AS THE SONG GOES: “January, don’t be cold don’t be angry with me…” and January can indeed feel miserable, empty and cold after all the warmth and merrymaking that is Christmas. Ho ho ho can turn to no no no! Why oh why did I eat too much? Drink too much? Spend too much? Party too much? And where’s that radio station when you need it? The one that constantly told us that life was all holly jolly and dreaming of snow and driving home with Chris Rhea and chestnuts roasting and all that! Who could forget the Granny that got run over by a reindeer? Disappeared into the ether and left us with an empty space in our heads in which all sorts of confused thoughts and distortions can take up residence.
Then there is New Years with the promise of renewal and the opportunity to improve ourselves. To rid ourselves of the excess of Christmas, to rid ourselves of the guilt, remorse and regret we may be feeling. Yes! I will get fit, I will eat healthier, I will drink less and meditate more. I will start on Monday. This Monday then suddenly become next Monday. The New Year promises to be so much better than the old one and we welcome this promise with open arms. Anything to shake off our old self and bring on the new and improved me. New Year’s resolutions, that’s the answer! Resolve, the dictionary tells us, is to be determined to do something. So we will strengthen our resolve and be better people.
Sound familiar? Why do we torture ourselves so much? Why do we constantly judge ourselves so harshly? Most of us seem to set ourselves almost impossible tasks; the perfect Christmas, the perfect family, the perfect home, the perfect job, the perfect body, the perfect me. When will it be ok? When will we pass the final exam? What is the final exam? The reality is that there is no exam, no test. Life is not a competition where we have to be better or worse than anyone else. Life is for living and living in such a way that we are true to ourselves, true to our own heart.
So Christmas wasn’t like it is on Walton’s Mountain. The New Year seems the same as the old one. The only bit of Christmas red still hanging about is on the bank statement. The tins of biscuits and chocolates are still with us, just not where we want them to be. This year’s resolutions have joined forces with the discarded ones from last year and seem to have morphed into a judge and jury that ruefully shake its head as an indication that we have failed yet again. Tried and found wanton, guilty as charged, not good enough. How about aspiring to being just that – ‘good enough’?
A wise young man that I know has decided that 2014 is the year to evolve instead of resolve. I like that notion and wish I could take the credit for it but that is his due. Evolve is to develop gradually. It has a feeling of ease about it like stretching and awakening and tuning inwards instead of imposing some external standard. It brings a sense of renewal, of meeting with the opportunities that the New Year will bring our way. Being open to possibility and change. Sounds much more exciting and fun to me.
So can 2014 be your evolutionary year? How would you like to evolve? Take your time; remember evolution is a slow process. Whatever you decide heed the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment”. Have a great good-enough-New-Year!
Bernadette Ryan is a counsellor for Relationships Ireland and Teen Between. Relationships Ireland is a not-for-profit organisation that offers confidential counselling including Separation Support and ‘Parenting When Separated’ Courses. For more information or to book a consultation you can contact 1890 380 380, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.relationshipsireland.com.
Teen Between is a not-for-profit organisation which offers counselling and support for teenagers whose parents have separated. For more information please visitwww.teenbetween.ie