Hope everyone had a great holiday! As stated in the subject line, I decided not to do any resolutions for 2012. Don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t mean I’m taking the year off. I still have deadlines, appearances, and plenty of other things to keep me busy, but I want to reset how I go about approaching those.
Take losing weight. One of my hopes is to shave off some of the extra jiggle that found its way onto me, and I’ll do it by eating healthier and moving around more (my couch and I spent a lot of the holidays together, heh). But I’m not going to berate myself during this process, and here’s why. Through middle school and high school, I was bulimic. (Side note: Bulimia is a great way to ruin your health and slow your metabolism. It is, however, a lousy way to actually lose weight, as I learned while in rehab for it). Treatment got me over the binging-and-purging aspect of my eating disorder, but I still had a lot of the mentality. In essence, I continually thought I’d be happier if I was a size smaller. Didn’t matter if I reached that goal size, either. Then the next smaller size was the real doorway to happiness. So no matter what size I was, the nirvana of body image contentment was always out of reach.
It took all of my twenties and a good amount of my thirties to get over this mentality. Now my self-esteem isn’t held hostage to a number on a clothing label. I’ve learned think in terms of healthy or unhealthy regarding my weight, and I’ve also learned not to despise myself if I drift into the latter. Instead, I try to work back toward the former with mental encouragement instead of angry inner berating, which was what I used to do when the scale would slide up instead of down.
I’m slowly learning that same lesson with writing, by the way. When I started out, all I wanted to do was finish a book. That, I was convinced, would be enough for me. And when it happened, it was great, but as soon as I typed “the end” I realized the inner validation I’d been looking for wasn’t there. I thought I’d find it by having a professional tell me it was a good book, so signing with an agent became my new quest. Countless revisions and queries later, I did. Then I thought it would be enough if the book sold. When that happened, I told myself what would really make me feel secure was if the book did okay. After it hit the extended bestseller lists, I was thrilled, but right behind that was doubt. Maybe my first book was just a fluke. Okay, if the second one did well, then I’d finally feel secure about my writing…
I don’t think I need to go on for you to see the trend. Years later, I’m awed and humbled by what’s happened with my career, but self-doubt is still only a mood swing away. I’m beginning to realize it always will be, no matter if my future books do even better than my previous ones. Just like with clothing size, I’d thought there was a publishing milestone that would ease my insecurities if I could only reach it, but it doesn’t exist. Instead, the real trick is learning to be satisfied with how things are instead of seeking what’s eternally around the corner. Emotionally speaking, that’s the same as chasing my tail, and everyone knows that if you spin around in circles long enough, you won’t like how you feel.
That’s why no resolutions for me this year. I have the tendency to turn those into barricades that hinder me from truly being happy today, and since today is how each of us live our lives (until someone invents a time machine that can transport us into the future!) today is all I have. So instead of resolutions, I have hopes for 2012. I hope I’ll write good books that people will enjoy. I hope I’ll be a better wife, family member, and friend. I hope I’ll get back to a healthier way of eating and exercising. I hope I’ll get angry less and learn to forgive more, and in the meantime, I hope I’ll be able to enjoy today. I hope that you’ll be able to enjoy it, too :).