Another Year

2012, here it is. For some reason, we have assigned each January 1st as a starting point for change – a time to become something that we weren’t in previous years. I am as guilty of this as anyone, but this year’s need to change is more than a resolution, it’s a necessity.

Sure, I make the same resolutions (unwritten and unspoken, but they still float around in my head), that everyone else makes. Lose weight. Exercise more. Floss daily. Become a more pleasant person. But that last one has me stumped this year, because attached to it are a whole raft of frightening changes that I will have to jump off the deep end to accomplish. Other new years have come and gone as points of celebration and excitement – the chance to stop pigging out on Sea Salt and Malt Vinegar Kettle Chips, a kickoff to reduce my red wine intake to weekends, a poke in the flabby ass to get myself to the gym regularly. This one, however, begins with an overwhelming feeling of dread. Not only are the changes I need to make this year significantly bigger, but I know that if I fail to really try, the resulting effects may be huge. If I fail to succeed, those effects will be multiplied ten times.

There seem to be two general categories of people in this world – those who can go with the flow, accept whatever is thrown at them, and take whatever happens as a consequence regardless of how positive or negative it may be. I am the other type of person. A therapist once referred to me as an Idealist, meaning that I have a very clear idea of right and wrong, and if I perceive that things aren’t right, I am driven to try and correct them. She assured me that Idealism is a noble characteristic to possess, and that without people who fall into that category the world would be seriously screwed. She also warned me that Idealists are people who drive themselves to the grave at an early age because they tend to stress themselves to the point of sickness over fixing the world’s problems.

Last semester I discovered the physical effects of Idealism-driven stress first hand. Week-long headaches that nagged persistently. Frequent nausea. Lack of energy to look after myself. I gave up exercise. I put on weight. I became incurably grumpy, impossible to live with (although Troy tolerated me somehow), and I started to hate my body, my demeanor and my very existence. I became less social because I didn’t feel like I could contribute to anyone else’s idea of fun. In short, I’ve become a bit of a monster. In striving to contribute to an ideal world I’ve completely contradicted and deconstructed my ideal self. This is not good.

It’s January 1st and I have to come up with a plan. I can’t stop myself from being an Idealist – that part is hard wired. Perhaps, then, I need to remove myself from the environments and situations that are bringing me so far down. So many opportunities feel like they’re perched precariously on my horizon and I’m at the point where grabbing them, as terrifying as it may be, could prove to be a lot more sensible than staying on the self-destructive path I find myself traveling.

2012. Is it going to be a happy new year?  I guess a large part of that is up to me to decide. As an Idealist I like to make sure that all the pieces are in place before I make huge changes, but maybe it’s time to throw caution to the wind. If I keep waiting for everything to be perfect I’ll be dead before I change a thing, and as an Idealist, I’m supposed to be changing things. I know that it’s time to be happy, pleasant, healthy and I know that it’s time to start enjoying waking up, not dreading it. Huge changes are the scariest, but they can also be the most rewarding. So bring on 2012… I think I’m ready to make it acceptable even if I can’t make it perfect.

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