On Tap: New Year’s Resolutions for the Year the World Ends (Maybe)

“Gonna Make It Through This Year” – Great Lake Swimmers

See also: “A Long December,” Counting Crows; “This Year,” The Mountain Goats; “This Will Be Our Year,” The Zombies (and Foo Fighters cover)(and OK Go cover); “This Will Be My Year,” Semisonic

Happy end of 2011, folks! I hope your year is wrapping up swimmingly, and while mine isn’t perfect, it’s fair, I suppose, to say that I am just grateful it is wrapping up at all.

I don’t want to harp too much on this year, but suffice it to say that 2012 will be different. Better, even, I am convinced. A lot of relationships, opportunities and experiences came together and fell apart this year, but I’m finding it’s unproductive to mourn too much for what I’ve lost (except some weight, hell yeah!). I will, instead, look to the future and to what, I am sure, will be an astounding and developmental year.

Last year, I made a list of 21 resolutions (to celebrate the arrival of my 21st birthday, no doubt), many of which I kept. This was a year of improvement, certainly, but it was also a year that often left me feeling powerless, impotent and generally overwhelmed. I’m finally stumbling into full-fledged adulthood, one mirrored affirmation at a time, and this’ll be the year I stick a landing.

(Resolution no. 1 seriously ought to be perfecting a metaphor/cutting down on cliched phrasings.)

So, for 2012, I’ve tried to narrow my resolutions down to five concise, clear directives.

1. “Don’t worry about the world coming to an end today. It’s already tomorrow in Australia.” – Charles M. Schulz

All of the Mayan predictions that the world is going to end are enough to give a girl a loose bladder. There are things within my control, and this is, somewhat unfortunately, not one of them. I’m a worrier by nature, but I’ve realized a lot of what I worry about actually inhibits functioning. I’m trying to cut down on worrying about the actions and thoughts of others, which current technology does not yet allow me to control. Hopefully, if the globe ceases its rotation and/or revolution (I didn’t do much reading on these end-of-world theories. And I didn’t even watch “2012,” despite the lure of Cusack.), my world’ll end in a blaze of glory. And, thanks to help from a few friends, with well-shaped eyebrows.

2. Embrace spontaneity. 

I admit it – I have some control issues. I try to steer outcomes in my favor by contriving scenarios and sowing metaphorical seeds, and I’ve got this pesky habit of always going after what I want – to a fault. I’m Miss Independent, or so I like to proclaim, but I have trouble letting situations play out. I’m often the pursuer, and I’m more often the pusher, and this tends to endanger healthy, natural friendships and relationships. There are surprises I love – the ones I expect – and unplanned adventures I live for, but I need to work a bit more on handing the reins over to someone else. Not Santa, though. We’re in a tiff.

3. Accept my circumstances.

Without going into too much detail, this last month was a cavalcade of disruption. I’m not a religious person, but I’ve long strove to remember the serenity prayer. Hearkening back to that whole control issue, I tend to envy the things others possess but don’t appreciate, and it frustrates me that I can’t choose their circumstances instead. And, much to my dismay, I’ve become one of those complain-y people. I like to think the charisma and optimism I’ve used to define myself are merely latent, and, if I can accept what it is without kicking and screaming too much, I hope to find that I am stronger, more capable and happier. I can’t very well lament my singledom (not as long as Mark Wahlberg remains married) simply because I am coveting what other people have, and, if I’m being honest, what I do not want.

4. Write.

Every day, I’m hustlin’. I succumbed to a fairly unpleasant writers’ block for a good chunk of the year, and I can’t let that happen again. I have many, many texts, essays and articles to compose this year, and, with a little luck, I’ll end the year doing it somewhere airy and calm. This won’t be The Year of My Great American Novel – I’ll save that for my jaded 23rd year – but, at the very least, I can start by letting more people read my work. I’ve tended recently to write and rewrite until I work myself into an editorial tizzy, never allowing anyone else to read even an unpolished copy. In some ways, it’s been a lack of confidence, but the whole purpose of my chosen career path is to have others read it. I figure this li’l blog is a good place to start. Plus, sharing is caring.

5. Cultivate the friendships and relationships I’d miss most if the world actually ended.

With turmoil comes clarity, in some ways, and, as such, I’ve become acutely aware of which relationships in my life are worth maintaining (and that hot pink extra-large Post-It noted list in my planner doesn’t hurt). The rest of you can suck it.

I define myself too often by the relationships I keep, and I am constantly amused and bemused by human interaction. I can feel utter contentment alone in a packed room but find a lack in my own intimate company. I have close friends I’ve yet to meet and good friends with whom years of silence can pass and things can stay exactly the same, and I am indescribably grateful to all. There are those, too, I hardly know but provide a sense of comfort and support I rarely dreamed of. There is something to be said for the kindness of strangers and for the capacity of others to show goodness, and I am amazed by that sort of raw selflessness. I want, this year, to meet in real life (even if it takes anthropomorphic penis drawings to get you here), to stay close even if we end the year knowing each other only digitally, to find a middle ground of home where you all exist together (in my heart), to keep California forever.

And, maybe most of all, I want to write the old-fashioned way. There’s something so eloquent in the tangible mementos of handwritten notes, and there is such childlike ingenuity in awaiting the arrival of the mail. I want that back, even if/when I’m living thousands upon thousands of miles away from those I’ve claimed as family.

This year, I significantly altered my lifestyle. I learned to ask for help (and, to some extent, accept it), embraced physical activity, found ways to channel stress, gained a greater sense of self, put down the Raspberry Newtons (I’ll miss you, old friends) and learned, a bit, to act my age. Plus, I lived in two of America’s drunkest cities this year, and that deserves a toast. I didn’t graduate, but there’s time for that yet, and I’m still learning how to prioritize. I fell in love this year, turning 21 years of foreplay into a torrid affair*, but it’s a relationship that will take time, effort and, likely, counseling to stabilize and solidify.

For now, happy new year, and good riddance, 2011. I’ll check in from Chicago in a few days.

The Girl (xo,co)

*with myself, bozo. you’re pervy.


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