With the new year comes a whole slew of social media posts, blogs, and articles titled a variation on “New Year, New You.” These are, I suppose, intended to be helpful and hopeful, and every time I see one I want to put my fist through the computer screen. I hate them with an unbridled passion, rivaled only by the hatred I have for people who have made their multi-millions before age twenty-five by ‘singing’ a one-note song about sexual prowess.
The reason is this: it is all part of the cottage industry designed to make money off of getting women to despise themselves and transform themselves into something not quite so despicable. Eat this food! Do this exercise! Smell this oil! Say this mantra! That’s the only thing standing between you and happiness! It’s a blame game. Feel crappy about yourself, then while you’re down and feeling vulnerable, I’ll sell you a magic pill that will take away the problem.
Here’s the deal. You do not need to be a “new you.” There is nothing wrong with the old you. You are not fat or lazy or unmotivated or horrible. You are human. Like every other human, you have flaws. Presumably, as you get older, you grow and learn and evolve, hopefully for the better. I mean, sure. You’re not perfect. You screw things up from time to time, and, if you’re smart, you learn from those mistakes.
If you want to make a new year’s resolution, resolve to forgive yourself for being human. Here’s the hard part, though: in order to forgive yourself for being human, you have to forgive the people around you for being human, too. They mess up just as often as you do. They also try just as hard as you do. (Most of them, anyway. Not the people who prey on young children and the elderly. How hard could they be trying? I don’t have any sympathy for them.)
So here’s the deal. “New Year, Same You.” Don’t put pressure on yourself to be anything but the same human being that came out of the womb however many years it was ago that you were born. Leopards don’t change their spots, zebras don’t change their stripes, and goldfish are always going to be made out of 24 karat gold. You are who you are. You can sand the rough edges, you can beat addiction, and you can learn from your mistakes and always strive for improvement. But be proud of your imperfections. Together they make you uniquely you. Would you really want to live in a world populated by Barbies and Kens and Skippers and plastic smiles? Not me. Barbie never seems to wear comfortable shoes, and Ken appears to have been neutered.
If you encounter me in 2019, you won’t see anyone transformed. You will see someone a few days older, maybe a few minutes closer to the end, and hopefully that much wiser. Wiser enough to know this: I am who I am, take me or leave me. And I’ll take you the same way.
Lori B. Duff is an award-winning author who practices law on the side. Her latest book, “If You Did What I Asked in the First Place” was awarded the Gold Medal for humor in the Foreword INDIES awards in 2019. You can follow her on Twitter at @LoriBDuff and on Facebook. For more blogs written by Lori, click here. For more information about Lori in general, click here. If you want Lori to do your writing for you, click here. If you want Lori to help you market your book, click here.