There’s always room for improvement, right? But I worry about the state of humankind every time January 1st rolls around. People begin compiling lists of New Year’s resolutions, and that gets me to twitchin’. Whether or not I’m a little bit psychic is debatable (see: Madame Fortuna Knows All), but I bet I can predict the Top 5 resolutions on most people’s lists, and in order. Ready? Here we go:
- Lose weight/get in shape/go to the gym (all basically the same thing)
- Quit smoking
- Get organized
- Be the best _______ (parent, spouse, taxidermist, etc.)
- Be happier
If you need assistance achieving these goals, should you remain steadfast in your convictions for longer than a week, there are plenty of resources out there. On Amazon.com, there are no fewer than 214,733 self-help books and 38,311 self-help videos. At my local Barnes and Noble, the self-help section consists of 3 huge bookcases, 5 shelves each, packed with titles on being better, getting better, having better… By my count, that’s a total of 100 million-trillion guides for improving ourselves. [Full disclosure: I’m no math whiz.]
I’m all for good health so, if you want to get in shape or quit smoking, you have my blessing. As for the rest of those resolutions, I would suggest you ask yourself the following questions before you start sweating over them:
- “Am I really disorganized, or is my chaos a representation of my under-appreciated whimsical genius?”
- “Do I really need to be the best at everything? Can’t I just be good enough?”
- “Do I really need to be happier? What is happier, anyway?”
Personally, I resent the self-help industry for its relentless badgering. Aside from my “being” being nobody else’s bee’s wax but mine, all this focus on our shortcomings, and the efforts to correct them, are counter-productive, in my opinion.
For example, let’s say I’ve convinced myself (through the encouragement of lifestyle gurus on the radio and television) that organizing my clutter will make more time for me (me! ME!), thereby allowing a stress-free life with more opportunity for the pursuit of enjoyable and fulfilling activities (such as cooking classes, Pilates, and navel gazing), all of which will add to my overall general bliss.
Now, how am I supposed to be become more organized if I add gym visits, meditations, and Fondue 101 to my schedule? And won’t gooey, melted cheese make my ass fat? And when will I get around to reading all those other books about everything else that’s wrong with me? Can you imagine the amount of time and organization it would take to make more time to organize my organizational meditative happiness? Um…what?!
We have become so convinced of our hapless under-achieving, that rectifying our faults and foibles is now big business. Well, I’m not buying.
If “fixing” each and every person would really make the world a better place in which to live, then let me offer ten self-help tips that will truly improve the quality of this life. They are easy and don’t require any time commitment:
- Hold the door for the person behind you.
- Treat waiters and waitresses with respect.
- Don’t fart in elevators.
- Chew with your mouth closed.
- Promptly return what you borrow, particularly money.
- Use your car’s horn to alert others of danger, and not as a tool to express your negative emotions.
- Eat a salad once in a while.
- RSVP for cryin’ out loud!!!!
- Keep your promises.
- Be kinder…to everyone…especially yourself.
I observe these tips and I’m pretty satisfied with the way I am. Don’t set yourself up for disappointment by expecting more from me. This is State-of-the-art Anita.
So, I hope you take comfort and joy in knowing that you don’t need to be perfect, your house doesn’t need to look like a page from Architectural Digest and even the Victoria’s Secrets models don’t look like Victoria’s Secrets models. So, you don’t have bother trying to either.
And as you embark on 2014, here’s wishing you a perfectly adequate New Year.