I love making New Year’s resolutions so much I’d make them every month if I could. Sure, time is a colonialist construct, and we might be living in the simulation, but whatever! We all need more excuses to think about how we want to be better people, even if we’re back on our bullsh*t come February. But I didn’t make my usual sweeping resolutions this year.
Because I’ve conditioned myself to think of January as a month for self-evaluation, I had hoped to get something grand done in the week off before New Year’s Day. December is a despicable, overstuffed month with too many parties and last-ditch efforts to make good on yearly goals. It’s a month of heightened expectations and compound exhaustion. All month I waited for a morsel of inspiration, something that would feel significant or mark the time. I wasn’t particularly disciplined in my search, but I listened to podcasts, read a devastating memoir, and tried yoga at three new studios. I read an essay about Japanese architecture and the importance of appreciating shadows. I reminded myself all the crazy things that happened in the last 12 months, just to make sure I would remember to keep fighting.
No revelations were forthcoming. I spent the last week at home with my kids, listening to music, cooking, and performing chores like doing laundry and cleaning the junk drawer. It wasn’t dramatic or remarkable — but, as it turns out, the quotidian tasks that keep me rooted in my own life were exactly what I needed to be doing.
Standing in front of my kitchen sink preparing the 120th family meal of the week, I realized the straightforward nothingness of domestic life — the chopping of parsley and wiping of counters — made me feel connected to myself in a way that was, for lack of a better word, satisfying. For the first time in months I felt rested, relaxed.
On Instagram I saw the illustrator Julia Rothman post a list titled “More/Less” for 2019. In one column she listed what she hoped for more of in the coming year, in another column she wrote the things she wanted less of. These were not resolutions per se, there were no grand promises, just a small set of expressed desires. More, and less. The gesture suited my current mood, so I took out some paper and made my own very simple list to keep inside my closet so every morning I will be reminded: more olive oil, more Hermès, more ocean swimming, more time with friends.
Happy New Year. May 2019 be full of small happinesses that make you feel connected to your own humanity — and may you carry that into the world.
Stella’s fantasy Hermès bracelet lineup for 2019, shown in photo at top: Gold-plated and alligator bracelet, $1,900; Kelly rose gold and diamond bracelet, $10,800; Infinity leather bracelet, $470; Rose gold bracelet, $10,800; Red leather bracelet, $470; Enamel hinged XL bracelet, $830, all available at hermes.com.