Today is Jan 25, 2020. Wait, what? Wasn’t it just New Year’s Eve yesterday? As usual, time is going by way too fast, and I feel that’s hardest to deal with at the beginning of a new year. And who’s to blame for that? Society and self-pressure.
Apparently, a new year is all about making monumental life changes in the span of a single year. It’s a stupid, unattainable expectation fuelled by the toxic hustle culture and the high of instant gratification.
Deep down most of us know that our resolutions need a reasonable amount of time, grit, patience, even lifestyle changes. Yet our inner critic, much like a foolish, petulant boss, wants it all right now anyway.
Then, when we fail to achieve these impossible-to-achieve-overnight goals, we let that evil, incompetent boss tell us that we are useless, incompetent, lazy, pathetic. Etc, etc, etc. Isn’t that RIDICULOUS?
Hold up. Before you flip me off mentally, here’s the thing: I am not talking down.
I have been one of those wide-eyed dolts right up until last month. So what helped me see the truth? Depression. Yeah, the black dog does come in handy on rare occasions.
In the last week of 2019, while everyone was busy protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act or taking some much-needed time off, I fell sick. I was compelled to spend hours laying in bed, visiting doctors, and getting tests done to figure out what was wrong with me.
The physical fatigue affected my mind as one week turned into three, and what with the whole #IndiaBurning situation, I felt deep sorrow and apathy. I was officially depressed. Soon, I didn’t want to do anything other than sleep forever. Instead of chasing my usual lofty resolutions, my biggest challenge now was to regain my will to live.
When I was done feeling numb and sorry for myself, I referred to my therapy notes and put together a simple three-step plan.
1. Push myself to get as much sunshine and exercise as possible.
2. Get back to a schedule to feel somewhat in control of my life.
3. Pick just one goal: a goal that is meaningful to me, not one forced on me by social pressure.
Today, nearly a month after following this plan, I am still tired and depressed. But I am not suicidal anymore, and that’s a big win. Plus, for the first time in years, I am not bogged down by a laundry list of unrealistic, never-ending resolutions.
Think about it: would you want to be a person who is living life as if it is an endless to-do list to be conquered?
So dear reader, if you too want to manage depression, suicidal feelings, and anxiety, free yourself from the tyranny of resolutions and pick a goal or two that you really, truly want with all your heart and soul. As Henry David Thoreau said, “Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify.”
And if you ever feel haunted or pressured by the ‘new year, new me’ ideology, just say, “Bye, Felicia”. Remember, you are not a robot, and there’s more to life than being busy and productive all the time.