I gave up on the typical, knee-jerk New Year’s resolutions a long time ago. You know what I’m talking about: lose ten pounds, exercise more, stop eating carbs, blah, blah, blah. They never stick, and frankly, I find it depressing to be so boring and predictable.
Besides, you only get the opportunity to make a fresh start once a year; why squander it on promises to yourself that you know, deep down inside, you’ll only keep until the next time a chocolate cupcake is staring you in the face?
So for the last several years, I’ve put a lot of thought into how I want my life to be different in the new year, and I’ve figured out an easy formula for determining whether a resolution is a good one or not. Basically, I ask myself whether on my deathbed, I would wish that I had done it.
For example, when I’m on my deathbed, would I wish that I had sworn off sugar? Probably not. In fact, I’m guessing I would probably wish that I’d eaten more of it, and enjoyed it while I did. But would I wish that I had rid myself of all the toxic people in my life? (Especially if they’re sitting by my bedside, still making me crazy even in my last hours?) You betcha. Would I wish that I had spent more time playing with my kids instead of just driving them places and sticking them in front of the TV while I’m making dinner? Absolutely. Would I wish that I had lost five pounds? You get the idea.
So after much thought, my New Year’s resolution for 2016 is to have more fun.
I realized recently that for the last few years, I’ve been in kind of a fun rut. I feel like there’s so much required of me every day, from getting my kids off to school with snacks and lunches packed, to planning playdates and doctors appointments, to being snack mom for their games and being involved at their school, to making sure my dog gets enough exercise to going to the market to keeping my son in pants that fit, not to mention helping them with their homework every night and buying posterboard for their school projects and oh yeah, working, it just seems like I never get to have any fun.
I do make time for myself: I exercise, and I read and I’ll take an afternoon to go shopping now and then, but that’s not the same as having fun. I want to laugh more. I want to spend more time with my old friends, instead of only hanging out with the parents of my kids’ friends. I want to go dancing with my husband, and get away for a girl’s weekend, and tailgate at a football game. I want to have FUN.
I’m pretty sure I can make it happen if I just put a little planning into it. I can schedule lunch with a friend once a week. On date nights with my husband, instead of grabbing a quick dinner at the same place and then seeing a movie, we’re going to go out, for real. We live in the second largest city in the United States – it shouldn’t be that hard.
On the weekends, when my husband takes the kids to the batting cage or to the park to play a game of flag football, instead of using that time to go to the market, or to run errands, I’m going to go with them, and I’m going to hit balls, and play football, too. I’m going to plan a karaoke night with my girlfriends. I’m going to start a book club. They’re just little things, but I feel like they’ll disproportionately improve the fun quotient in my life. As opposed to my backup resolution, which was to stop late night snacking. So let’s see if it passes the test: when I’m on my deathbed, will I wish that I had had more fun in my life? I really can’t imagine a scenario in which I’d say no.