When the New Year began I was late to the party. I didn’t have a single resolution or intention written for self-development and I felt delinquent. Low key, for complete transparency, like a failure. What kind of way was that to usher in a new decade and how could I begin the new year without a plan?
It’s the sort of thing you think about for days … even weeks— the start of a new year — but for some reason I couldn’t land on anything meaningful.
I spent the final weeks of 2019 in Cabo. An annual trip I so look forward to. Even still, like most of us, happy events produce a lot of anxiety, and I facilitate between “having a really great time” and being “stressed the fuck out”.
Flat, I couldn’t muster up any New Year goals. Not with journals, a new planner or a couple of great books. The Sea of Cortez failed to provide the inspiration I needed, and by the second week, I decided to chuck any idea of creating a New Year plan and simply enjoyed myself. Except, I couldn’t enjoy myself because I didn’t have a plan.
We are wired to push and push and work and work. If we’re not working on a plan, it feels like we’re not being productive. This especially rings true if you come from a family of workaholics … like I do.
When we were kids, we looked forward to the weekends. Except, we attended church on Saturdays so Saturday morning cartoons. was out. We learned to appreciate that the weekends were a time to enjoy just hanging out at my grandmother’s house. All of us together. Only not relaxing.
My grandmother kept foster children and there were just too many people to clean behind. Chores. Ironing and folding clothes mostly. And dreaded kitchen duty. No matter what, the damn kitchen never stayed clean.
We worked. Even on Sundays. Try and sleep in on a Sunday and Gramps came in the room hollering “ya’ll better get up”. If we asked why he’d say “Just start moving around and let me hear your feet touch the floor. Ain’t nobody staying in bed all day”. We weren’t allowed to stay in the bed too much past the break of dawn (sigh).
After chores, we’d go outside and play, and grandpa would holler behind us “ya’ll clean up that backyard while you’re out there”.
Playing just for play sake was taboo. We had to sneak and do that shit.
My grandparents passed on what they knew. They were farmers from Michigan who moved west for a better life and the “pick crops till your hands bleed” ethic moved with them. They never relaxed. Hell, they didn’t know how. Relaxation is cultivated. (Well, first it’s respected, then it’s cultivated). Unfortunately, I grew up in a family that hardly respected sleep. Let alone relaxation. My grandparents fell asleep sitting up. I never saw them relaxing (unless they relaxed when they ate).
I remember a time I went to visit my dad. As I drove up his driveway, I caught him piddling around in the yard. It sticks out in my mind because it was football season and the playoffs were in full swing. So I asked him “Daddy why aren’t you inside watching the game?”
He looked at me, shook his head and replied “why would I take off work to watch somebody else work?”.
I had nothing.
Even now, I grin wide because that was daddy. Always working.
And, if I’m honest, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
I have absolutely no idea how to appreciate relaxation. Or how to enjoy life simply for the joy it brings. Not unless of course there is a purpose attached.
So when 2019 closed, minus a purpose centered plan for the new decade, I panicked. By January 2, still nothing. Not even a “word” for the year.
I decide my goal for now is drinking 50 oz of water a day. That’s it. That’s my resolution and intention for 2020. And until I can master that with consistency, I’m not giving myself any additional stuff to work on.
I mean really, if I can’t figure out how to drink a healthy amount of water every day, my plate is full. Of course I’m joking, but I’m just serious.
It’s the 8th of January and I’m on my second consecutive day of drinking my 50 oz!
Strangely, this feels good. Just taking it easy. I give myself permission to not have it all figured out today. Not quite relaxation, but it’s a start.
I give myself permission to not have a working plan in place just yet. To let myself focus on one goal instead of a mountain of them.
Society pushes self empowerment and self enlightenment and manifestation. Everyone’s all about it. But where is the GRACE? Y’all probably have your lists and goals and words all planned out. I get it. I’m defiantly starting slow this year. And the minute you begin to fall short, instead of getting down about it, find some grace. And slather it all over.