Val jumps out of bed on January 1 with zeal and determination. Her New Year’s Resolution to lose weight is shiny and new, just like the year. It’s a fresh start. Time to make positive changes.
“I can do this,” she says as she waits for the coffee machine to dispense her morning cup of wake-me-up.
She eyes the sweetener which has always given her cup that perfect balance of bitter and sweet. Today, it looks back at her with an evil grin. If she’s going to lose weight, she needs to cut all the sugar.
She wrinkles her nose at the first sip. Ugh. It’s bitter. “I’ll get used to it.” She suffers through this unpleasant liquid start to her day, while patting herself on the back for her resolve.
In the washroom, she slips out of her nightdress to swap the satiny sheath for more appropriate pandemic daytime pajamas. She makes herself look in the mirror before dressing. She hates what she sees. She sucks in her stomach and pulls the skin back from her waist to demonstrate the desirable outcome of her 2021 Resolution. She clenches her jaw. Enough is enough. It’s time to do something about this sagging, flabby mess.
She accidentally looks up. Her reflection glares at her, silently reminding her that her eyelashes are thinning, and eyelash extension businesses are not deemed essential. Says who? She’s going to look ridiculous as each beautiful lash falls out one by one.
Her skin is dry, but shiny. How is that possible?
Her dark roots peek out from the blond to mock her. Apparently, hair salons are not essential either.
The delicious scent of bacon drifts under the washroom door. Val finishes dressing and follows the smell to the kitchen where her husband is making breakfast.
“I’m making bagel sandwiches. Do you want one?” He cracks an egg into the pan and adds the cheese slice to the open bagel face in the toaster oven.
Her stomach growls.
“No, I’d better not,” she says, turning away from the temptation. She grabs an apple and heads to the bedroom to start her morning devotions.
She opens her Bible app on her iPad. The chosen reading plan blurs in front of her eyes. She reread that paragraph three times now, and she still didn’t know what it was about. The bacon smell had a hypnotic effect that wasn’t easily shaken off.
She lit a candle which soon filled the room with a pleasant cranberry scent. Funny how her favorite smells were food-inspired.
Her Christmas holidays were almost over. She had a list as long as her arm of things she wanted to get done. Maybe if she stayed up for the next 72 hours, she’d get everything accomplished. She put aside her iPad. She’d have to do this later.
The hours flew by. Val crossed things off her list as she got them done, knowing this should make her feel better; but she seemed to add more things than she crossed off. She still hadn’t made time to exercise and wasn’t sure where she could fit it in. She’d have to sacrifice a few items. She studied her list to choose which things left undone would bother her least.
Her stomach growled angrily. The salad she had for lunch had long since been digested. But she would hold out until dinnertime. She must.
A beam of sunshine lit up the room, and she peeked over the rim of her reading glasses to acknowledge it. As she did, she caught sight of her day’s trail of to-dos. The sewing machine sat on the table where she had started mending the duvet cover. Piles of laundry blocked the exit to her house where she had started sorting colors. Her iPad and journal still lay on the chair, reminding her that she hadn’t finished her morning reading. The jug of cleaner and a rag sat next to the bathroom door waiting for attention.
“It’s a beautiful day,” her husband says, wrapping his arms around her from behind. “Want to go for a drive?”
Val pushes him away snapping, “Who has time for a drive? It must be nice to have nothing to do.”
She tries not to notice his quiet retreat to the foyer. She tries not to feel bad as he slips out to the car alone.
She sighs as she surveys her unfinished tasks. Maybe some music would help. She turns the volume up to drown out her thoughts. What had she been doing? Oh yes, figuring out what tasks to leave until another day so she could squeeze in a workout. Pen in hand, she turned the paper over and started a grocery list. They were out of fresh fruit. What’s a diet without fresh fruit?
She finished sorting the laundry and popped the darks into the washer. A glance at the clock signaled it was already time to start dinner prep. A healthy meal would take longer to prepare. She looked longingly at her wine glass. A lovely glass of red always made cooking a more enjoyable experience. No. Empty calories was not the path to weight loss.
As she chopped up veggies, her phone screen lit up with a message from her mom. It had been a week or more since she touched base with her parents. She’d have to add that to her list.
Dinner was a beautiful success; the perfect balance of meat and vegetables in appropriate portions. Her husband even praised her efforts as he wolfed it down. She was nearly too tired to enjoy it, recognizing that she still had so much to do before bed.
While her kitchen elf cleaned up, she sat with her laptop to finish the email from her boss that she had started reading on her phone while brushing her teeth after lunch. The opening screen showed the files she still needed to edit for the community newspaper. The deadline for submission to the printer was in two days. Being Editor was a big job for a volunteer role, but it was interesting and she felt good about contributing to the community.
Words flashed in the Facebook tab. One of her sons had sent a message to their family group chat. Before she clicked to open the tab, her phone dinged on the couch beside her. The children’s pastor at her church had just sent the curriculum for Sunday’s Zoom call with the small group Val taught bi-weekly.
Val put down the laptop and filled a wine glass with water and cranberry juice in the hopes of tricking her body into thinking she was relaxing with a nice glass of red wine after dinner. Then she tackled all the tabs. Well, she got to two of them, and the dryer’s melody signaled that her laundry was done. She needed to unload the machine before everything wrinkled. Goodness knows she didn’t have time for ironing.
At midnight, Val closed her laptop and headed to bed. Her husband had tucked in hours ago. She detoured around a pile of whites that didn’t get washed tonight and turned the lights off in the dining room, but not before noticing the sewing machine still sitting on the table, guarding her duvet cover.
Ugh. Her husband must have grabbed a quilt from the linen closet since the duvet wasn’t fixed.
As she brushed her teeth, she lamented that she had not made time for exercise after all. A side view of her body in the mirror mocked her lack of resolve. But at least she had eaten well today. Everything that had gone into her body had been healthy. Tomorrow she would do better.
In her exhaustion, she fell into a deep sleep in the middle of her prayer, “Lord, give me strength to keep my resolution to –”
No, it’s not that bad. Truly. (But don’t ask Hubby to verify that.)
In fact, writing this little scenario caused my body stress. My word for 2020 was TIME. So, I’ve made some changes during this past year regarding the use of my time. I’ve stepped out of my Sunday School role, and I’ve put in my resignation as Editor of the local newspaper. I’m working on using my time wisely, which includes spending quality moments with others and resting too. I’ve been getting 7 hours of sleep most nights!
S-E-V-E-N! I used to function with 5.
Now it’s a new year. I need a New Resolution for 2021, right?
Nope. I don’t do Resolutions. When people make resolutions, it often comes from a place of discontent and guilt that they are not the person they think they should be. It sometimes reflects self-hatred even. They start the year with gusto – this will be the year that I lose that weight! (Likely the most common NYR.) Then, every treat or unhealthy choice comes with guilt. Every day they don’t make time for exercise makes them feel worse. After a few days of what they deem failure, they give up. They slip back into their old ways, chalking up another failed attempt as one more reason to dislike themselves.
And, seriously, a Resolution about weight loss wouldn’t fix all the issues in Val’s life that she needs to work on!
My word for 2021 is BALANCE. It is still related to TIME, since I’m still working on that, but it is so much more. I strive for balance in every area of my life. That includes healthy eating, exercise, rest, and relationship-building. It includes glorifying God and representing Him well as His daughter. It includes loving life and loving myself as His creation. This is not a Resolution which will cause me guilt or make me feel like a failure when I can’t meet my own expectations. It’s about achieving balance in all things. If I lose weight in that pursuit, that will be a happy bonus!
I’m claiming a chapter in the Bible as mine for 2021: Proverbs 4. I’m sure you’ll read insights here on Val’s Stage as I break it down. For now, I leave you with the verse that stood out right away:
I might only be walking at the first gleam of dawn in my path to righteousness, but I’ve captured some really amazing photos of sunrises over the past few months, and that gleam always grows into a burst of brilliant sunshine.
Are you ready to shine with me, Daughter of God?
How do you feel about resolutions? If you made one, I encourage you to pursue it in a healthy way. Balance your goals with the quest to enjoy your life as well.
If you also have the habit of claiming a word for each new year, I’d love to hear your word for 2021. Drop me a line in the Comments below!