For many people, the New Year is the beginning of life-changing projects. Resolutions are made to quit smoking, be more active, take up a new hobby, or like for many of us : start writing that novel that you’ve been carrying around in your head and heart for so long.
I’ve never been someone to make New Year’s resolutions. I don’t know why that is. Maybe I know that I won’t come up with any credible and realistic projects on December 31st, because I’m just too busy sipping away on my champagne flute and enjoying life. Or, like these days and the last 10 years, lying on the couch and falling asleep before the new year begins – the glorious life of motherhood.
Also, I don’t like any scheduled moments where you have to celebrate events, or do certain things. Like mother’s or father’s day. Not even to speak of grandparent’s day! Valentine’s Day is just the same. Ok, so I do love Christmas, but apart from that, I detest these conventional timings where you have to rush to the store and buy something that you know will never be cherished and will just go to the corner with the other quick presents, covered in dust.
This is also why I think that you shouldn’t set yourself conventional deadlines for the things that really matter in your life. I have to admit to doing this myself a few times. I wanted to have achieved so many things by 18, by 20, by 30. And if in the beginning, it worked out alright, life was flipped upside down once I had kids and was confronted with the seemingly shrunk days once you are juggling job, finance, meal prepping, diapers, sleepless nights etc. And all of a sudden, all these dreams you had and were convinced you could achieve by 30, disappeared to the back of your mind.
I remember quite distinctly that moment that I turned 30. Not the exact day, or even what I did that day or how I celebrated it. (I don’t think I celebrated it, actually. Must have been too exhausted to throw a dinner party…) But I remember that feeling of utter disappointment at myself for being stuck where I was. Yes, I had a great family, had just had my second baby, had a good job and all… but the rest of the life was just an endless struggle and mess. I was running behind all the tasks to be done, and was getting nowhere. And I surely was nowhere even close to where I had imagined myself to be when I was 18.
“I still believed in myself and that I could achieve anything I wanted to.”
I often realize today that I was much more determined, motivated, when I was about 20. I knew exactly what I wanted and was ready to work to get there. And most of all, I still believed in myself and that I could achieve anything I wanted to. Throughout the years, that feeling got lost. First it faded into the back of my mind, then it was completely blackened out by growing insecurity.
And I would look at myself, freshly turned 30, and think : how did I get so old all of a sudden? Have I missed all these best years of my life without accomplishing anything worthwhile? Is this it, really? Is this all I have to show up for?
I would diminish myself that way, on my own, for a couple of years. And all the reports from young people who had become artists before 20, written plays, novels, outrageously brilliant creations before turning 30 just jumped at me from every corner. It was just like, when you’re trying to get pregnant, the only thing you’ll see around you is pregnant women. They just seem to be everywhere and you’ll be thinking that there was an abnormal baby boom 9 months earlier that you somehow missed. Or when you’re pregnant and are thinking about which baby carrier to purchase. The only thing you’ll be seeing out there are baby carriers in all shapes and sizes.
Today, now that I have not only survived the famous 20ies and 30ies and even officially reached 35 years, still without being anywhere I had hoped to be, I finally understand what it’s all about.
Here’s the thing: It doesn’t matter if you achieve your dreams before turning 20, 30 or 40. What matters is to find out what really makes your heart beat, what makes you happy, and then, just go for it. Close your eyes, shut out all these nagging voices that try to tell you you can’t do this, and go through it, one step at a time, like battling against a snowstorm. You’ll get there, in time.