new year, same me
Ahoy hoy and Feliz Año Neuvo!
You’ve probably seen ads or received emails bearing some version of the message New Year, New You. That’s an interesting thought, right? That we magically change at the stroke of midnight on December 31st? Of course you have to buy ABC or sign up for XYZ or get coached by so-and-so in order to make it happen.
This all got me thinking about Nacho Vigalondo’s film, Timecrimes. In this Spanish-language sci-fi thriller, a regular dude named Hector ends up accidentally traveling through time one hour into the past. As a result, he ends up facing a formidable series of enemies: different versions of himself.
I used to think that getting sober was just like any other kind of resolution—it was a form of self-improvement that could only be achieved by sheer force of will. Like Hector, I saw different versions of myself, and most of them were really shitty and needed to be murdered. These other Tabithas were weak, they were sloppy, and through grim determination alone they could be replaced by the new, better Tabitha who went to bed early and drank lots of water. So guess how well that all went?
As fun as the multiverse theory is (and having just watched Everything Everywhere All at Once I can tell you it is a ton of fun!) there’s actually just one version of you and me in this time and place. We don’t split off into different people, some deserving of love (the healthy sober ones) and others who should be stabbed (the dirtbag drunk ones). I am large, I contain volumes. I’m both the healthy Tabitha who eats tofu for dinner and the dirtbag Tabitha who used to save the smelly, unsmoked halves of my cigarettes “for later”. Unlike Hector, I am not going to fight these parts of me, I am going to make an effort to understand them.
I bring this all up today because there’s so much pressure to DO BETTER in January. Especially if you’re dealing with addiction. It’s like you have to make some big dramatic resolution. My theory about resolutions is that they should be both attainable and fun. For example, my resolution this year is to watch Paris, Texas. These kinds of resolutions take the pressure off, but they still give you the satisfaction of achieving a goal.
Because the big changes, like getting sober and getting to a better place mental health-wise, were all gradual, and they only were able to happen because I stopped seeing myself as a BEFORE and AFTER, but rather a RIGHT NOW.
So if you feel like it, set a goal to do something fun/interesting/pleasant. Here are some ideas to get you started:
Listen to Devo
Watch one of the Sight and Sound Greatest 100 Films of All Time
Go to the library and take out a book that would impress your teen self
Thanks for reading Back From the Dead! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.
Until next time,