The New Year Badger

Ah, the New Year begins!

The 4th of July waves flags. Halloween carves pumpkins. Christmas decorates trees.

The New Year writes resolutions.

Sure. You can dismiss the idea, you can dig in your heels and plant your flag in the sands NoImNotGonna Land, but like avoiding red-white-and-blue, candy, and Christmas carols, good luck avoiding the lists, tips, and admonitions to improve your life. (At least if you live in this particular corner of the planet.)

Two Guys on Your Head recently talked about resolutions. (As of the time I’m writing this, they still haven’t uploaded the episode to any of their podcast platforms. I like their podcast, but they are the worst about uploading, [insert eyeroll emoji here].) They pointed out how resolutions are more successful when made on an important date, whether that’s January 1st, your birthday, the day you start a new job, or whatever. That said, your odds of sticking to said resolution, no matter the magical date, are still low. We all know this.

But I am not in the Why-Bother Camp.

Nor am I in the New-Year-New-Me Land of Illusion and Platitudes Camp.

I think I’m more struggling with a ship in the seas in-between. I believe in taking time to reflect. I cast a skeptical eye at the self-help industry which so often relentlessly reminds us of what failures we are. Yet, we can be better, can’t we? We are not static creatures.

Life is a messy journey. Earlier today, I suggested to some friends my word of the year could just be “messy.” It’s not the most aspirational word. It may seem like “goblin mode,” but I have no interest in being a goblin. It’s not about being lazy or self-indulgent (no, just no). It’s about doing all your glorious and ridiculous things that bring you joy and worrying less about the mess.

But I can’t commit to a word for a year.

The other day, a friend who is fresh and deep into grief, wondered why we look forward to a new year when it just meant more people would die. It’s a brutal question. What do you say to that? In the moment, I said something about everything he loved in the past was once the future, and that grief is hard. I’m not sure that was the best answer. Grief is a monster pulling us into the deep. What words can fight that?

Nonetheless, isn’t that it’s all about? All these resolutions to be healthier, to have better relationships, to save more money, to follow the dream, and most of the rest are a fight against the end. Oi. That’s darker than I mean it to be. I’m still here to look at the joy and wonder in the world because it’s there and all the more brighter because it’s ephemeral. And I’m not a nihilist.

I’m reminded of the amazing scene between Cassian and his mother Marva in Andor. Cassian is upset and Marva says, “That’s love. I can’t help that.” (Or something close to that.) Basically, she is telling him loving another is going to hurt. That’s how it is. It’s a powerful scene (and I can’t recommend the series enough). She isn’t being callous. It isn’t “grow up and get over it.” It’s “understand and grow.”

So, why is there a picture of a badger up there? What’s that got to do with the price of an ocean liner? It’s not even a real badger, but a badger figurine. Let’s be clear. That is my badger figurine given to me by someone I was badgering.

A long time ago, I had a “badger email list.” A few intrepid souls from NaNoWriMo signed up for me to send them weekly emails to badger them into writing. It was silly and fun. It faded away with time as these things tend to do (but not before the figurine!). Now, I’m not reckless enough to suggest starting up those emails again, but I’m tinkering with the idea of badgering. Over in Story-a-Day Superstars (which I love so much!), we have a Slack channel where we can post goals and help each other with accountability. It really does help. But no one is assigned the task of poking anyone with a stick and saying, “Have you done what you said you were gonna do? Have you? HAVE YOU?”

Sometimes that’s helpful.

So, what goals do you need to be badgered about? Does it help you to be badgered or does it make you go running for cover?


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