I never stick to my resolutions. Honestly, never. Not a single one in my adult life. Despite knowing this, I eagerly create a long list of resolutions every single January—legitimately motivated and excited by the prospect of self-improvement. I'm not exactly sure why, but within weeks (days) I always convince myself it's perfectly okay to give up. It's not really my fault, I say. I was born lacking the requisite steadfastness and willpower. (Truly, I was.)
I'm not sure if this makes me pathetic, rebellious, or just plain normal. Either way, it's the same story year after year. Diets canceled, dress sizes unchanged, good deeds incomplete, bad habits continued. And up until now I haven't really cared or apologized for any of it.
But this year is different. It has to be. This is the year I turn 40—the age I've been subconsciously saving all my resolutions for—the one that really matters. In my head, this age carries so much responsibility and promise. In the most exhausting way, I will not—cannot—quit anything this year. Amazing or unsettling, failure isn't an option. And it's stressful as shit.
Part of this stress stems from one (particularly influential) childhood memory:
It was 1984. I was 9-years-old and at a sleepover with a group of girls—my first real girlfriends. It was late and (after playing Truth or Dare and Light-as-a-Feather-Stiff-as-a-Board) we started talking about the future. As in, the VERY VERY FAR AWAY FUTURE. We fantasized about where we would be living, what our jobs might be, and—most importantly—who we would marry. Our idea of the future was thrilling and, although I don't recall exact details, I know the conversation was too exciting to sleep.
Our young minds found the concept of living in a new century completely unfathomable. So we sat up in our sleeping bags, doing math out loud in the dark. We calculated what year we would graduate from high school, how many years we'd date our boyfriends, and what year we would travel to Paris or New York. Then we figured out our future ages: How old would we be in 1999? 2010? And 2015?
In 2015 we would be 40. I remember our reactions like it was yesterday. Forty was completely beyond our grasp. Forty was old and EVERYTHING—all our dreams—would be accomplished by then. The year 2015 was the furthest we reached into the future. There was nothing more to say that night, and I'm pretty sure we fell asleep shortly after that.
So here we are. I'll be 40 in May. Which means that I'm living into—and beyond—a time that my younger self couldn't comprehend. And even though I've had 39 birthdays leading up to this one, I still feel distinctly immature, that 40 is STILL beyond me. Not because I can't imagine it, or that I haven't lived the life I dreamed of, but because I am. And that's scary to me.
My husband, my children, this home and career; they are all so real and present. And I'm responsible for all of them. Which means I need to GROW UP even more than I already have—to be that person who actually commits to things, and is—dare I say—a healthy, happy role model. Coming from a person who can't even stick to one resolution, it really is stressful as shit. But I knew it was coming, so this year I'm going to count my blessings and, for the first time ever, stick to my resolutions. Luckily the list isn't that long.