Amy Roberts: A realistic resolution
December 27, 2017
If history is any indication, the old me would begin 2018 utterly, obsessively, brainwashingly committed to a resolution; and the remaining 358 days of the year mad at myself for setting such an unrealistic goal. For me, the first week of any new year tends to be filled with hope, optimism and a sense of confidence that comes by convincing myself a new calendar somehow equates to a better version of me.
In 2016, I decided I was going to swear less. Holy *&%#, that was unrealistic. Another year I vowed to be more patient. But it didn't happen immediately so I stopped trying. I considered being more positive once. I should have known that wouldn't work. Over the years I've committed to save more money, eat better, and drink less. But the cheap, hungry, and sober version of me has never lasted long.
So, as I sat down to contemplate what bad habits I should drop in the coming year, I tried to focus on something I hadn't before; and something I wouldn't give up on before the last chorus of "Auld Lang Syne" was over.
I went deep into my mental archives for this one. And that's when I remembered a piece of advice I received from a former boss. I was in a tizzy about a project I was working on and he told me, "Amy, you need to care a little less."
I resolve 2018 is going to be my year of not giving a damn.
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At the time, I thought this guidance was odd, if not ridiculous since it was coming from someone who signed my paycheck. Who tells their employee they care too much?
But as I've gotten older, I've come to appreciate the value of this feedback. Sometimes, caring too much is a flaw. When we are overly invested in the outcome, we often manipulate the natural flow of things. Caring too much forces us to overthink, over analyze, and abort common sense. It creates anxiety, stress, and paranoia — followed by a chemical dependency on Xanax. There's no living in the moment and allowing what will be to be when we care too much. There's always an agenda, because we're far too committed to the final product to leave anything to chance.
This is true in love, work, friendships, goals, the opinion or approval of others — anything that matters to us. When we don't get the results we want, we're often left with feelings of anger or resentment. And unmet expectations suck. Not wanting to feel that way again tends to make me care even harder the next time — digging my heels in deeper to control the situation.
Not anymore. I resolve 2018 is going to be my year of not giving a damn. Any thoughts of meticulously implementing Plan A are being replaced with, "Eh, screw it. Let's roll the dice and see what happens."
And the best part is, I think caring a little less is going to be relatively easy. Because let's face it, actually caring is the hard part. Free doughnuts at the grocery store? I could care a little less how my pants fit. An internet troll doesn't like something I wrote? I'm busy not caring. A guy I like doesn't text back? Whatevs. Someone gave my book a bad review? That jerk has bad taste. My dentist tells me I need a crown? I start trying on tiaras.
To be clear, this resolution is not about total indifference. It's not that I won't care about anything, it's that I will care less about things that aren't all that important, saving my energy to care more deeply about people and things that actually matter.
I feel liberated already.
Amy Roberts is a freelance writer, longtime Park City resident and the proud owner of two rescued Dalmatians, Stanley and Willis. The opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the writer. Follow her on Twitter @amycroberts.