We are now a couple of weeks into the year 2023, and I’m feeling the pressure to create a New Year’s Resolution, as I always do. It happens every January. Our success-oriented culture encourages us to take stock of our lives, and implement changes to improve who we are. To become more accomplished. To become more successful. To create superior versions of ourselves.
Except that this year, I’ve decided to sit that whole thing out. I’m weary of trying to improve myself and become a better ‘me’. I’m tired to trying to be fitter, or happier, or healthier. At the age of 52, I am finally starting to accept myself for the way I am, deficiencies and all. So, instead of trying to fit into someone else’s cookie cutter version of how they think I should be, or look, or act, I have decided to stick with what I’ve got and be happy as I am. It just feels right to me right now.
My mother died 7 weeks ago. This has no doubt affected my thinking. At the time of her passing, I thought I was handling it well. I was supported by kind family and friends who checked in on me constantly to see how I was doing. I spilled out my heart to them and was pleased that I was able to let it all go. I was living in the moment, feeling all the emotions and not holding anything back, just letting it all pass through me. I was fully present and felt completely alive.
But over the last number of weeks, my grief has become heavier. No longer the sharp pain I felt at her passing, it is now more of sadness, a weariness. More worrisome, I’ve been feeling numb and fatigued, a sure sign of nervous exhaustion. I know all the characteristics now. I’ve been down this road before. I know that if I don’t stop and take care of myself, worse symptoms will arrive before long.
And so, feeling the full weight of all that stress, and grief, and sadness, I’ve decided that this year, I will not try to become a better ‘me’. I will not push myself into exhaustion. I will not become more pleasing to others at the expense of myself.
This year, I want sit still enough to hear the deep whisperings of my own heart. I want to hear my own breathing and watch what is going on in my own mind. I want to sit still enough, with openness, curiosity and kindness, until I can hear my own voice. This year, I will listen.
About the author: Rebecca Wong has an honours degree in English Literature from the University of Waterloo, and has been working in the herbal business since 2000. She has received her training in acupuncture and herbalism from respected authorities Paul Des Rosiers and Vu Le at the Ontario College of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Toronto, and Michael Tierra at the East West Herb School in California.