were circling the drain. (They weren’t. It just felt that way.) I lost 30 pounds and have muscles for the first time in 5-ish years. Mission accomplished? Yes. But it came with a steep cost in terms of creativity. And pizza. God, I miss pizza.
I missed out on a lot of joyful activity because I simply didn’t have the time to squeeze it in – this big huge PRIORITY of physical health took up all of my energy. To compound the issue, I, like many of us, have been bombarded with the pain, sadness and outrage of my friends – people who have far more capacity than I to continue listening to the news and reacting to it with their whole hearts.
My heart got tired.
I gave up listening to NPR – it became just too damned depressing. I unfollowed news sites. Heck, I unfollowed some of those friends! Toward the end of 2017, I purposefully cocooned myself as much as possible.
In many ways, 2017 was one massive joy-suck.
2018: Lean in to Joy
If 2017 has taught me anything, it’s this: I’m really good at following through if I choose ONE big goal. So for 2018, I chose this resolution: Lean in to joy.
What that means is that I will deliberately notice what makes me feel joyful and explore those avenues. Making time for the creative pursuits I’ve been putting on hold is a start. But also remembering what I’ve loved in the past and bringing those elements back into my life. I don’t know exactly what that will look like, but this year is really about feeling my way forward.
Funny thing – I’m not the only one to have this impulse. My friend and fellow writer Alicia Ostarello sends out an annual Resolutions email where everyone on the list can share their goals for the new year (and compare notes on the previous year). This year, one common theme came through: “Radical self-care.” (Because self-care really does feel “radical” – doesn’t it? Like we have to rebel against every expectation society and ourselves place on us in order to do it?)
I think that 2018 is the year many of us need to recuperate. To take time for ourselves. To lean in to joy. To focus on the positive. To care for ourselves. To take a collective breather, whether or not world events cooperate.
And, for my dear coaching clients, it’s the perfect time to connect with your audiences.
[Note: Any typos or grammatical snafus are the result of being out of my head on cold meds]