No sooner has the last of the Christmas wrapping paper been squished into the overflowing bin, the world turns its attention to talk of the things we need to change to become better humans.
I have been suckered in to the idea of New Year's Resolutions one too many times. But now the game is over - I am out my friends. I finally understand that the promotion of 'New You January,' is just another way of reminding people they are not good enough. Folklore should not dictate that it's out with the last year of my life and all I have achieved, and in with the new one of change and improvement.
Perish the thought that actually, I might be just fine as I am.
I look at my young son, who to me is near-perfection (apart from all the stroppiness and unwillingness to wear shoes). And I think about what I want to teach him about being a person... a boy... a man. Of course he should have ambitions and dreams - and reach for whatever star he fancies - if that's his bag. I hope his life is well-lived and brimming with experience.
But what I really wish for him, above everything is this: self-worth.
I want him to be happy with his life, his lot and most definitely with himself. Will he accomplish this through nit-picking at the way he lives day to day? I really don't think so. I know there may be a fine line to walk between achieving and contentment, but people should be looking nowhere but themselves in respect of how they want to live. So I have decided that demonstrating the desire to improve myself is not what I want him to show him about how life and people.
I am tired of the assumption that we will all be better for changing, and fed up of listening to the income-generating voices who, despite not knowing us, insist on pressing the point that we need to do better and try harder at this life malarkey.
It is okay - more than okay - to not want to change. It's actually pretty cool to be happy with who you are and how you are doing. It is too easy to feel full of things we should be better at, or to let thoughts of what we haven't achieved steal valuable space in our heads. From now on, I want to leave room for important things; like the days I have enjoyed, the moments I am proud of and the people who make me feel happy.
I am sick of the pressure we pile on ourselves to fix some aspect of our person and modify the way we live, as if we just aren't doing well enough. Then we feel as though we have failed when, inevitably we don't achieve or maintain these (often unrealistic) resolutions or goals. There is nothing wrong in setting out to achieve something, to feel motivated, but we can have a fresh start any time we choose, without the chiming of Big Ben and a half-price demand to join Weight Watchers.
If you ask someone what changes they would like to make, they will always be able to answer. Right now, without pausing for breath I can say I want to progress my career, be more organised and take more family trips. But why am I focussing on the things I construe as being faults or need improving? In fact, why are we even thinking about ourselves in terms of what we lack, at all?
Would it be so bad to start the New Year celebrating who we are instead of who we feel we should be?
Should we maybe allow who we already are to be enough?
Instead of ending this year thinking about what I should change, I'm choosing to accept what has been and embrace what is to come, all as little old me. I won't be making any resolutions, because I think I'm doing okay as I am. This is in no way a New Year's Resolution in itself you understand... it's just something I happen to be aiming for around the start of the year...