I like the idea of resolutions, except that I am notoriously bad at keeping them and notoriously dependant on time frames. No point starting a new routine on a Tuesday, when Sunday is the first day of a new week!
This year I decided to give myself January to think about what I wanted to achieve this year and I finally succumbed to the industry of motivational books with glossy covers with badly drop shadowed text and set myself achievable goals, rather than my usual ‘It’d be really rad to wake up and look like Daphne Guinness, minus the “I’ll eat when I’m dead” attitude!’. So yeah, my goal for the last two years has been to somehow wake up looking like a tiny, leather-clad Pepé Le Pew. I like to aim high.
I hate that the people who write those books are right. I’ve made an un-paid career out of mocking the earnest and overly Americanised tones of books like that. Their relentless velvet-gloved tough love reminds me of high school PE teachers. People like that hate people like me, it’s like every fit, self-motivated person received the memo that I wasn’t allowed to continue with PE in high school past a certain point because rather than doing gymnastics, I taught my friends to skank and sunbaked while having long discussion about the nature of the local music scene. Gym people look at me with a kind of sad sympathy, like they think I haven’t realised that a six-foot-something daydreamer is going to have massive co-ordination issues. Oh, I get it gym people, I got it the moment I managed to lose an iPod in a treadmill.
Yesterday I had a really interesting conversation about motivation and the areas in my life in which I have none. I always assumed that to change, or achieve goals, the idea has to be there, then the motivation and then the action and so I struggle taking action when there’s no motivation. I’d never considered that actually, the idea is there, then you start making moves to achieve it, and when you’ve taken a few steps and maybe seen some results, then the motivation comes. Thinking like that takes the pressure right off.
A few days ago I got an email in response to one I’d sent about my life post-uni and there was one line in it that really hit home: ‘I know everything seems like chaos right now – but I always felt excited by the possibilities of life when we were together’.
Suddenly I realised I don’t need to become anything, I just need to start being myself again. The myself who believed in myself (with lines like that, I’m practically qualified to write a motivational book), the myself circa 2005 who didn’t even know who The Honourable Daphne Diana Joan Suzannah Guinness was and my hair was black with a white streak not because of her, but because I told my hairdresser that I knew I could never have his white boy afro, but I’d be damned if I didn’t want her to make me look like I was going grey like Buzz Osborne of Mevins.
If you didn’t know me then, I was okay. I had great eyebrows and a penchant for typing up deep and meaningful song lyrics in Courier New and sticking them above my desk, for taking Polaroids of cherry blossoms at night and for the garb of Russian Orthodox priests. I did Honours in English for no reason other than that I deeply loved my supervisor and deeply loved how it felt to exercise my brain while struggling through books with titles like Philosophy in the Feminine. I was never lazy mentally or physically. I walked 6kms almost every day, I volunteered at a shambolically run art gallery and would starve myself all day so I could go to Pizza Hut and have the buffet and cry with laughter from the sugar high on the way home. I had crazy hair, sometimes it was flaming red, short at the back, long at the front and had patches shaved almost down to the skin and when the dye would fade, I looked like an oak tree in autumn. Sometimes I went to the pub in my pyjamas, sometimes I went in a fake moustached disguise. I had a strong self of self, no matter how inexplicable that self might have been. I cared less and grinned with excitement more and nothing around me now is different, the change is all in my head.
So a few people have been asking about my plans for the year, and they are, without specifics, to try very hard not to rest on my laurels and to remember that the shell changed, but whatever is inherently “me” never really did and all of this begins on February 1.