Pablo Neruda once said, “You can cut all the flowers but you cannot keep spring from coming,” and while this phrasing hits home with the part of me that lives by inspirational quotes, I feel as though my own spring has not yet come. The first day of spring did not bring transformation or revival, and more accurately reminded me of the phrase “April showers bring May flowers.” I feel those showers and am here, in the newness of springtime, hoping for the payoff, the flowers.
It’s not uncommon for us to prefer the destination over the journey. Come New Year’s Day, we expect there to be instantaneous change. Though we may have felt dejected and afflicted by the winter blues in December, January promises more. It’s a turning point that asks us to revel in change — not fear it as we might all other days of the year. Suddenly, come January 1st, we assume our personalities will change, our years-long bad habits will disappear, and we’ll be able to embody an Instagram hashtag. And not only do we set these expectations, but we also give them a time frame.
What New Year’s Day and its resulting resolutions forget to acknowledge is that being human is being imperfect. We make mistakes — daily. We cannot live up to all of society’s expectations. The answers aren’t always on Google. A lot gets thrown our way and “balancing it all” is unrealistic for many. The time it takes to enact positive change often cannot be controlled, adding a sense of stress and urgency to resolutions when, in reality, resolutions, like promises and goals and plans, fall apart. That is life.
What I’m getting at is that I failed at my New Year’s resolutions, so I’m making spring resolutions. And I’ll make summer and fall and winter ones, too. I’ll make a resolution every Thursday. Because there is no time limit on aiming for something greater.
Though both New Year’s and spring are a time of renewal, and are therefore conducive to the idea of resolutions, they are destinations. They are one day, or a temporary period of time. Your dreams shouldn’t have a specific turnover date; they should be constantly changing and never-ending. Much like the dreams you have when you fall asleep, they are a journey.
To be completely real with you, I fall for New Year’s resolutions every single year. I secretly set goals for January 1st, expecting that day to change it all for me. On December 31st, 2017, within the recesses of my mind, I established that come the next morning and during the year beyond, I would work harder to take care of myself — I would eat healthy, drink more water, get enough sleep, read a book a week, learn new techniques to relax, address my stalled emotions, and be more vocal. Based on the fact that resolutions are meant to form at the start of the new year, I’ve already failed.
But instead of trying to control the time it takes for me to become the best version of myself, I’m going to let these resolutions carry over as my spring resolutions. As my summer, my fall, and my winter resolutions. In fact, they are, quite simply, my resolutions — no modifier.
The pressure behind New Year’s resolutions may be great for some, motivating them to be better, but for someone like me, who copes with OCD and anxiety, it’s solely that: pressure. It ignores the fact that every day is a new day, when we can start again if we need to. The premise behind resolutions forgets that we should be working on ourselves all the time — whether it be in January, during the spring, or on a goddamn Monday — because, like our goals, we are not set in stone.
Though it’s hard to fight the “new year, new me” mentality, it’s easy to remember that this is unattainable. Because it’s hard to change ourselves, especially under a time limit, and change is not always meant to be when you want it to be.
I may have failed at my New Year’s resolutions, but I’ll keep trying — as the leaves fall, snow falls, flower petals fly, and sunscreen spills. I am a work in progress, and so are my resolutions. Time be damned.