On Finding Resolution
by Jennifer Lendvai-Lintner
Even though it’s the end of January, I’m thinking more about resolutions now than I was on the first of the month. Given the nature of the past few years—pandemic, a significant shift in our parenting circumstances, etc—it feels more kind to avoid placing (unrealistic?) goals upon myself. I find flexibility and fluidity are important survival tools. Resolutions feel fixed, so as such, they are counter to what I need. NO resolutions for me this year.
It feels very counterculture. I’m rejecting hustle culture! My productivity does not determine my value! Look at me, embracing a slower pace! It likely sounds unmotivated to the efficiency and goal obsessed, but in my world rejecting The Resolution is a form of self care. It’s not that I don’t have goals in mind for myself. I do, in fact. It’s just that I’m rejecting the rigidity of The Resolution in favor of a more flexible and fluid—focus, let’s call it. It’s a small, but significant adjustment. My focuses include continuing with the creative writing graduate program I began last semester, which is helping me continue to explore and develop my craft. Also, I’ve prioritized my mental health by finding a local provider (finally) and scheduling a few yoga sessions each month. Additionally, I joined a virtual bible study—my faith and spirituality are a focus, too.
But last week we were pitched a curveball and didn’t even realize we were up at bat. Suffice it to say, we had a vital component in our caregiving architecture for Hilde crumble. I scrambled to reconfigure the week without the support we were anticipating. Given the abrupt and unexpected shift, Day One was going to be particularly challenging. I had planned the day contingent on the support we now found ourselves without. I was supposed to go for a mammogram, Hilde had a COVID screening test for an upcoming procedure, I had a session with a new therapist and a bible study meeting that night, not to mention, an assignment due the following day for my graduate course.
I looked at the day and all the running around that had been scheduled counting on support. I knew, too, we’d be without that support for the near future at the very least. I didn’t see how it all could be done.
My first response was to pull back. Way back. My plan?
-Postpone the mammogram
-Skip scripture study
-Drop the grad course
Notice how I was going to deal with our lack of support?
Once I slept on it, I did, too. My instinctual response was to remove the items that are for me and my wellbeing—my physical (mammogram), mental (therapy and school), and spiritual (scripture study) wellbeing. Those were the things I was going to sacrifice.
In the early hours of that morning, when I woke up to my alarm, I said—NO.
I know better. I’ve been nurturing a new instinct over these past challenging years. I will not sacrifice myself because we are in a tough spot. I will not cut out the things that take care of me. I cannot cut them out. I MUST not. I’ll figure it out.
Right now, the ‘figuring it out’ is pretty much moment to moment. Are things going to fall through the cracks? Yup—but it won’t be me.
In those pre-dawn hours on Day One, I poured myself a coffee and sat down to write and tackle my homework. Seems maybe I’m not so anti-resolution after all.
[Image Description: The photo is of a cluttered tabletop with various objects including a silver MacBook Air with a document open on the screen. Hot pink sticky notes, a dirty coffee-stirring spoon on a paper towel, a pink pen and a black pen are in foreground. A green agenda and some forms are to the right of the laptop. A book by Ross Gay entitled The Book of Delights and a children's book are to the left.]