If I'm being honest, I was much more optimistic last Monday than I am this week. I suppose a slow progressing political collapse will do that. I knew there would be problems at last weeks' electoral college count, you'd either have to be living in a hole or lying to yourself if you thought that would go smooth. Anyways, political turmoil is not something I'd planned for heading into adulthood and it's certainly not something I think anyone was prepared for by any means. I think it's actually scarier that this isn't just happening here, it's happening in many other predominantly white first world countries as well. Makes alien abduction seem much more glamorous.
Happy to report I at least kept up with my vitamin and water intake, started listening to The Warmth of Other Sons by Isabel Wilkerson and binge watched about 14 episodes of 30 Rock. I did make sure to note times I apologized for things, or stopped myself prior to apologizing to see if there was something more fitting to say and it felt good. So I guess here's to accountability!
I'm all for giving yourself grace going into the new year. We've endured a lot of unforeseen circumstances this past year from political turmoil, to loss, to a raging pandemic. I also think it's really important during a time when many women post their goals for the upcoming year on their stories, walls and blogs, to remember to support each other. If posts about physical fitness goals and dieting bother you, scroll passed them. Calling them out as superficial because their resolutions sound to you like they're fishing for followers, fake or make you feel bad is not serving you in any way. Maybe seek out and follow more individuals who are posting ideas for personal growth like ways to stay active in social justice, politics, charities and practicing gratitude.
I'm not by any means a goal oriented person, I don't wake up in the morning and accomplish anything I said I would at 3pm the day before. I procrastinate to the point that my depression and anxiety make me too ashamed to even try most things! But, I think it's important to set some realistic expectations for myself at the beginning of each month. Let's remember, January 1st is just another day of the year, Monday is the same as Thursday or Saturday, tomorrow is always going to be tomorrow. If today didn't go as planned? Start again the next day and try your best.
So what am I trying to do this January for my mental and physical health? I'm going to take my vitamins for 31 days, I'm going to drink more water, I'm going to continue to unlearn and I'm going to make a mental note of every time I apologize to someone. These might seem so silly to my more goal driven pals but for me, these are big steps in the right direction. Taking vitamins and drinking water are obvious and I've been making a point to read and follow a more diverse group to unlearn some of the things I didn't know I had. Less obvious, though, I didn't realize how often I apologize for things I have no control over. This isn't even a case of me being sympathetic, I'm really just habitually apologizing for things and taking on the mental guilt for things that have nothing to do with me. My husband has a leg cramp? I'm sorry! My mom stubbed her toe on her table? Sorry! A client emailed me the wrong information and now I have to relay it to my boss? I'm sorry.
NO, NO, NO! I don't recall being this sorry for anything ever, but at some point between the ages of 27-29, I started to feel like other peoples mistakes, burdens and unhappiness, were somehow a result of something I'd done. It is not my responsibility to make sure those around me are content and that their needs are met before they ask for them. It is, however, my responsibility to make sure that I am happy and that my needs are being met. I can't possibly do that, while carrying the weight of all those little sorrys. Since I like to set realistic expectations for myself, I'm going to start just by acknowledging when I say sorry and reflecting on why in that moment, I felt that was what I should do.
I think I'm not alone with this feeling, so many women I know apologize on a regular basis for things out of their control. If being a feminist is important to you and you want to change the way women are treated in all areas of their lives (from little girls to working women), then we need to stop apologizing for everything. Are there times when an apology is necessary? Certainly. Is it ok to sympathize with others? Of course! But taking on other people's burdens is not going to lift you up or make you feel joy.
What goals have you set for yourself this January?
I am a Maine maker and mother of two. I dabble in graphic design and co-own a screen printing business with my husband of 7 years. Everyone has a story to tell, and this is mine!