I suppose if I’m going to talk about New years Resolutions, I’d better do it now while it’s still a reasonably appropriate topic of conversation.
Most of us do it every year, whether it’s during the winter holiday season, or our birthday, or whatever time of year one sits back to take stock and evaluate where one is headed and what might be improved upon. We may not make formal resolutions, just plans in the backs of our heads that are easier to ignore if they don’t get made good on. For several years running, I had just one resolution: to not suck and be awesome instead. I still like that one, and I try to do it every day.
I’ve got the standard ones of wanting to get healthy again, to make my body stronger and eat better (and lose a few pounds so i look better in my clothes, natch), but aside from my perennial I’ve only written down two resolutions thus far. The first is to find a new job, at a place where people don’t regularly say, “Oh, she doesn’t work here anymore, she’s so lucky she got out of here.” The other one is to kiss more people, because kissing is just delightful. Still, there’s another one that I’ve been thinking a lot about lately, and I think it’s time to commit it to (virtual) paper and make it real.
Last year one of my projects was to try and be more happy. It’s so easy to think about how you will be happy if X, or you’ll be happy once Y happens, and I decided that it would be more effective to stop waiting for things to happen and just try and be happy. Shockingly, it worked, and people saw me happy and were happy to be around me, and then I was even more happy! (Kind of like a potentially nauseating self-powering machine, but with hugs, so you don’t mind.) It didn’t hurt that I was working a job that I was good at, and where my coworkers were vocal about their appreciation for my work, but even so it was often very stressful and unpleasant and demoralizing, and without my work toward happiness, I might have had a wretched year.
But now that I’m again looking for steady work, I find myself in an all-to-familiar space of waiting for something to happen before I can do or be.. whatever the next thing is. This is pretty much the story of my entire adult life. I can’t take that trip to meet up with my twenty-some online friends (or travel, or anything else) because I’m in graduate school and lack the time and money. Then, I’m putting everything on hold until I can earn enough money to be secure with rent and have disposable income that I can spend without guilt. When I moved in with my parents to take care of some family business, it was I can’t date until I leave here and start my “real life.” And here I am and I’m almost 40 and all my friends have not only started their real lives but are well ensconced in them, and I’m trying to convince myself to be a hermit?
I mean sure, going out costs money, but New York is full of cheap things to do. Go peruse Time Out New York and look for one of their features on cheap and free date ideas. And I fail to believe that this is not true about other cities. You may have to be more creative, but that’s part of the fun. For example, this week I’m having some friends over to watch a couple movies, and I’m cooking food (which will give me several days of leftovers to eat) and they’re handling the booze. It’s a ten or fifteen dollar outlay for a great night with people I love. That’s worth it to me. Yesterday I also had friends over, although in that case said friends did the cooking – even better! Being poor does not mean being a hermit, or making your friends buy you things.
Similarly, yes I should be spending as much time as possible in a constructive manner, finding myself a job and getting things settled with school and making sure I’m not missing any steps toward my future career goals. But if I do only those things to the exclusion of taking care of myself, I’ll be in no shape to tackle them as well as I would healthy and happy. We make time to work out, right? Because it’s good for your physical and mental health. Well, having a social life is also important for mental health, and for maintaining a support system so that when shit really does come down, you have one to call upon if need be.
So in order to further my project of being happy, I’m resolving to quit deferring my life and live in the present. My life has been happening while I kept waiting for the next step, and if I keep going like this, I’ll get to whatever end goal I set for myself and find it empty because I have no life. I have wonderful friends, I am a great catch for whatever wonderful person eventually comes into my life romantically, and I deserve to have as much fun as a person can have. I’m still working on all kinds of things, but my life doesn’t start when I get to the destination, my life is the journey, and I want to be able to look back on it with pleasure.