Monday, 30 January 2012
It's 8 January. I've just received a text message from my best friend. She's 37. Message reads: “need to revise new years rslns, snogged 22 yr old. #resolutionfail #lockupyoursons #cougarloose.”
It is for this very reason - well not this very reason but reasons not a million miles away - that I last year made the resolution never to make another resolution. This is the first resolution I've kept my whole life and it feels goooood!
Averagely, new years resolutions last nine days. Our staggeringly unimaginative Daily Mail influenced promises to lose weight, save money, exercise more and drink less are collectively ditched less than two weeks into a 52 week year. Not only that but the same staggeringly unimaginative promises are ditched year after year.
And what is the result of this? Certainly we are no healthier, thinner or richer. But now we feel guilty about it whereas before it was just a fact of life. Year on year we feel worse about ourselves and still nothing changes.
This guilt adds to the January blues we were already suffering, having also this week had to re-start the torturous habit of dragging ourselves out of bed in what might as well be the middle of the night to make coffee for a man who doesn't realise The Office is supposed to be a comedy.
Come mid January we're watching svelte, affluent self-help tossers beam at us from the great heights of ITV's breakfast schedule that there's never been a better time to change ourselves for the better. Outcome: we're so depressed we've started comfort eating the Special K.
Well arses to that. Here's my suggestion. Rather than trying to change things we have little or no control over – face it people, we prove it to ourselves every single year – I suggest we instead work on what we can change, namely our attitudes.
Why must I believe the thought that my thunder thighs are bad? Beyonce has thunder thighs and it hasn't done her any harm. In Rubens day they were fighting over birds with thighs like tree trunks and that day will come again. Why must I believe that giving myself shin splints pounding up and down the pavements of West London is for my own benefit? Why believe that eating greenery all day long is the way to health and happiness? I'm not a sheep for God's sake.
And there's the rub. I am not a sheep! I do not need to internalise everything I'm told about what's good and what's bad when the truth is none of it could matter less. My self-esteem does not need to append itself on a sliding scale ratio to the quantity of broccoli I can consume in one day.
So, let's abandon guilt, abandon slavish, lazy thinking, abandon the need to look exactly like everyone else and behave exactly like everyone else and instead be delighted to be the wobbly, sometimes pissed, occasionally broke, perfectly imperfect beings that we are.
If the worst thing my mate's ever done is to take a leaf out of Sam Taylor Wood's Little Book of Boyfriends then really, I don't think there's too much for her to worry about.