10 Non-Bullshit Resolutions for My New Year

Now, I’m a sucker for holiday traditions. I’m “that guy” who always makes my family go around the table and say what they’re thankful for on Thanksgiving. I still write notes to Santa Claus and leave out cookies on Christmas, despite having been Santa-myth deflowered for about a decade and a half. I wish on 11:11’s like nobody’s business. One holiday “tradition” I’ve never really been able to get behind, though (besides anything to do with the satanic ritual many call ‘Valentine’s Day’), is New Year’s Resolutions.

Perhaps this is because I’ve never been able to set aside my skepticism that the apostrophe really belongs in ‘New Year’s.’

Regardless of my linguistic hang-ups, though, making a list of resolutions for the New Year (why is that capitalized???? Neither of those is a proper noun. Ugh.) has just never particularly appealed to me. I know too many people who make the same list at the close of every year, hoping that 2000 and some-odd will finally be their year. And I’m not pretending I’d be any different. This is the girl who starts every summer off with the declaration that she will get up before 9 on all days but weekends.

I never can refuse the spirit of a holiday, though, so I give unto thee…

10 Non-Bullshit Resolutions for My New Year

1). Get up before 9 on all days but weekends.

Just kidding. For many reasons, the primary of which being that I’ve realized that my days of uninterrupted, hibernation-style sleep are numbered. Eventually, I will be woken by the car horns and prostitute solicitations, miniature humans, or spontaneous subcutaneous combustions known to many as the ‘hot flash.’

So, 1). Get lost.

This should be an easy one for me, since I once managed to get lost on the main staircase in my college library, and I’ll also be spending a term in one of the oldest and most complicated cities in the world. But, I don’t mean it entirely literally. I’ve always been the sort to wait, watch, plan, make sure that the scene is safe, and then enter. So far, it’s served me well. I have never been mugged, kidnapped, or given a swirlie. However, some of the greatest things in life happen when you get swept up in the currents. When you set off without a destination. When you agree to go out with a bunch of tattooed Roman teenagers to a bar made entirely of ice, even though you can’t be completely sure what they’re saying. I want to do more shit like that.

2). Send more panda photos

I love pandas. Everyone loves pandas. Here is a panda on a rocking horse. http://thefagcasanova.wordpress.com/2009/11/02/grinternet-a-pandas-on-rocking-horses-special/

See, you loved that, didn’t you. It made you happy. Random shit like that brings joy to the lives of people having sucky days, and I want to do more of it.

3). Stop stressing out about when to reply to texts

If a boy takes fifteen minutes to reply to your texts, wait half an hour.“- Girls who are engaged in way too much mental espionage.

If a boy texts me back fifteen minutes later, and I see it right away, and it includes a panda photo, I’M DAMN WELL GOING TO TEXT HIM BACK RIGHT NOW, and likely with a proposal of marriage. Even when panda photos are omitted, there is no reason to mess around with eye-for-an-eye bullshit over text. Likewise, I’m going to stop stressing out over the number of likes my Instagram photos get, or who my boyfriend’s Best Friends are on Snapchat (that’s a lie, I’m not going to stop doing that. That Russian girl you made out with over the Summer? I see you snapping her more than me).

4). Start building a wardrobe of respectable clothes

As a former boys’-section-of-Old-Navy shopper, my fashion history is somewhat checkered. Now that I’ve grown up, though (thank god), I think it’s time to stop buying shitty-but-trendy clothes from suspect dispensaries that I know will shrink past use the first time I wash them. Instead, I need to start buying some nice, durable staples that will last me a long time. Like… sweaters. And boots. And a top hat.

Oh, wait. I already tried the hat thing. Witness this charming photo of 9th grade me, jetting off to my first high school dance.

Image

New Year’s Resolution sidebar, no fedoras or kitten heels again. For life.

5): Learn to escape from handcuffs. 

This desire probably stems more from the fact that I watch a lot of White Collar than any legitimate need for escape skills. It could also have something to do with the fact that my older sister used to tie me up when I was little to see how fast I could escape, and I’ve started to pride myself in the skill. Anyway, knowing how to get out of handcuffs would be just the sort of arcane skill to accompany my extensive repertoire of arcane knowledge. A group of hedgehogs is called a prickle.

6). Learn to let things go.

This, I think, also comes from the fact that I watch too much White Collar. My favorite part of the show (apart from the suave sexiness that is Matt Boner, I mean Bomer, no I meant Boner) is the romance between Peter and Elle. No matter how little time they get to spend together or whatever else happens to interrupt their plans, neither of them ever resent it. They make the most of the time they have, and Elle, though maybe disappointed that Peter won’t be home for their date night, doesn’t hold it against him for the rest of the episode, or interpret it as a personal failure and stew about it forever with a pint of ice cream and the moose stuffed animal he gave her when they first started dating. Sob.

Yikes.

My point is, disappointment is the most insidious feeling, and for me, it’s very tough to shake. When I expect or hope for things, and then they don’t get realized, a lot of times that negative energy blinds me to the positives of the situation and ruins my day. Plus, all those ice cream calories, man.

7). Speaking of calories…

No, I’m not going to say that I want to eat less. Or healthier. Or gluten-free-organic-sustainable-free-range-local-ovo-lacto-paleo-multisyllabic. I want to eat whatever I damn well please, and more of it. That’s my point, though. I want to try all kinds of wild things. I want to eat pigs’ brains (No I don’t). I want to eat star fruits, and cannolis, and pesto pasta, and all sorts of worldly things that I’ve never tried before and probably won’t like. I’m a very picky eater. I will never outlive the story of the time I ordered spaghetti with butter at the fancy Italian restaurant, age eight. Not even once I diversified to chicken fingers. BUT, regardless, I want to fling myself with wild abandon into the dark void of exotic tastes, and only claw my way back onto the french-fry covered shores after I’ve tried everything once.

8). Talk to strangers.

During my first week at Dartmouth, I approached literally everyone I made eye contact with to make awkward small talk. I would sit down to join dinners already in progress in the dining hall. I was a social force to be reckoned with. As the time wore on, though, I settled down more into the awkward friendships that had already bloomed from my awkward small talk, and stopped hounding strangers for their names and home towns. I love these awkward friends, but why put the brakes on all future friendships? Why not pursue that one next interaction? You, yes YOU, could be one more person I avert my eyes upon seeing in line at Collis, pulling out my phone to pretend that I’m occupied so that you don’t have to try to remember my name! It could be you!

9). Realize that I’m awesome without constantly having to prove it.

I’m like that little boy who has to keep looking down to make sure his penis is still there (Is that a thing? I feel like it must be a thing). I’m awesome. My metaphorical dick is magnificent. I look down and I think, “Well, damn.” But really, should I have to crush my family at Bananagrams, or have my boyfriend tell me I’m pretty, or be named Rufus Choate scholar to know that I’m pretty cool? No.

10). Make plans.

One day, there I was, lying in bed and listening to Avicii, making the total most of my Dartmouth education, and I started to cry. There was a line in the song that went, “hope I get the chance to travel the world, but I don’t have any plans,” and the fact that I actually do have plans, immediate plans, to travel the world notwithstanding, I realized that I won’t be young forever. I won’t have the opportunities I have forever. I can’t wait forever. I guess maybe I should sleep less. Wait less. Because, in the words of the great and formidable Amy Poehler,

“Great people do things before they’re ready.
They do things before they know they can do it.
And by doing it, they’re proven right.
Because, I think there’s something inside of you—
and inside of all of us—
when we see something and we think,
“I think I can do it, I think I can do it. But I’m afraid to.”
Bridging that gap, doing what you’re afraid of,
getting out of your comfort zone, taking risks like that—
THAT is what life is. 
And I think you might be really good.
You might find out something about yourself that’s special.
And if you’re not good, who cares? You tried something.
Now you know something about yourself.
Now you know. A mystery is solved.
So, I think you should just give it a try.
Just inch yourself out of that back line.
Step into life.
Courage.
Risks.
Yes. Go. Now.”
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