In general, I don’t make resolutions on New Year’s, mostly because I have lived long enough to know how fleeting those good intentions can be. I would like to finish 2015 as a better person than I began it, but that kind of change feels overwhelming and hard to quantify, and setting an unreasonable goal is the best way to make sure you don’t reach it.
The other day my wife commented on how the persona I attempt to cultivate online, here and on Twitter, is at odds with my real self. I assume this is the case with most people, ones like me, who try to be kinder on the internet than in real life, and those who are meaner online. For most of us, everyday life is not conducive to extremes.
Anyway, full disclosure: I’m an inattentive husband, an indifferent son and brother and an inconsistent friend. I’m easily annoyed and aggravated and I find the state of consistent, low-level outrage to be very addictive. I’m not close to being the person I want to be, much less the person I want people to think I am. I’m thankful that my wife has stuck with for the past twenty-plus years but it’s probably about time that I get my act together.
Trying to live up to my online persona is an overwhelming and hard to quantify goal. It would be much simpler to set resolutions like a year from now to weigh less, bench more and have the same amount of hair. It would be easy to set a goal of still being married a year from now, albeit difficult to do. But I’m going to try to be more thoughtful, more present, kinder, more productive, less cowed by doubt. Part of the inspiration is being tired of being this way. It’s exhausting to pretend to be something you’re not, and what I am today is not acceptable.
And part of the inspiration is that there are people who know me who believe that change can happen, primarily my wife. She believes that whatever she saw in me when she first met that callow twenty-three year old rube from Vermont is still there. It will be hard work and I will likely fail before I succeed but a year from now I hope to have some good news to report.
Finally, I hadn’t been thinking of this when I was crafting this post in my head but TV critic Maureen Ryan posted something on her Tumblr yesterday that made me feel like it’s not all hopeless. Mo has been through a couple of tough years but she has made it through and she’s stronger for it. She has also always been super nice and generous with me on Twitter, the type of person I’d like to be in real life.
So let’s see how the rest of 2015 goes. So far, so good. All the best to you and yours.