I know some people hate the idea of New Year's resolutions. I am not one of those people.
I know that New Year’s resolutions are not enjoyed by everyone. There is a sizable portion of the population who view them as something akin to Valentine’s Day cards – forced, trite, and possibly damaging to anything authentic by the timing of the expression.
As an enthusiastic list maker, I am not one of those people.
I love the prospect of a new start, of arbitrary lines drawn in the passage of time saying, “Here’s where we’re going to call new game”. I love that enough people get on board with the concept to form a community of fresh starters. I love that I can sit and be introspective and forward-thinking and not get all self-conscious about the navel gazing, which I would at any other point in the year.
Yes, I am an enthusiastic New Year Resolutioner. I find my patron saint for the year (St. Guy of Anderlicht); I find my focus word for the year (“mercy”); I make a list of things I want to improve upon, and then I start badgering my year’s saint for help. So with my apologies to St. Guy, who seemed a simple fellow and most likely is rolling his eyes in exasperation, I present to you my New Year’s resolutions:
1. Start praying the rosary.
I used to pray the rosary by myself every night after the kids went to bed. It was a lovely and peaceful time where I happily curled up on the couch and spent 20 minutes with Jesus and his mother. Then the kids got older and louder, and now by the time they’re all in bed, the only thing I can think of is a glass of wine and some time spent in an environment where no one is going to ask me to make six million arbitrary decisions. But it always fails, as I usually end up on the Internet, taking some “Which Hunger Games Character Are You” quiz – which does what, exactly? Ask me to make six million arbitrary decisions. So this year, with the help of St. Guy, I’m going to make a nightly rosary a priority – at least until I fall asleep on the couch, at which point, I will hope that St. Guy finishes saying it for me.
2. Read more edifying materials.
I mean it. Edifying means to provide “moral or intellectual instruction,” and no matter how hard I try to pretend otherwise, MentalFloss and BuzzFeed shouldn’t provide me with the bulk of my literary stimulation. While I’m pleased to announce that the Great Celebrity Gossip Purge of 2010 has stuck, I really do need to start reading things that aren’t in list form (I’ll keep writing them, though).
Keep reading on the next page
3. Radically redefine my concept of personal beauty.
No amount of sweetly earnest, “Motherhood made me more beautiful” blog posts have ever shocked me into realizing how much I’ve let our deeply disordered culture impact my self-image quite like this little piece from Cosmo (note: link will take you to a bathing suit photo shoot featuring the fashion industry’s concept of a “plus sized model”). Oh sure, you’re probably wisely pointing out that Cosmo and its ilk are about as healthy for a woman’s self-esteem as a shot of anthrax directly to the cranium, and you’d be right. But it’s the comments that followed the article that were the real kicker. Woman after woman resignedly noting, “The industry sets the terminology, not the magazine”. The million-mile stare of a generation of women, hardwired by our Creator to long for beauty, while being told by the world that they will never achieve that goal. Instead, I will constantly remind myself that being size 2 and having long, lustrous hair and an hourglass shape are not, in fact, going to help me in my vocation of wife and mother. And since all beauty has God as its source, it only makes sense that the closer I get to God, the more beauty surrounds me.
Don’t get me wrong – I’ll still pull on the Spanx before going grocery shopping, but I won’t think it’s making me a better person. Just a less floppy one.
So there it is. Three areas I resolve to work on this year, and hopefully with St. Guy’s constant intercession and God’s grace, I’ll make some progress.
If not, well… there’s always next year!