By: Susan-Katherine Scorkran, columnist
Unless your New Year’s resolutions have included shunning social media, you have probably already stumbled upon the updates, posts, and shares all latching onto the same revered goal of 2018—perfecting the body. Whether this means shedding pounds until the bathroom scale’s daily numbers conform to the imposed standards or gaining muscles at a superhero serum-induced rate, the goal of achieving the “perfect” body is quite the recycled objective. Each January brings a wave of newly-bought gym memberships while salad fixings and rice cakes find their way into shopping carts. It seems like a social convention, or collective punishment, after a festive season of sugar cookies and exam stress snacking.
My objection to this common goal is not born out of annoyance from repeated gym-selfie spam filling my feeds. Instead, what I object to is the idea that all of us are nothing more than a handful of measurements (weight, waistline, and on and on) that must be changed until we are “perfect.” I propose an alternative to this resolution: seeking peace over “perfection” and stable, good health over someone else’s demands for your body.
Everyone has their own unique needs in life—from how many calories our body requires to make it through the day to the kinds of rest needed to keep our mental health in check. There is no one magic diet or gym routine that is tailored for all mankind—so there should not be one set of standards to which we hold ourselves and others. Ultimately, the way we treat others and ourselves is the only thing that can offer a lasting form of beauty. That simply cannot be found within a photo or a mirror’s reflection.
The beginning of a new year is also not the only time that we should examine our life, our choices, and our satisfaction with what we have accomplished in our time here. Each day is a new chance to set goals, however great or small, and work towards achieving them. Perhaps this means taking the time to read a new book, just for fun, instead of idly surfing YouTube. It could mean finding the courage to go to an unfamiliar club or school activity that you worried you would be too shy to join before. Maybe it is even as small as just sitting outside for a moment or two and enjoying this unique time in our lives. As college students, we have chances available to us that we won’t have again later in life. Instead of staring anxiously at the shape of our bodies, it would be time well spent to actively take part in shaping our life experiences.
Graphic by Billy Ferguson