Saturday, January 7, 2012

New Years Resolutions

I went to a sleepover at a friend's house a few nights after New Years 2007.  As the other girls and I stayed up late chatting, one girl asked what our new year's resolutions were.  We each answered with varying degrees of depth.  I think my resolution was to practice my trumpet more.  When we turned to the girl who asked, she didn't have a resolution.  She explained that no one ever keeps them, so making resolutions just makes you feel bad about yourself when you break them.  It felt a little like like a bait-and-switch.

I love that New Years is an excuse to drink champagne!
(photo credit: zpeckler, Flickr)

I've always remembered her comment, though, and have adjusted my resolutions because of it.  I tend to make resolutions twice a year, in January and September.  Even though I'm out of school, September feels like a new beginning worthy of some self-evaluation and new goals.  I tend to think through general goals - not "I will write five books" or "I will send a hand-written note to someone every day," because the quantifiable aspect of those makes it even more disappointing on that first day that you forget or don't feel like it.  Slightly vaguer goals are easier to keep in mind for a year without feeling like a failure when you realize you haven't quite hit your mark.  This year's resolutions aren't strikingly different from previous years, but I have high hopes that I can feel good about them when I'm ringing in 2013.

Be Brave and Try the New Scary Things.

Somewhere between deciding to be a ballerina when I was five and graduating from college, I developed a contained idea of what life was supposed to be.  I had a clear path until age twenty-two: work hard in school, get into a good college, graduate in four years, get a job, maybe go to graduate school.  When I did graduate, I realized that there wasn't a clear path after I got my diploma.  Not everyone gets a job and settles down right away.  In the past couple of years, I started to realize that certain things that I'd just started to accept - that I wouldn't live in France, that I would probably never see the Great Wall of China, I would probably never publish a book unless I became a history professor - didn't necessarily have to be so.  I did live in France for two months in 2010.  I have a whole lifetime to go see the Great Wall and there's no particular reason that, as long as I work to save up the funds and so on, I can't.  It's been scary to step outside of my comfort zone, but it's been exciting.  So in 2012, I'm going to continue to try to be braver and try new things, even if it would be more comfortable to just stick with what I know.

I lived in Nantes, France for two months, where the ducks lived in boats.

Keep in Touch.

I have never been especially good at keeping in touch with people.  It's difficult when you go from seeing someone every day to realizing that a few months have gone by where your only contact has been liking their statuses on facebook.  When it's been a little while, I find myself hesitating to pick up the phone.  That first call always feels like it needs to last a long time - you have to catch up not only on what your friend has been up to, but who her new friends are, how she feels about them, and other basics that you just know when you see each other often.  It's hard to get back to that level of knowing enough that you can call on your way home from work and talk about the crazy thing that happened that day without having to fill in the context of where you work, who you work with, and why that thing was especially crazy.  I am lucky to have great friends who are easy to talk to, though, so my goal this year is to send more emails, write more real letters, and make more phone calls.

Friends: I will try not to call when you are at a par-tay.

Write More.

I tend to brainstorm blog, story and article ideas while I'm at work.  I get all fired up about what I'm going to accomplish that night and even spend my lunch break making lists.  I get out of work, hop the bus home, make dinner... and then I fall asleep on the couch while watching How I Met Your Mother.  I try to ignore the growing pile of lists on the coffee table.  This resolution probably involves more caffeine, more discipline, and less couch time.

Maybe I would be more productive with a house to sit on.
My other resolutions include trying to eat healthier (a.k.a. actually eating vegetables with dinner) and thinking more like a Muppet (more on that later).  I have my fingers crossed that they'll lead me to a good, productive year with lots of new surprises.  Wish me luck!

Do you have any resolutions for 2012?  I'd love to hear them!

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