Written by: Jorinde Berben
Image credit: Jorinde Berben
It’s a new year! Welcome!
Usually, I start the new year by setting out some resolutions. Throughout the years, I’ve had different kinds of resolutions and put them into different forms with different ways of trying to keep them.
Enter January 2022, in which I’m still in the midst of a burnout/depression that is adamantly demanding me to do less instead of more.
See, I’m very good at trying to do more. I’ve always had lists of how to improve myself, of things that I want to do to make my life better, the life of those around me or the world in general.
That list doesn’t just pop up around the beginning of a new year, but also usually in September, and around birthdays, and whenever I feel unsure about who I am, so pretty much every other day.
On this list, which has mostly formed itself throughout the years, are things that I believe will make me a better human being: eating vegan, exercising regularly, giving to charity, buying only fair trade, volunteering, refraining from using any kind of violence, being attentive to pretty much everyone, speaking up for those without a voice, protecting animal rights, maintaining a clean and orderly home, parenting my children in the best way possible, avoiding plastics, picking up trash in nature, meditating, taking vitamins, …
The list grows whenever I find out about something not going quite right in the world. And when things on the list don’t get fulfilled, it leaves me with feelings of guilt, shame and inadequacy.
Since a few months, however (or a few years, if I’m being honest) actively working towards the items on that list has just become too much of a burden. It’s part of the overload I’ve put on myself, together with all the other parts of my life that have taken more than I could give. Right now I don’t need more to-do’s on the list, I need far fewer.
So I’m skipping the resolutions. I’m not putting out goals for the year 2022. Instead, I’m putting a single point of focus in front of myself, a single reminder I want to return to when things get confusing.
Care, to help me notice what I need in my life, and what others might need that I could give. Kindness, to let me forgive my own faults and the injuries of others. And respect for my boundaries and limits, and the boundaries of those around me.
This isn’t a resolution because I know that there will be times where I can’t meet that requirement. There will be times where I’ll be uncaring, unkind and unrespectful. And then I’ll catch myself and return to where I want to be.
Perhaps next year I’ll set out some New Year’s resolutions again.
For this year, the focus above will do.
Wishing you a joyful, inspirational, loving and meaningful 2022!