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Here are my resolutions for the year of 2023!
Yes, I should be finishing my book, but I've found something else to do!
New year, new me? No, I’m not doing that this year. This year I’m doing things differently. No, that’s not right. This year I’m just doing it. I’m going to wake up each day and whatever happens, happens. As long as I’m doing everything with heart and decency, to the very best of my abilities, I’m going to leave the cards to fall however. I know who I am. I know what I’m about. Of course, I have OCD. That’s a big flavour in the cooking pot of me. But better to know, eh? You didn’t for years and years. And yes, these resolutions might be broken by mid-day. But you know what? I’ll just go again. I’ll pick myself up and go again. And I’ll keep going. Why are you talking about yourself in the third person? Talk about that in therapy this week, maybe.
Tell me your resolutions! Here are mine!
Avoid getting sucked into batshit culture war nonsense.Yes, there are many ways that you, a lifelong liberal progressive, feel the new leftist ideology is largely harmful and regressive... but getting involved only makes you crazy and sad. Go outside and touch grass instead. Nobody ever won an argument on Twitter. Ever. Okay, maybe Greta Thunberg did, but other than that. The business model of Twitter is based on disagreement. You’re better than that. Just use that wretched platform to tell people about things you’ve written, drawn and podcasts you’ve made. Or ranting about Doncaster Rovers at a weekend. Give yourself that. You’re only human.
The only thing to fear is fear itself. The 32nd president of the United States, Franklin D. Roosevelt, said that during his inauguration in 1933. What he was trying to do was inspire Americans ravaged by the Great Depression. He could easily have been talking about your life and your OCD. Weird if he was though. Obviously, your brain won’t respond to this logically, because you have OCD and the illness isn’t logical, but you’re not someone who people think is a paedophile. Or a serial killer. Or anything else that’s crazy that you obsess about. You’re a nice-ish man with a thought disorder.
Be gentle with yourself. Yes, I know you hate that phrase because you’re from the industrial north and you had a lot of your innate softness kicked – often literally – out of you at school. And the only time you ever remember your dad saying he loved you, he punctuated it with “but I don’t like you”. Can I get a small violin in here please? And in truth, the only thing that’s kept you going all these years is that remarkable – yes, that was a complement about yourself - strength you have in your gut. But you need to sleep. You need to eat right. Live. Laugh. Love. AGGGGGGGGH.
Your dad did love you. And you adored him. Yes, he shouldn’t have punched you in the face and told you he enjoyed playing “mind games” with you, but you could have had a worse dad. Much worse. Fred West had kids. Now those people have something to moan about. He did the best with what he had. Not Fred. Your dad. You know this.
You have a problem with food. Accept it. It isn’t normal to eat until you’re sick and with tears streaming down your face. You’ve got help coming. Well done for making the call. You know it’s not greed that makes you binge, but linked to your brain and the problems within it. Don’t beat yourself up. You’ve had problems with substances before. Not smack or anything, but you did used to smoke a lot of weed and you drank Dr. Pepper almost every day. When was the last time you drank any Dr. Pepper? Exactly. Go gentle with yourself. AGGGGGGH. But self-flagellation leads to more shame. Shame leads to more gluttony. But do try to stop eating so many fried egg sandwiches. You’ll lose some weight and you’ll feel better. You might also live longer too, and we have established now that you don’t want to die. Speaking of which…
Let’s make 2023 a year where you don’t try to kill yourself. It’s exhausting. You freak everyone out. You’ve spent too much time stood on railway tracks, normally in Acton. Why whenever you have an episode do you head to Acton? You’re weird. Read the words that follow carefully. Really carefully. Take your time, because this is the most important resolution on the whole list. Yes, I’m aware that in the moment – those awful, wretched moments - you want the thoughts to stop, but they’re just moments. They’ve always passed. You just learned a great bit of wisdom from that book you’re enjoying by Joe Tracini. “Just wait”. See what happens tomorrow.
You don’t need everyone to like you. You don’t like everyone, as much as you try to, and history has proved - it really, really, really, really, really, really has - that some people don’t like you, so cut it out, because you haven’t been very good at trying to make everyone like you anyway! Being liked makes you feel safe, but that’s an OCD reassurance and it’s time to be free of it. History has also proved that some people do like you. Quite a lot, actually. They’ve stuck around for ages. But anyway, as long as your wife, mum, brothers, and friends like you - and commissioning editors, of course... commission me please I’m skint - that’ll do. Anyone beyond that is a bonus.
Be authentically you. Stop starting every year by thinking, “this year I’m going to get it right”. This year will be whatever plays out. That’s the key to OCD recovery, remember? Acceptance. An ease with uncertainty. Learning to just be. Every year of your life that you remember living, you’ve started the year by thinking “everything will be okay if I’m more like this”. Or “if only I could be more like that person, things will be better”. You’re 42 now. You are what you are, and there’s nothing especially wrong with you beyond the OCD. You like football. Potatoes. Doncaster Rovers (usually). Punk rock. Videogames. Wrestling. You’re very emotional. You spill your guts. You think about things deeply. You really care about people. These aren’t bad things. If the world doesn’t like these things, maybe it’s the world’s fault. But it’s a big world, so find a bit of it that does like and value these things.
Go to Chessington World of Adventures. You’ve always wanted to go, ever since you were little. It’s literally an hour and a half away. They haven’t had an accident in ages. In the Spring they’re opening a Jumanji themed section. You love Jumanji! You don’t have to ask anyone’s permission. You’re an adult. Just go. Have fun!
Stop making lists. Go finish your book. Literally nothing else matters for a bit. Not podcasts. Not pitches. Not doing the dishes. Did you hear that wife? I don’t have to do the dishes for a month. Cool? Cool. Your publisher is expecting the manuscript in four weeks. You can do it. Remember what FDR said. “I pledge you, I pledge myself, to a New Deal for the American people…” No, not that, the fear thing…