My New Year’s Resolution: Screw That

newyear'speg

I sat down today to list the many ways in which I stink.

This annual cataloging of faults (with accompanying promises to do better) is a practice better known as making New Year’s resolutions.

Coming up with raw material was not the problem.  Au contraire, my pen flew across the paper.  Rereading the list, I realized with a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach that there was nothing new here.  All of my resolutions were old friends (by which I mean the kind of friends who only hear from me once a year.)

Resolved: broken.  Resolved: broken.  Resolved: broken.   Do we see a pattern here?  Despair rose within me at the reminder of how often I have tried and failed.  That despair threatened to swamp me.

As I looked at the list I realized that although it was written in my hand, there was a ghost author at work: societal expectation.  Something shifted in my brain.  For the first time I felt the stirring of a new response  -  anger.

Who says?  Who says my worth is measured by success in these arbitrary arenas?  Does a faceless, nameless THEM get to decide what is important for ME?

Screw that.

Get Organized.  Bills, bank statements, investment reports…the paper residue of the business side of life litters my home.   As part of last year’s resolution to get organized I bought one of those scanners that comes with a filing program.  I even tried it a couple of times, but it baffles me.  It’s like reinventing the wheel every time I use the thing.  So I gave up.   My paper molehills have become mountains piled around the dusty scanner, silently mocking me with the reminder that my attempt at clutter busting merely added the requirement to sort and scan to the old duties of file or toss.

Screw that.

I’m going back to my old system.  I will stuff everything in a file until I get around to going through it on that magical, mythical day – someday.  Out of sight, out of mind.

Get In Shape.  I have been various degrees of fat for most of my life.  I may have actually been fat for my ENTIRE life, but I didn’t realize it until I was a toddler.  That’s when it became clear to all that the legs I was toddling about on were chubbier than the average.

With few stops along the way, I have been in the process of gaining or losing weight for that entire time.  My feeling of self-worth rises and falls inversely to the scale’s readings.

Screw that.

No more feast or famine.  No more skipping the class reunion when on the high end of the continuum, no more smug self-congratulation when squeezed into my skinny jeans.  I will work-out regularly because I want to keep my body strong and I will go for walks because I LIKE to walk.  I will never be able to open bottles with my butt-cheeks, and I’m OK with that.

I’m not abandoning good health, I’m just admitting that “I yam what I yam.”

Improve My Mind.   I know I should like Ernest Hemingway because my 9th grade English teacher, Mrs. Nixon, told me so.   Mark Twain, Thomas Hardy, Dumas and the collected works of Shakespeare stare down at me disapprovingly from the wall of bookcases in my living room whenever I sit down to watch Toddlers & Tiaras.

Screw that.

With apologies to Mrs. Nixon, I don’t LIKE Hemingway.  But I do like Kurt Vonnegut and Charles Dickens, George Orwell and Jane Austin.  I will continue to read the authors I like when I want to.  And if I choose, instead, to spend my time marveling at how little fabric is deemed necessary to cover the modern pop star, as revealed by US Weekly, that’s OK too.

Write A Book.   You can’t be a writer unless you get published by someone willing to pay you for the privilege.   The little column I write every couple of months for the local paper, the blog that I labor over so diligently – these are merely the self-indulgent scribblings of a wanna-be.  That’s what I’ve always thought, deep down in my soul.

Screw that.

I’m not saying I won’t write that book someday – chances are good that I WILL.  Even without seeing my name on the New York Time’s bestseller list, though, I am proud of what I write.  And I am eternally grateful that anybody else wants to read it.

Don’t get me wrong.  By dumping the usual failure-list I am not giving up on the process of crafting a better version of myself.   I’m just not going to beat myself up about it quite so much.  To that end, here’s my new and improved New Year’s resolution.  It’s a line from The Desiderata:

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.  You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars: you have a right to be here. 

What’s your resolution?

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R-A-M-B-L-I-N-G-S, Ram...Blin!
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96 Responses to My New Year’s Resolution: Screw That

  1. I’m with you! I resolved to remain unresolved!

  2. [standing up and giving you a fist-pump] yesss!! Screw that! I am totally behind you on this one, Peg. Why should I care if I can open up bottles with my buttchecks?

    I think the main thing I will do this year is not care what others think of me. It’s my life and I have to live it so if you don’t like it, too bad. (I had that resolution last year and I actually succeeded for once)

    Love that quote at the end. Happy New Year to you Peg!

  3. Ah, yes, unrealistic expectations are at the heart of modern day despair. F that.
    BTW, when did opening a bottle with your butt cheeks become a thing??
    Happy New Year – we love you just the way you are (to quote Billy Joel)!

  4. I never make resolutions. Why should I have to wait until January if I want to work on something?

    There is no way I’d drink from a bottle someone opened with their butt cheeks.

  5. go Peg go–love your anti-resolutions–come to my New Year’s Eve Party and spout them again!

  6. Melissa says:

    Cheers to Screw That! My only resolutions for the upcoming year involve finding more happiness and comfort in the blessings I already have, and moving in a creative direction (which will hopefully result in removing these butt cheeks from the cubicle farm!). Happy New Year!

  7. lisaspiral says:

    Congratulations on dumping the failure list. No one ever succeeds at a long term goal involving “doing what I hate and suck at”. Go anti-resolutions!

  8. Elyse says:

    I’m with you Peg! I’m disorganized, overweight and I HATE HEMMINGWAY (a sexist asshole if ever there was one). I could be miserable trying to change what it took me nearly 57 years to perfect or I can just be myself, flaws and all. I’m going with flaws. Except for Hemmingway — I consider avoiding his books to be a sign of my (and your) excellent taste in writing. And we’ll get there, Peg. There is a slot on the NYTimes bestseller list for both of us. Once we get organized enough to write those damn books that is.

    • pegoleg says:

      I’m sure when the New York Times becomes aware they could have a 2-for-1 Best Seller deal with us, they’ll be beating a path to our doors, Elyse. Once we write those books, that is.

      Happy New Year!

  9. susielindau says:

    Acceptance of ourselves as we are, should be considered a virtue. I think that is harder than attaining any goal.

    I am typing this while on a treadmill. I want to get in shape again for my health. If I lose couple of pounds along the way, great!

    Sending you the happiest of New Years. I have to type fast since its set on interval so it goes into high speed at any time….YAAAAAAAAAAAAA……..

  10. I resolve to not resolve.

  11. suhaildhanji says:

    Really great way of putting what everyone thinks! But then again everyone will still (myself included) continue making our resolutions anyway! :P

  12. You’ve inspired me Peg, I resolve to say “screw that!” more often. Happy New Year to you!

  13. momshieb says:

    “Screw That”!!!! Count me in!!
    My only resolution is to try to appreciate myself a little this year, and stop trying to change constantly.
    I think we ALL rock, how bout that?

  14. sarah9188 says:

    I was cheering with you all along the way. This post is perfection. I may frame it so when I start feeling chappy about myself because I don’t measure up to others’ expectations, I can be like, “Screw that!” and just be the best me I can be.

  15. rachelocal says:

    My resolution last year was more of an angry statement to the universe: suck it. This year I’m being more positive. And like you, I’m being gentle with myself. Life is too good to be stressed out over things like chubby thighs and piles of paper.

    Happy New Year, Peg!

    • pegoleg says:

      I saw your post, Rache. Great reminder to concentrate on what’s really important, like helping others, instead of our own, petty hangups.

      Happy New Year to you!

  16. I’m digging this, Peg. I gave up on resolutions a while ago because I invariably broke them sometime on New Year’s Day. Becoming a better version of oneself in general is quite sufficient for me, not as a resolution for January 1st but all the time. However, I have to admit that I do like Hemingway. Please don’t hate me.

  17. Dana says:

    EFF YES!! My “resolutions” this year have been flipped upside down, courtesy of a highly recommended book called “The Desire Map” by Danielle LaPorte. She suggests flipping the traditional goal-setting model on its head, focusing instead on how you want to FEEL first, and then doing things that help you feel that way. So in 2014, I want to feel: radiant, centered, magical, abundant, and free. I’ll do things to help me feel like that, and everything else that “they” say I should do? Screw it! :)

    • pegoleg says:

      I LOVE your list of feelings for 2014. That’s what I need to do – focus on who I want to be and how I want to feel, instead of all the ways I fall short. Screw it, indeed, Dana!

      • Dana says:

        I SERIOUSLY recommend The Desire Map book. It’s so awesome. Even if you don’t read it, though, think of 3 to 5 core feelings that you want to feel moving forward into 2014. And then think of things you can do in your home, career, relationships, body, spirituality, etc. to help you feel that way/those ways. (So, for example, instead of setting the painfully stereotypical “Lose 10 lbs” resolution, I can say, “I want to feel radiant, and one of the ways that I can feel this way is to eat clean, fresh food”.) This prevents us from reaching for things that don’t actually make us feel good in the end– like earning a certain paycheque but hating life otherwise, or losing 4 dress sizes only to discover that we still aren’t happy. Desire Mapping for the win! :)

  18. MELewis says:

    No resolutions just renewing my vows. To myself. To be happy, healthy, fulfilled….and a tiny bit funny.

  19. I can’t open bottles with my butt cheeks either but I’m learning how to clap with them. It takes a lot of practice but that is my resolution for 2014. I will clap with them cheeks before 2014 is over, damn it!! You have just inspired me so much, Peg. Feliz Año Nuevo, my friend. Thank you for entertaining me this year & the many more to come – I am sure. :)

  20. Fresh Ginger says:

    I’m with you. Screw that, Peg! I think this is a resolution I can stick to in 2014. Maybe, forever.

  21. speaker7 says:

    I’m with you on the “dieting stuff.” I resolve to eat and also be active because that is what humans do.

  22. mistyslaws says:

    Very wise words, my friend. Screw that has pretty much always been my life’s motto. To a happier and healthier New Year, Peg. To being the best we can be, and taking it easy on ourselves otherwise. Cheers!

  23. List of X says:

    I resolved not to make any resolutions and I kept this resolution. I do some project management at work and that had taught me that 95% of the time the actual project won’t happen exactly when and how it was planned once the real life interferes. So I see no reason in doing the same pointless exercise with my life for free.

  24. cat9984 says:

    sounds like you’ve just improved the most important thing – your feeling of self-worth – congratulations!

    • pegoleg says:

      Usually I need actual accomplishments to increase my feeling of self-worth, but those are too much work so I’m resolving to feel good for no good reason!

  25. Ally Bean says:

    When faced with the ridiculousness of new year’s resolutions, I’ve always said: “whatever.” But I can see now that “screw it” is a more reasonable response, more empowering and more to the point. Thanks for the guidance. ;-)

  26. Way to go Peg! After I graduated from college (English major forced to read long, long novels I didn’t like), I decided I wasn’t going to keep reading a book that I don’t like by page 25. That’s a resolution I can stick with.

    Wishing you a happy, resolution free New Year!

  27. I am a child of the universe and I WILL be gentle on myself. I’m not making New Year’s resolutions – I’m making New Year’s I’ll Tries. 2013 was a roller coaster for me and I’m tired. You reminded me of this fact – we whip ourselves a lot and remind ourselves of how we failed way too often. We’ve got to stop that! Happy New Year, Peg!

    • pegoleg says:

      “New Year’s I’ll Tries” – perfect! We don’t want to totally give up, we just need to cut ourselves a little bit of slack.

      Here’s hoping 2014 is better, Jean!

      • No kidding. Already I feel the pressure of having to make some changes. Ugh. I spent at least an hour trying to add a different theme to my blog. Damn, that’s an hour I’ll never get back. I’m already behind!!

        • pegoleg says:

          I love the new theme and header picture! I can’t even figure out how to change my existing blog. I want to change stuff in the right hand column but lack the knowledge to do so, or the time and energy to figure it out. Sigh.

  28. Amen, sister! Whether I like it or not, 2014 is going to be a year of change for me. Think I’ll check out the Desire Map book Dana mentioned earlier because it’s time to consider other means of employment and I’m not sure what I want that to be … yet.
    Happiest of New Years to all the family!

    • pegoleg says:

      Great idea! Isn’t it a hoot, now that we’re over 50, to try to figure out what we want to be when we grow up?

      Hope 2014 is happy, healthy and blessed for all of our family, Tar.

  29. I admire your ability to say “screw that!”. I think I resolve to say, “screw that” to more things. I’m pretty sure I can keep that resolution.

    • pegoleg says:

      I can’t actually say that in real life because I’m too much of a lady. I feel super-bad and street when I use any cussing or vulgarity on the blog – that’s how much of a dull, middle-aged matron I am.

  30. Al says:

    RESOLVED: I will try to erase the image of someone opening a bottle with their butt cheeks if it takes me all of 2014!

  31. Thank you Peg, thank you for saying what so many of us think and are keeping behind lips painted with toxic colors of MAC. Thank you for defining the boundaries of social nice! You are right, screw that! My butt doesn’t fit into skinny jeans, even if they are made by Lane Bryant; in fact Lane Bryant should stop making skinny jeans if we shop there we shouldn’t buy skinny jeans. Organized? I will do that on April 9, when I have to do it. I will always love reading, what I want to read, thanks.

    Happy New Year and I will continue to come here for your wonderful writing and if you get around to writing a book, I promise I will buy it.

  32. Thank you! I don’t make NY resolutions anymore but I still reflect on all the failures of the past year with dismay. I like what you did much better:D

  33. Pleun says:

    The only resolution I’ve been making for the last oh 20 years or so, is to not make resolutions. So far it has worked well! Have a great 2014 without resolutions!

  34. Pingback: The nurturer, the warrior and the blogger | The Monster in Your Closet

  35. muddledmom says:

    I love the quote at the end. There are certainly things I want to change, but they aren’t going to change the universe and they didn’t start because I flipped the calendar over.

    • pegoleg says:

      Good point. Why should flipping over the calendar be reason for change? I guess there’s something about a “fresh start” that encourages most of us to make needed changes.

  36. Jackie says:

    First of all, Peg, I sometimes feel like not commenting because I know what a good replier you are and I feel bad that you already have so many. Then I get all conflicted inside because I’m feeling bad for you having so many comments which is basically like trying to feel your pain for being so popular.

    At any rate, I dropped in to say I love The Desiderata. A friend’s mother got it for me when I graduated and it’s just so lovely.

    That being said, you know what a sucker I am for resolutions and if you’d like to try a 30 Day Challenge this year, I’ll be pumping them out all year long ;)

    • pegoleg says:

      You are truly an inspiration with your self-challenges. I’m feeling burnt out on my weight loss challenge that yielded great results, but I haven’t maintained the loss. I’m not sure what I’ll do about it, but a 30 day challenge might be just the thing.

      I always love your comments, Jackie! They’re fresh and quirky just like you, darlin’.

  37. No resolutions. I’ve learned not to plan. And don’t sell yourself short. The world of publishing has changed. Traditional publishing houses have dwindled. Virtual ones have emerged. Self-publishing is gaining credence as “real” publishing. Write that book you have in you. :)

  38. arkansasrose says:

    Love this! I have a blog about New Year’s. I ended it by saying my New Year’s resolution is: “Not to be so neurotic” I think I broke that 5 minutes after making it.

  39. I just found you. And obviously it was so I could tell you, “You MUST write a book. You’re hilarious.”

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