The Art Of Recycling New Years Resolutions


Right now, I’m sitting in the exact same chair that I was sitting in last year, at the exact same desk in the exact same house. The chair is tattered from where I’ve been pulling the layer of pleather off during idle moments. Moments spent looking at a blank document, waiting for genius to arrive.

As the Christmas trees begin to go up, the depression of the New Years begins to settle in. The unbelief that a year has actually gone by since the last time I sat here, planning out 2015, the year that was going to change everything. I look around my room and my life looks exactly the same as it did then, with few exceptions: the Perfect Pull-Up is gathering dust in the corner and the tub of creatine is clumping on top of my dresser. I finger at a pack of Newports that I was supposed to be quitting this year and light one up to help me deal with the realizations and wonder where it all went wrong.

It probably started with my expectations. Thinking that I could possibly change everything in my life without taking into account that I’m me and it’d never be as easy as just saying and doing. I’ve been cycling through depression all my life and at age twenty seven, I should know maneuvering through the lows is going to take more than the fleeting motivation of a new calendar. Just getting out of bed some mornings can be a Sisyphean task, so the thought of a complete lifestyle renovation feels like a Greek epic.

Yet still, every year I delude myself hoping for the instant gratification of a change.

I don’t take into account the clashing ideologies like ‘figuring out a way to not work for the man’ and ‘make more money.’ My self-defeatist attitude makes baby steps feel like pole vaults.

The number one, bolded and underlined resolution was to be able to make money by using words. Writing is probably the hardest thing you can do, because you never know if you’re saying the perfect thing. The words never come out as beautifully as you think you’re capable of. Your thoughts never come across as clearly as they do in your head. Self-perception is an antagonist. Self-belief is a flat out anathema.

I don’t know why I do it. I wish I would’ve spent these 10,000+ hours learning an instrument (piano was on the 2015 list) or just about anything else. There’s only so long that you can subside on slow-burning, incremental improvement, constantly toiling away without validation. The dream begins to dissipate with every sloppily-formatted paragraph and unanswered pitch. I cope with this failure by diminishing others accomplishments. Belittling those who I feel are lesser talents making strides in their careers. I let my face fall into my palm and wonder if I even have anything worth saying. Something that can resonate outside of my head.

…And then I reach for my phone and take a vacation to Rio on Google Maps, because why not.

Then I cycle through my social media apps. Instagram has been deleted and re-installed every other week. Scrolling through strangers feeds and seeing their lives change throughout the year while mines floats by uneventfully. Watching kids younger than me making big moves while I’m still struggling for the basics. Liking videos of Arab petro-progeny racing Ferraris and Lamborghinis in Dubai trying to distill happiness because at least gas is under $2 a gallon now.  

It’s only then, scrolling through the Instagram handles of the well travelled, silver spooned and maniacally gorgeous, that I feel a sudden pain. The pain I feel when faced with overwhelming beauty that I will probably never have or undeniable genius that I may never possess.

It’s at that point of duress when I realize that I’ve been going at everything the wrong way.

Only lusting for things instead of loving the journey of obtaining them. Being upset at what I don’t have instead of enjoying the process of getting there. There was a point in time when I was writing with a true love of the craft and if I sift through the THC cobwebs in my brain, I could actually look at the words I just typed and see the improvement. I seemed to have forgotten as societal pressures convinced me I needed more by this age. I took all the extravagant things that life could offer and used them as my barometer of success instead of realizing the successes that I could make with every paragraph or push up or chord learned. I let my happiness depend on bigger things I didn’t have instead of appreciating the smaller things I was obtaining.

So for all the people out there in the world, recycling resolutions and revamping the old list in pencil, just let this be a mental reminder to you. I’m planning on taking things day-by-day and not letting distractions get the best of me. I don’t want to have to write up something this drastic next year by caving in to the pessimist gaining real estate in my head. I won’t allow myself to go easy on myself and lose any more time than I already have. I’m making the decision to stop being afraid of how beautiful I can be when I don’t let myself off the hook. 2016 is going to be the year for me because I’m going to prove my worth.

For real this time.Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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