"Now is the winter of our discontent [...]"
from Richard III, Act 1, scene 1
I cannot tell you how many times we utter these words in our house, mostly in jest, often to refer to a grumpy teething baby or a whining four year old who wishes for more snow. But sometimes it's not in jest. Eleven days after New Year's Day, we are thick in what I call "the disgruntled season." This is the season when detox tea flies off the shelves of our local food co-op, when the gyms are unusually full of the flabby and depressed, when we find ourselves staring out of windows forlornly and throwing away anything with chocolate in the cupboard only to wonder if it's still edible a few hours later.
Everything conspires to close us inside. The weather has been dismal; the lack of snow here in Maine, particularly on the coast, has been unusual and depressing. Sickness abounds; we were sick from Christmas through New Year weekend with a combination of viruses that refused to allow us to enjoy The Man's week-long break. Everyone I know, it seems, has been touched wtih sickness since mid-December. The weather keeps thawing and freezing; wild fluctuations that seem to mess with our rhythms and internal regulation. In spite of this, my friends and neighbors determine to stick to their lists of semi-impossible New Year's resolutions.
This is the first year I can remember in a long time that I decided, purposefully, to not make a resolution. At all. None. This is the first January in a long time that I have not restricted what I ate (pretending that quinoa was waaaay better than apple fritters or chocolate cake), or suddenly started flossing like a mad dentist, or forced myself to sit in front of a blank page of paper until I wrote something every day. This is the first January that I haven't tried to take a "break" from social media or determined to write more letters or made an impossibly long list of books I determine to read. This is the first January I haven't tried some new craft- lacemaking, candlemaking, needlepoint. This is the first January I haven't had to force myself to stare blankly at The New York Times/Atlantic/New Yorker/Washington Post/The Guardian, etc, websites every day in an effort to better inform myself and sound clever in social gatherings.
It feels amazing.
But here's the funny thing. I find myself embarking on some of these things anyway. My teeth are woefully unflossed and I am just loving NOT being a diet so much I've decided, no resolved?, not to be on one, but I have set some new patterns for myself and our family that I am really enjoying. We have some new routines for Blueberry and Buttercup, enabling me to do some "school" with Blueberry. The Man and I are trying to work better together at coordinating dinners, baths, bedtimes... little changes that make a huge difference. And I've embarked on Project 365. It's an easy premise - take a picture every day for a year. It sounds daunting but as many parents can tell you, it's easy to do when you have adorable subjects. I've posted a few of my favorites below. I'm really curious and excited to see the outcome - a chance to observe what I most want to capture and preserve in a year. But since it's not a "resolution," I don't really care if I don't "succeed." This lack of resolve somehow translates into motivation for me.
Don't misunderstand. Things don't automatically get amazing when you let go of resolve. It's not like some magical reverse psychology. I still love chocolate and beer. And resolve isn't bad. It is, in actuality, an admirable quality. It's the discontent behind the resolve that I've tried to let go of this year. Instead of looking in the mirror, stepping on the scale, wishing things were "better," let's celebrate imperfection in the new year. Let's celebrate the comforting fact that things will not drastically change because we change calendars. Our cozy love handles won't be noticeable under wool sweaters and no one will fault us for ignoring the Republican primaries. Let's enjoy a wee bit of complacency, no, contentment.