2023 has arrived, and my newsfeed is currently congested with dieting ads, fitness plans, intention-setting, and all the typical resolution chatter. Meanwhile, I’m over here shaking my head and making a big ole X with both arms.
Now, this may be an unpopular opinion, but January just doesn’t feel like the most organic time to burst full steam ahead. All this goal crushing feels more like soul crushing to me.
And maybe I’m alone in feeling like it’s all a little too aggressive, but hear me out.
I mean we JUST finished the hustle and bustle of the marathon which is the holiday season, and NOW you’re telling me I should list out more things that I need to be doing?!
Aside from the necessary decluttering to prepare my hibernation den, I will be reserving my limited energy because January and February are intended for hibernating, y’all!
This is a time of rest. A time to say, “No, thank you, I cannot serve on this committee or sign up for this extra thing because…WINTER!”
Now, the unfortunate truth is that my hibernation period looks nothing like Smokey the Bear’s. I will sadly still have very little time in my day to actually sit down. There are kids to teach and bills to pay, but what free time I do have in this blustery season demands peace and a gentle slowness.
Sally may be over there with a spreadsheet to track her progress on whatever the heck she’s fired up about…and really, more power to you, Sal. You do you, Boo! But meanwhile, I’ll be wrapped up in a blanket waiting for spring to arrive before I start doing more of the things.
I say if it’s good enough for the trees to wait until March to bud again, well by golly, it’s good enough for me.
And while I may not be into making resolutions, I actually can get down with the idea of reflection. That seems gentle enough, and the quiet of winter feels like an appropriate time to examine last year’s mistakes.
And speaking of mistakes…
In November, I shared a post celebrating my first cancerversary. You can find it here:
Now, everyone who knows me knows I love a good theme. The inspiration for that particular article was from the Goo Goo Dolls’ song, Iris. The entire post was centered on this lyric, a long-time favorite of mine:
“When everything feels like the movies, yeah you’re pleased just to know you’re alive.”
Those words resonate with me now more than ever because there was a time I wasn’t sure I’d see 2023. And I’m surely pleased to be here now.
I published and shared this blog about survival and gratitude. People were kind and receptive, and I was, as always, flattered that people read my thoughts. Usually, after I put my writing out there, that’s kind of the end of it. My soul lets out a sigh of relief that the thing that was in me is now out where I needed it to be. But this time, that relief would be directly followed by mortification.
Days after I had published this article, one of my girlfriends was texting me about my writing, and then she sent this:
“And you know, until your post set me straight, I’d always thought the lyric was BLEED just to know you’re alive.”
I chuckled because that was really funny. Bleed. Hysterical. Thank God I set her straight.
It got me thinking about how I, too, sometimes mix up lyrics.
For YEARS, I thought Stevie Nicks was singing about a “one-winged dove” in Edge of Seventeen instead of the very obvious WHITE-winged dove.
And once you learn something like this, you can easily hear the correct lyric. Stevie clearly says white and how did I ever think what I was singing made any kind of sense? I mean that poor dove would just be up there flying in circles.
And then there was the time that my nine-year-old corrected me about that catchy tune from Moana. As always, I was belting, “Make waves! Make waves!” To which she responded, “Um. It’s make WAY.” And then, yes, I could hear it. But I mean it IS a movie about the ocean, so it’s not like my interpretation was that far-fetched, okay?
So anyway, a few days later, I was talking to another friend, and she says, “Well, I actually always thought the song said bleed, too.”
If you read the article, you know I talked a lot about my adolescent self. And when I received that second nugget of feedback, I blanched with what can only be described as awkward middle school panic.
No. Couldn’t be. This had been one of my favorite songs for nearly 25 years. Bleed to know you’re alive?! I mean, come on. I immediately Googled to confirm that they were both indeed correct.
And then I died a little inside.
I sat there staring at my phone, obsessing about this mistake that now over a thousand people had seen. How did I, Queen of Google, mess up like this? For those who don’t know me well, let me explain a little something about myself…
If you give me medical advice, I want to know which double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical study you read.
If you share a story with me, I will insist on finding a credible article from a neutral, unbiased news outlet before I believe a word of it.
I am a recovering cynic and desperate lover of cold, hard facts. So HOW?!
I decided the peoples of the inter-web now collectively believed I was a bonafide idiot. My dream of one day being an author, completely squashed. Did I mention I also have a flair for the dramatic?
And let me clarify that given my history with lyrical mishaps, it’s not that I was surprised I had MADE a mistake. I make mistakes every day. I’m botching things left and right, so it wasn’t that.
It was that I was truly shocked it didn’t even occur to me to verify the information before I put it out there. I mean I HAD Googled the year the album was released to confirm that my memory was correct. But as for that lyric? To me, it would be like Googling: “Is cheese delicious?” That lyric was MY truth, so in my mind, there was no need for confirmation.
After this discovery, I was embarrassed for about a half hour. But then came the laughter. And I’m glad I’m at a place in my life where I can laugh at my mistakes relatively quickly.
But then, it was followed by some introspection.
I have thought a lot about beliefs we hold to be true. I mean how many things do we carry with us and deeply trust are correct simply because it’s the way we’ve always thought (or been taught)? Yet we never actually seek confirmation.
“PLEASED to know you’re alive,” was the lyric I had heard for over two decades. And to be fair, I was always singing far louder than the music, so I was drowning out the actual words. And if you’ve ever ridden in a car with me, you can attest to this fact (sorry, not sorry).
I was also deriving meaning from “my” lyric, whereas the other one, the real one, doesn’t resonate with me nearly as much. (Still think mine is way better, by the way). And we do that don’t we? We naturally want things to be the way we want them, even when that’s not how they are.
And I know, I know. It was just a silly mistake.
But even when it’s something little like this, it can be difficult to accept that YOUR truth isn’t THE truth.
I’ve written a lot about how my journey has helped me grow into a more empathetic person. And it has also humbled me a lot, and clearly the humility lessons continue.
But despite my best efforts, I’m still judgmental. I’m particularly judgy of people who share things on the internet with the utmost confidence when it’s obvious they didn’t do their research.
I have wondered how folks believe these untruths so willingly. Have they never written a works cited page? Do they not realize how biased the media is? Are they uneducated on where to look for fair and balanced news? Can they not plainly see that two people can read a religious text and interpret it completely differently? And for heaven’s sake, do they NOT know that many of the song lyrics they have confidently sung at the top of their lungs are just WRONG?!
But humans are gonna human.
We ALL bring our baggage on this trip called life, and we sometimes believe these untruths for a variety of reasons. Maybe they’re self-created or maybe we’ve been indoctrinated to believe them, but we all carry at least a few.
It’s hard for the best of us to admit our mistakes. But it’s even harder to accept that a thing you’ve always believed to be true, just isn’t.
Especially when it’s a big thing. And I feel like we, as a society, believe a lot of big untruths.
It seems like an appropriate time of year to bring up one of the biggest whoppers being sold to us (and yes, sold to us because many industries make billions of dollars off of it). The lie is that our bodies should all look a certain way or be a particular size. And the comparison game which we are all playing is robbing us of so much precious happiness.
So in the new year, I hope we will move our bodies in ways that bring us joy. And absolutely yes, let’s make sustainable choices to benefit our health, but can’t we all just agree to go tell diet culture to shove it?!
Because we ARE good enough just the way we are, right in this very moment. And I feel like we need to all give ourselves a flippin’ break.
So as I reflect on my own mistakes (the little one I’ve shared today and the big ones only my heart knows), I want to hold space for more grace in my life. Grace for myself when I realize I’ve been wrong all along about a thing. Grace toward the way I view my ever-changing face and body when I look in the mirror. But most importantly, I want to find more grace for those who may be wrong but are still deserving of my patience and love.
Maybe, just maybe, they’ve just been singing their own lyrics far too loud, for far too long.
Oops, did I just make a resolution?! I did, didn’t I? But this one does feel important, so I guess I’ll allow it.
Happy New Year, my friends.
May you be gentle with yourselves this winter.
May you abundantly love who God made you to be and appreciate the differences in others.
And may you feel free to trash that list of big, hefty goals and start again in the spring when everything feels a little lighter. ❤️