I’m not much of one for New Year’s Resolutions. First of all, I’m a little late on the uptake to be posting about my resolutions, seeing as the date is what it is; I almost decided to resolve to post twice every week, but I’ve clearly failed at that already.
Making a New Year’s Resolution is like a curse for me; it’s practically a guarantee that whatever I set out to accomplish, I most certainly will not.
Exhibit A) Around the age of nine I resolved to stop biting my fingernails. I believe it wasn’t until I was around 16 that I actually ceased the nasty habit, and it was only because I watched some horrifying documentary about all the disease ridden bacterial crap that accumulates under our nails and how it would lead me to a most certain death by dysentery.
Exhibit B) One year I was determined to start eating healthy and I set the standard “lose 5 pounds” goal. But someone had given me a gift certificate to The Cheesecake Lady for Christmas, and, well, it needed to be redeemed… Two days and a cheesecake in my belly later, I decided New Year’s Resolutions were for chumps.
So I decided to spare myself the inevitable platform for failure this year and not declare any resolutions at all. I still went around asking my friends what their resolutions would be, but when questioned about my own I would proudly declare that Kaleena doesn’t do resolutions. It’s just not her style.
All the while, though, there has been a certain quote bouncing around my head and without even realizing it, sometimes my lips have silently mouthed the words as a mantra.
When new engagement announcements appear in my news feed (gag); when I hear of old classmates starting successful businesses (whatever); when my friends are happily married and planning their second baby (moan); each time I’d find out about someone else’s success and happiness, that green monster, Envy, would come creeping up behind me like a stalker in a Lifetime movie, cheesy music and all. I’d start to wonder why my life wasn’t turning out like everyone else’s. Shouldn’t I be living like that, too? The doubts about myself and my life would seep into my heart and I would spiral into a bout of unhappiness and dissatisfaction.
But then the words suddenly came to my rescue:
“Comparison is the thief of joy”
I had come across this quote frequently, of course, but it never really stuck with me. It always tended to feel a bit too abstract for some reason. And then, one day out of nowhere, as I bitterly eyed the loving couple happily picking out their produce at Trader Joes, the words popped out of my lips in a whisper and it suddenly made sense. I guess my subconscious couldn’t take my shenanigans anymore and was forcing upon me the awareness that sizing my life up to others’ was getting me nowhere.
Ever since my brief moment of clarity, I’ve relied on that quote to carry me through the times of bitterness and jealousy. Just because many of the people around me are living life in a certain way does not mean there is something wrong with me for not following that path. So what if I’m not married or having children or climbing my way up the corporate ladder and instead I’m running off to Asia indefinitely?
I need to find what truly makes me happy, no matter how unconventional, and pursue it without regard to the common formula of the “American Dream”. Even if I wind up choosing to live in a tree in the jungle while researching the mating habits of the dung beetle and people say, “Hey, did you hear about how Kaleena turned into some dirty hippy living in the wild digging through piles of animal crap? What a joke.” Well, to them I’ll say poo poo on you, at least I’m living the life I want to.
So, although I have vowed not to make any resolutions, my newfound lease on life has come at a time in which I can kind of lump it in with the series of “new beginnings” being pledged by half the world. I’m not going to call it a New Year’s Resolution because to me that seems to give it an expiration date at the close of the year, but I will admit that for the rest of 2013 and into the future it is a lifestyle choice I am going to strive toward: to be happy with myself and in turn be happy for those around me.
From here on out, my promise to myself is to aim to be satisfied with the choices I make in life and not compare them to anyone else’s. We are all meant to follow different roads; most people hop on the freeway to arrive at their destination as quickly as possible. I seem to have missed that exit, so instead I’m taking the windy, scenic route through the hills–and I think I’m going to enjoy the ride.