I don’t like New Year’s Eve. I’m admittedly a “half-empty” kind of girl, so the holiday has been more of a big, flashy reminder of what I didn’t finish than a symbol of all the possibilities to come in the new year. I make resolutions on my birthday instead of the New Year. It’s only 30 days away, so it just gives my inner procrastinator a chance to lounge around in all the bad habits I’ll be sure to swear off in my infinite list of self-mandated improvements.
On my birthday I write out a list so long and detailed that even the most disciplined, type A personality would find it difficult to achieve. And then I spend the rest of the year failing to meet most of them and berating myself for my weakness and obvious shortcomings as a wife, mother, and woman. It’s a depleting and exhausting ride and I’m ready to get off.
This year I decided to make my resolutions on New Year’s Eve instead of waiting until the end of January. Why? Because I had odd senses of hope this year instead of dread and shame. It wasn’t a great year in many ways for me and my family, but instead I chose to focus on two simple things: I published a book and kept my children healthy. Then I sat down, ready to scribble out my insane list of all my resolutions. Goals and changes began to rattle through my brain at a machine gun rate. My inner voice considers me infinitely flawed, so it isn’t hard to dig up changes I need to make. But then something happened–I switched it off. The nagging voices stopped and one thought came through, “Let it go.” It was such a simple, pure thought that settled on me like the feeling of a blue sky and crisp air. I could breathe in that thought. I could hold my face up to it and feel it like the warmth of the sun.
So this is my resolution as its three small words encompass everything for me without the feeling of being overwhelmed.
I will let go of the comfortableness of distractions and embrace what is truly going on around me no matter how much it scares me.
I will let go of the shame of my unwashed dishes and cluttered house and embrace the reality that my children will remember how much time I spent with them more than the dust bunnies in the corners.
I will let go of living in the “should haves” of the past and the “need to’s” of the future and embrace the “I am” of the moment.
I will let go of obsessing over making projects perfect and embrace the joy of completion and the wisdom that comes with mistakes.
I will let go of the fear I have of loss and never having again that prod me to hang on to everything. I will embrace the feelings of how light I’ll feel when I’m able to release the clutter. I will let go off the shame I may feel when it doesn’t go as quickly as I want.
I will let go of comparing myself to others and always feeling less than. I will embrace the word “enough” and believe myself to be just that.
I will let go of the labels the schools and doctors put on my children and wash my hands of fretting over the fact that my kids do not fit smoothly into ranks of our education system. Instead, I will embrace all the gifts my children have and embrace the fact that it’s not the sheep who become the leaders—average cannot breed extraordinary.
I will let go of my need to apologize for things I have no control over.
I will let go of the chains of anger and hurt I feel for those who wronged and abused me when I was so vulnerable, for those chains keep me bound to them. I will learn to embrace forgiveness and the freedom that comes with it.
I will let go of the fear that comes with every wrinkle that I’m losing the only asset people thought I had. I will embrace the things inside me and not worry if others see them or not.
I will let go of the guilt I carry for the wrongs I’ve done—real and perceived—decades ago.
I will let go of my fear that I will make a wrong decision that will disappoint others or make me look like a fool. I will embrace the excitement of chance and the possibilities on the other side of that first leap.
I will let go of my hatred I harbor towards my hips and thighs. I will embrace that I am a woman with curves that my husband loves and that my thick thighs are full of ballet and track-trained muscle.
I will let go of the worry and anger over scuffed walls, stained carpets and chipped furniture created by my boys and embrace—truly embrace—that these moments are fleeting and will be missed.
I will let go of the worry that I’m not forcing my children into the adult-worthy schedule of activities that many kids around them have. I will embrace that simply allowing them to be children is the greatest gift I can give them.
I will let go of feeling like a victim and embrace that I’m a survivor.
I will let go of my desire to mirror the lives of others around us who I don’t even know. I will embrace the life that mirrors my soul and all its quirks and uniqueness.
I will let go of the fear that I will never leave my mark on this world and I will embrace the people around me who’s hearts I leave marks on every day.
I will let go of my angst over the dog hair on everything and the holes in the yard and spend more time marveling at the wonder that a species, so different from us, wants nothing more than to love her human pack.
I will let go the heavy weight of all the ugly memories, feelings and fears that I carry so that my arms will be free to embrace life.
I will let go of the security of keeping my feet planted. I will spread my arms and leap, embracing my dreams as I soar.
I will let go.