One of them is, next year, cut down on the number of articles I read about making or breaking new year's resolutions, since it has taken me the whole afternoon and my iPad has nearly run out of juice watching back-to-back episodes of Jessica Jones on Netflix to figure out that - big whoop - lots of people make similar new year's resolutions, quite a lot of us do it when we're drunk, and many of us find that by January 5th (that's one day after returning to work for most) we're clambering for the chardonnay and shunning spin classes left right and centre.
The second reason is that I've still spend most of my life as a single person, albeit that for the first fifteen of those, it was definitely acceptable, or let's even say appropriate for that to happen. I'm sure I don't need to explain that it's not exactly fun to go out on the night of the year when everyone's focused on having 'the best night ever' when you're single. That's a night built up for failure without a kiss at midnight. You've donned your sequins, followed the tutorials on how to make yourself into a new year, new you woman for the night, and you've spent far too much money for some flouncy event it'll cost you a fortune so get home from. And this is not New Year's Eve, the movie, so the likelihood that you'll meet Ashton Kutchner in the broken elevator is pretty slim (though, if that does happen to you, fair play!).
I don't know where those house parties are that have a bunch of random single people who've never met each other before. To me that's just called inviting complete strangers into your home and feeding them alcohol. Forget new year's resolutions. Just don't be a complete dimwit! Anyway, those are the parties where across a crowded room a young-ish woman (anywhere between 16 and 45, let's say) can expect to glance across the room with her newly smoky-ed luscious lids and lock eyes with someone who's vaguely in the sphere of being good looking, isn't wearing a wedding ring, and in any case looks a little bit like James Bond (i.e. is wearing black tie, which means even the pimply and puny stand a chance of romance).
My best worst NYE: 1999-2000. Not only did all the computers make it through just fine as the clocks struck midnight; not only did the 'river of fire' in no way ignite along the Thames that night. Worse. I lost one of my Patrick Cox loafers in the muddy banks of the Thames. If you're listening, old river, you owe me a loafer. I hope you're enjoying wearing it in your watery depths tonight. I can tell you it was not that much fun walking all the way back to Kennington from the south bank near Vauxhall with just one shoe. Not much fun at all. And no kiss at midnight. No Champagne either. More like a can of Tizer and a freezing cold and altogether underwhelming night. Happy New Year? Oh F off.
(Joking aside, there are much worse situations. If you're with someone you don't get on with, or who is even abusive either mentally, verbally or physically, that's worse than being alone. If you are in that situation please try to keep yourself safe and contact Refuge for support. You deserve better.) If you're in an unhappy relationship that can be a lot lonelier than being alone on any night of the year. I am lucky to be blessed with my wonderful husband. I'm so grateful to have someone by my side through all this life.
Last year I talked about the pressures of the season - that five seconds after being encouraged to shove every fatty, creamy, stodgy food down your gullet you're expected to squeeze yourself into sexy, slinky spandex and strut your funky stuff in stilettos that are far too uncomfortable to be worn even sitting down, let alone with the extra five pounds of lard you've casually added to your girth over the last few days. And that would be my own personal third reason.
Anyway, back to new year's resolutions. What I realised reading through all the articles this afternoon is that, like everything else, new year's resolutions could do with a bit of balance to be effective. So here they are:
Overall: be more mindful and take care of my mental health so that I can achieve the other resolutions as far as I possibly can.
Yes indeed. The first resolution is about being ambitious, forward-thinking and aim for progress, but in the end achieve what I can with the right degree of balance to I can be healthy (within my control).
It's not all that helpful to say to yourself, "Lose weight", or even "Lose twenty pounds by April", in my case, because I don't know whether my body will be able to do it. My medications have weight gain side-effects; my back still gets sore and my mental health is still teetering on a slender pinnacle between fine and failing, so to set targets like this aren't going to work for me.
I have made the above few resolutions after some thought about what I wanted to achieve in the next year, but they are longer term goals, more likely to result in success, going by what Tim Dowling suggests in his piece on fool proof new year's resolutions, published today. (By the way, Tim, in the unlikely event that you read this piece, apologies for your avatar. I tried but there's only so many things you can do with Bitstrips' avatars. I know it looks nothing like you. Sorry.)
There's a theme to them, though: that I'm going to try, but I'm also going to try not to be too hard on myself for these resolutions. They don't have definitive outcomes. That's deliberate. I've set targets that are very specific in my life before - both personally and at work, but for the next year given the delicate state of my health I want to have areas to focus on, but not milestones which - should I fall short of them - will fuel the fire of self-loathing or a sense of failure.