New year, new resolutions to break. New goals unreached; new dreams dashed. Ugh. Sorry to be such a bummer, but that’s how I feel about New Year resolutions. I don’t make them and, therefore, I don’t break them. What I do instead is to set little goals for myself all year long. These realistic and manageable goals can be anything at all. When I reach them, I feel better about myself and am inspired to continue setting more little goals. Would I love to, say, lose 20 pounds by March? Hell, yeah! Will I? It’s very doubtful, but aiming to lose five pounds in January is doable and will give me the impetus to do the same for February. Little goals. I’ve learned over a lifetime to not be grandiose with my resolutions.
Another thing I’ve learned about January is that almost everyone’s hopes are high for achieving positive change in their lives. Gym memberships soar in early January – and then wane like the crowds playing Question eight on the app HQ. (You don’t know HQ? It’s a trivia app that launched several months ago and has taken the world – yes, the entire world, by storm. I’ve been involved in HQ games where nearly one million people were playing. There is money at stake, but it’s not a lot, thus far. The win is for bragging rights and, so far, I haven’t won. So, I’m not bragging, but I promise you that you’ll hear about it if I ever do win!) Sales of exercise equipment go up in January and more diets are planned on January 1 than at any other time of the year. There’s none of that for me, this year. But I did make a New Year resolution, of sorts. The one thing I am resolving to have this year is hope. I lost it last year and spent nearly every day in a funk of despair. At a time when everyone is hating on social media, I have found it to be a source of hope. First off, I came to realize that I’m not alone in my despair. I also learned that it was hope that had gone out of my life. This hadn’t occurred to me until I read a tweet from Cher. (I don’t follow many celebrities on social media. Cher is one of the few who I do follow. She’s smart and funny and, yup, it was she who gave me hope when she sent out a tweet wishing her followers a happy, hopeful New Year. That tweet made me sit up and take notice. Hope was what had been missing. A number of things caused my world to fall apart and for my hope to disappear. I’d never been a despairing person, but 2017 will go down as one of the worst years of my life. Cher’s tweet made me realize what was gone. Can one manufacture hope in the face of despair? No pun intended, but I hope so. I think it’s a matter of changing one’s perspective and acting to effect change too. I did the latter, every day last year. I fought until I had no fight left. I took the little victories as huge and monumental and then my hope was dashed at the next loss. I’m changing my perspective this year, or trying to, at least. Thank you, Cher, for helping me see the light – and the fact that there is hope.
Back to social media — a couple of months ago something weird happened on my Instagram account (Melodyeverbeautiful.) Someone had created an “imposter account,” using a misspelling of my Instagram name that was close enough for people to think it was me. They also used my Instagram profile photo, followed people I followed and sent out odd direct messages from this account. Several of my followers wrote to me privately saying they’d gotten random and strange messages from me and realized it was an imposter account. To say I reacted rationally to this would be untrue. I was enraged! I wrote to Instagram alerting them to this account and asked them to shut it down. I posted about the account on Instagram and asked my followers to report it to shut it down. I wrote to my Instagram followers and told them the messages were not from me. (This was a major chore. I actually compared my followers to the ones that followed the bogus account and wrote to each and every one of them. I had more followers at that time having since purged several hundred people in an effort to protect my account.) I reached out directly to people I don’t know and it was difficult for me. I prefer to be behind the scenes as an observer and chronicler. Most of my friends would be surprised to hear me describe myself as shy, well, except for the very few who know me very well. But this Instagram mishap made me reach out to strangers as and not to hide behind a carefully curated social media profile. And you know what happened? I made friends! That sounds silly, I know. Friends on social media, pshaw! But it happened. Some of my followers rose to the occasion to help me, reported the offending account to Instagram and supported me with kind words and understanding. I am usually so careful about how I come across on social media, I hide behind the photos and the words. Allowing my true emotions to come through helped me engage with people through a medium that’s not terribly friendly. One of the people who came through for me in a big way – with supportive words, understanding and an adept way with graphics (she made my text messages into eye-catching photos for a platform that favors photos) was embracingyourgrace. If you’re on Instagram, follow her. She’s fantastic and posts honest, heartfelt and inspirational words and photos about being a 50-something mom who loves life. She’s smart, funny, charming and completely honest. In fact, she’s taken Instagram to a whole other level, in my opinion, utilizing photos AND words. Sometimes she writes as if no one is reading; raw, honest prose, and at other times, her words are meant for an audience who looks to her for inspiration and, again, honesty. I admire her ability to be herself on social media and I am honored to be her friend.
This post was supposed to be about New Year resolutions and tips to keep them. It turned into something else entirely, even if I’m not completely certain about what it is. I’ll save those New Year resolution-keeping tips for another day. After all, it’s only January 2. Most of us who make New Year resolutions are still going strong. So, with that, I wish you a happy, hopeful New Year, filled with supportive friends, especially those who show up in the most unlikely of places and who gift you with their honesty and understanding.
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