There are two different schools of thought when it comes to Resolutions for the New Year. The first thinks your goals should be concrete and measurable so that you can see what you’ve accomplished; the second thinks they should be intentions rather than goals so that you don’t get discouraged by numbers. Well, three schools I guess, since the third thinks they’re bullshit entirely. I used to be that third school! Now I’m a mix of the first two because turning thirty has turned me into the kind of woman who drinks lattes and sometimes reads motivational quotes, nodding her head like she feels it. Anyway, my goals last year went okayish, if not as well as I’d hoped, but I figure rather than giving up on all those refresh-and-renew New Year feelings, I’d just keep trying! Because trying is cool!
Since I’m trying to mix those two schools, I’m thinking of intentions as lofty, abstract, and aspirational, while goals are manageable, actionable, and calculable.
ADULTHOOD: Plan, execute, follow-through. Be a thirty-one year old adult. Kick being an adult’s ass. Be a Super Adult. Or like, at least be a better adult. Use your gym membership. Do laundry regularly instead of like you’re putting out a laundry fire. Plan meals for the week. Clean out the fridge and go grocery shopping. Develop a routine. Pick up your shoes. Floss. Make lists and actually do the things on them. You know, all that boring crap that actually makes your life better.
BETTER CHOICES: Choose better. Not perfect choices. Not even good choices, just better ones. Choose for the long-term instead of the immediate. If there is a choice, make the smarter one. If there are a lot of choices, narrow them down and make the smartest one. Making choices that make my life better and help me to take care of myself including meditation over griping, mindful eating over eating to survive, and moving my dumb body instead of slowly turning to stone. Choose well and above all, choose to be kind. To the planet, to others, and to myself.
FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY: Make thoughtful purchases instead of impulsive ones. Save money whenever possible, including the Reverse 52 Week Savings Plan. Avoid the unnecessary. I am not, nor will I ever be a minimalist, but good lord do I just have enough stuff. We are pretty good about picking through our things and making regular donations, but I want to be better about not buying back-ups and collecting things that just end up collecting dust. One In, One Out isn’t realistic for us, but I think Less In, More Out will be the way of the year.
JOURNAL EVERY SINGLE DAY: This sounds more like a punishment than a goal, but is something I want to do because I am getting old and I would like to maybe understand my feelings and also remember things that happen in my life. Crystal and I also got the Our Q&A to start around the wedding, but we are not good at follow-through, so that’s another thing I’d like to commit to and add to our routine. Feelings are gross and should be banned, but until then, this is how I will try to deal with them.
100 WORDS A DAY: I write so rarely now that I hesitate to even call myself a writer anymore and that bums me out, like, a lot. So I’m starting small. I probably story-tell well over 100 words a day already easy, but I have to put some of those words down on paper every day. Just 100 of them! This can include the journaling, but should also mean at least some prompted writing or work on one of my books.
55 BOOKS: I read 53 last year and got a butt-load of Amazon gift cards for Christmas, so I think this one is super doable.
3 SEASONS OF TV & 20 MOVIES: They have to be new to me because re-watching doesn’t expand my knowledge-base. I also just want to generally seek out more tv and movies that interest me. I watched some stuff I really loved last year, but not nearly as much as I have in the past. Part of that is just having a full-time job and not being so sickly that all I can do is sit on my couch and watch cool stuff (which is obviously awesome) and part of it is just laziness (which is not).
BLOG AT LEAST ONCE EVERY TWO WEEKS: I just, you know, need to get it together. This also includes revamping the look of this place to match my awesome new url/name and also just, like, because it hasn’t been updated in way too long and it’s starting to get super embarrassing.
Resolution culture is garbage. It is a New Year, but you do not have to be a New You. You are wonderful and you don’t have to change jack shit if you don’t want to.
But if you want to make a change, the New Year isn’t a bad time to, right? New Year, fresh start, all that stuff. You’re the same person you were last year, but with maybe a little extra motivation.
I spent 2014 making some very big and serious changes to my life partially because I got The Cancer, but also because I was well enough to have a full-time job and sort of behave like an actual Adult Human for the first time in my life, which is kind of cool.1
So, since 2015 is upon us and I did pretty damn good making changes last year, I’m taking my New Year’s Motivation and making some resolutions and sharing them with you. Fun, yeah?
1. Write More
I’m a writer! But I basically forget to write. I cram blogs in at the last second and I forget how much I actually enjoy writing them. When I write one blog, I feel urged and excited to write more of them. I should, you know, follow that instinct. I also write fiction! And, to be fair, I verbally and text-message-ually write almost every single day because I tell my girlfriend stories of all shapes and kinds, but I don’t write enough of those stories down. I have a finished novel I should edit and try to, like, sell and another that’s got a solid shape and tons of ideas scribbled down in a million places. I want to do something with them. I love words. I need to write more of them down.
Concrete Goal: Write 100 words a day! Edit/re-write my MFA book.
2. Consume More
I read and watch a pretty fair amount but I want to consume more and I want to consume things more intentionally. I like liking things and I want to find more things to like. Simple.
Concrete Goal: One new movie every two weeks, three new episodes of TV a week, 50 books this year, and more comics! Update listography and goodreads regularly, including a small review for each book I finish this year. Try to hit at least some of these diversity challenges.
3. Keep Moving and Feeding This Body
I work out frequently — sometimes six times a week! — and I have gotten much better at feeding myself in a way that satisfies my body and doesn’t make me miserable. I want to eat burgers and fries for every meal, but it turns out that my gastrointestinal system doesn’t exactly feel great when I do that? Crazy. Also, I kind of like how I feel after I work out. Gross, right?
Concrete Goal: Keep food journaling, meal planning, and going to the gym. Keep on keeping on.
I also want to be less envious and subtweet-y. I hate how often being cranky makes me think everything is dumb, but it’s kind of hard to resolve to like, be an entirely different human being than you are? And to come up with goals more concrete than “Be less of a dick.”
I am going to try to ask myself “Do you really want to say that?” before letting things loose on the world via social media. And also try to think, “That’s nice” when someone is enjoying something, even if I’m not into it. I love enthusiastic and joyful people! I don’t need to be a passive-aggressive bummer. I want to lift people up whenever possible or at the very least try harder not to drag them down, indirectly or otherwise. I am not a beacon of sunshine and I will never be, but I can strive to, you know, shut up a little more frequently when I’m in a mood.
Are you making resolutions? Are they as boring as mine? Did you resolve to become a superhero? That’d be pretty cool, to be honest.
1: I would way, way rather be sitting on my couch marathoning TV shows, but we can’t have everything.
Here’s something most people I know wouldn’t expect of me: at 12:01am on Friday June 29, my butt was firmly planted in a seat at our local AMC, ready to watch Magic Mike. And I was EXCITED. And a little drunk. But REALLY EXCITED, primarily, with or without the booze. Spoilers!
» more: movie monday — magic mike
I know that I am terribly remiss on my 30 Days of Narcissism meme-thing and that I haven’t even posted in forever, but I just started back to school on Thursday and everything is insane and I just want to talk about today, okay, STOP NAGGING ME OKAY.
Today was really stupid and horrible. I almost got into a really bad car accident on my way home from school after already having a FUCKING terrible day and I had to get off the freeway and park in some bank parking lot and cry and have a panic attack and I just wanted to lay down on the fire-hot pavement and melt into nothingness.
When I say “I almost got into a really bad car accident” what I mean is, “I changed lanes several hundred feet in front of a dude who decided to change into the same lane after I was three-quarters of the way into it and he got REAL AGGRESSIVE about it and tailgated me and then flew back into his lane and slammed around me in a manner that clearly communicated that he was trying to hit me on purpose.” We could not have been more than six inches from a serious accident at 75 miles per hour and if I had not slammed on my brakes, it would’ve been… bad. It was by far the closest I have ever come to an accident WITHOUT ACTUALLY HAVING THE ACCIDENT.
He then flew across the next three lanes of traffic and cut off another guy to exit the freeway.
And it’s like, man, I get PISSED in the car. I yell at people! I am a twenty-five-year-old adult woman who rolls down her window and yells at people while giving them aggressive middle fingers. I get it. Driving sucks 90% of the time and everyone else sucks at it and it’s just awful. IT IS AWFUL. The personal vehicle is probably the worst thing to happen to any of us in the modern age.
But who has that much anger? Enough to INTENTIONALLY attempt to cause an accident while moving at almost 80 mph? When the person didn’t even wrong you? Who is that angry about their life? What happened to that guy in that black Tahoe to make him THAT FURIOUS? That kind of aggression baffles me. I don’t ever want to make other human beings feel unsafe and after that bullshit today I think I’m going to make that an even more prominent effort on my part.
That said, I could’ve easily punched AN ENTIRELY SEPARATE TAHOE DRIVER (WHAT IS IT WITH TAHOES?!) in the FACE. She parked so close to me that she was actually all the way into my parking stall (The kind with the double lines! THE KIND WITH THE BUILT IN SPACE. SERIOUSLY.) and I couldn’t get into my car and I am too fat/uncoordinated/drive too small a car to climb across and I just didn’t know what to do with my life.
And then she comes out and tries to do that sheepish TEEHEE thing and it’s like, “Look, bitch, I know we all have things to do, but you need to reevaluate your life and understand that it would’ve taken you FOUR SECONDS to re-park when you realized what a shit job you did. FUCK YOU.” Paris Hilton couldn’t have climbed into my car, she was parked so close. Fuck that.
There should be a comprehensive driving and parking exam required before you can own or operate any vehicle larger than a fucking SmartCar.
So I was really upset about the duel Tahoe incidences and I was frustrated with school and life and ALL THE THINGS THAT ARE WRONG WITH EVERYTHING EVER and I just got tired and frustrated and defeated. And for once, I started thinking about why things are the way they are and why I’m feeling all these inconvenient feelings and I thought about MYSELF and about OTHER PEOPLE.
And I think it comes down to figurative breathing.
I’m not asking for like, a social revolution where people start being considerate and thoughtful of one another. I know that is probably beyond the scope of our abilities as humans. I am just as entitled and self-centered and awful as most of the other people moving around on the surface of this planet. I YELL AT PEOPLE WHEN THEY DRIVE BAD. I am often unkind and impatient and self-absorbed. I recognize those things and I am going to try to practice what I preach.
I’m just looking for, I think, the tiniest iota of AWARENESS. Self-awareness or external-awareness or what-the-fuck-ever awareness. Just two seconds out of your life to be like, “Hey, I’m being a dick” or “God, maybe that lady just had a really awful day” or even just taking TWO SECONDS TO TAKE A DEEP BREATH.
I’m just asking for a little cool-down here, guys. A two-second version of counting to ten. A breath. Just one. For everyone’s sake, including your own.
I’m calling it the Two Second Breath and I’m going to start practicing it immediately.
Guy cuts me off? Two second breath. Rude cashier? Two second breath. Internet idiocy? Two second breath. Political frustration? Two second breath.
I spend so much of my life being reactionary and I just think it’s exhausting. Everything is instantaneous — email, texts, calls, television, youtube, all of this media and communication flying at us all day long — and we (I. I. I.) get so wrapped up in responding promptly that I’ve stopped thinking. I react, I don’t respond. And maybe I can’t always count to ten, maybe it’s too hard or too frustrating or too long, but I can always count to two. I can take a two second breath and respond competently and confidently.
I don’t want to kill anyone with kindness. I don’t want to fake my way through life. I don’t want to be conflict and confrontation free. But I do want to think, respond, and relax a little because being always on, all the time is finally catching up with me.
I want to take a whole lot of two second breaths.
I would like to point out that I almost immediately regretted not calling it the three second breath upon publishing the post. Hate even numbers? TWO SECOND BREATHING OUT OF MY ASSHOLE FOR DAYS.
So, earlier this summer, I made a summer wishlist post with only one item on it — a god damn pool I NEVER GOT.
And it’s the second to last day of August now and the first draft of my book isn’t finished yet (I’m at 177 pages though, YEAH THAT IS RIGHT.) even though I set September 1st as my ABSOLUTE CONCRETE FINAL DEADLINE and I DO NOT WANT TO GO BACK TO SCHOOL but there’s still only one more thing on my summer wishlist:
Yeah, part two of my summer wishlist is for it to FUCKING BE OVER ALREADY. I don’t want to go back to school or have to leave the house for any reason other than Disneyland or hangs with the BFFs, but I am ready for my financial aid disbursement (I bought one gallon of gas today. ONE GALLON. Because that was LITERALLY all that I could afford. But at least I got that damn gallon.) and cooler weather and rain and for some other shit too, like:
STRAIGHT UP READY FOR SOME HALLOWEEN SHIT RIGHT NOW. Including:
How fucking awful are these? I made a sexy/trashy/stereotypical Native American costume for the GayBFF last year that was better than that thing!
Also ready for these:
And always ready for some of these:
Fuck yeah, FALL CLOTHES! TACKY SWEATERZ 4 LYFE.
Anyway, yeah, ready for some cooler weather! And some changing leaves and stuff. I always envision fall like some glorious orange, yellow, and red spectacle of color and breezes! Like Disney’s Pocahontas painting with all the colors of the wind and shit except with grandma cardigans and jeans and flip flops because let’s get real, I live in southern California and I am not putting on real shoes unless it is absolutely necessary. Except for the part where I LIVE IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA, so the chasm between dream and reality is pretty monstrous.
And also fall is starting RIGHT NOW. My bank parking lot was knee-high with leaves this weekend because the trees were like, “FUCK I AM TIRED OF HOLDING THIS SHIT UP. IS SUMMER EVER GOING TO END?!” and then got pissed and took a massive dump everywhere. Except it was a million degrees all last week, so it’s not red cable knit sweaters and running and high-kicking through the leaves and giggling, it’s stomping through sticky leaves basically barefoot in shorts and tank tops with sweat squirting out of your armpits like ejaculatory geysers. Fuck you, California, fuck you.
In spite of (or because of, it’s a razor-thin line) all of that, I am fucking ready for fall already. But it won’t come. We still have at least a month and a half of summer left, if not two full months. A month of which will involve my commute further east where it will be twenty to thirty degrees hotter than where I live! (MY LIFE IS GREAT! I AM SO EXCITED FOR SCHOOL TO START! CAN’T YOU TELL? AREN’T YOU SO JEALOUS?!) Which means that I will be going to class on 100 degree days and waiting for my eventual death from heatstroke. In October.
Anyway, all of that is really just to say, I fucking hate candy corn. Fuck that shit. If you like candy corn, our friendship is over. Get out. And take your fucking candy corn with you. Because it’s bullshit.