My birthday was fine in the end. I went shopping because I needed new clothes, and I was successful in finding things, so I called that a win. I treated myself to lunch out and had a delicious salad (pear, witloof, melon, bocconcini) that perked me right up after a couple of hours traipsing round carrying bags. And I spent it alone, which I didn’t mind in the slightest.
I was pondering the idea of a new year and wondered why we don’t treat our birthdays the way we treat New Year, i.e. by making resolutions or plans or setting goals for the coming year. Not that it would make much difference in my case as they’re more or less at the same time. But the start of the new calendar year is a strangely arbitrary date for making massive promises about our behaviour over the upcoming year, particularly since most people seem to spend the evening prior getting themselves into precisely the state they vow not to be in for the rest of the year. I suppose the personal new year date is no less arbitrary, although we do measure our lives in years so the turning over into a new one should be more personally significant to the direction of our lives than the calendar year. You’d think.
I’m not very good at New Year’s resolutions. Instead, for some years, although not consistently, I have done a Groundhog Day review. This doesn’t take place on whatever day it is in February that Punxsutawney Phil is wrested from his burrow. The idea comes from a designer called Dave Seah who proposed that on the day/month combination that matches (2/2, 3/3, 4/4… 12/12) you review your previous month’s progress and determine where you want to be by the time the next review rolls around.
The dates are arbitrary of course, but easy to remember. The first one, 1/1, can be ignored and you can party instead knowing you’ve got your year’s planning already planned.
The beauty of this system over the traditional New Year’s resolution is that it’s a monthly recurring review rather than just a one off. That means that the resolutions can be more realistic (because you’re thinking about what you can do in a month rather than a year, which is a whole year away…). And because of the review, you’re more likely to stick with them and actually achieve them.
Which brings me to the question, what resolutions or plans do I have for the coming year? I’ve been trying to think about it, but truthfully, I don’t have the energy or enthusiasm for it. Resolutions are about hope, possibility, intention, and I lack all three at the moment.
This is another reason to like the Groundhog Day review. I don’t need to worry about 1/1, because 2/2 will come along, and if I’m still not ready, there’s 3/3. And so on. Eventually I’ll come out of this fog and decide where to next.