A great friend of mine wrote the following quote on a New Year's Facebook update: "The new year is deliciously pristine, isn't it?"
It really is. And I had especially been looking forward to starting anew after the nightmarish hellscape that was 2018. Fortune's wheel spun downward for me exactly a year ago, and it just seemed to keep spiraling no matter how much I cried uncle. I haven't fully made it out of 2018's clutches yet -- one of my dogs has a back injury and I got some medical news that threw me for a loop -- but I'm not going to dwell any further on all of that. The point, after all, is that I've got a clean slate, and 2019 is going to be what I make of it.
To start the year, I made a few specific decisions:
-I wasn't making any big plans for New Year's Eve
Honestly, is New Year's Eve ever anything other than a big disappointment? The bars are crowded, cabs are scarce, Ubers are more expensive, and it's cold AF outside. This year it gave us the added bonus of spitting rain. If we'd been invited to a party, maybe we'd have gone, but we weren't (the final F-you of 2018, perhaps) so we didn't leave the house.
Instead, R cooked a turkey, I took a yoga class, and we played board games and drank wine until the ball dropped. It was relaxing, and I began 2019 in a good head space -- and not a bit hungover!
-I wasn't making any New Year's Resolutions
Let's be real, I have never kept them. I've tried a variety of different types of resolutions, from choosing a word of the year to embody to something as simple as "be more hydrated." Whatever it is, I keep it up for three weeks in January and then promptly forget about it and carry on with my life as if it never happened.
So, to set myself up for success and avoid a wave of self-loathing when I realize I've failed, I'm choosing instead to just keep working toward the goals I've already been working toward and building on good habits I've spent the last year cultivating. That includes:
1. Regular strength training - I previously have avoided doing this because I always ended up too sore to function for the next few days, but I recently realized that I've been using too heavy weights. While I feel a slight twinge of shame using punier kettlebells than the rest of the class, I've come to accept that it's what my body is capable of right now. I'll get to the heavier weights eventually.
2. Celebrating the joys of my friends and family even when things aren't great for me personally - I had already believed in "showing up for people" -- saying yes any time I am able to do so -- and I consider this a larger extension of that. I've witnessed shit-talking about people by folks whom they'd call friends over life achievements like boyfriends, engagements, promotions, etc. Hell, I've even participated at various times in my life. But at some point it started to leave a bad taste in my mouth, and I decided that if I care about you, I have to be unabashedly happy for you when life hands you whatever the opposite of lemons are (strawberries? Maraschino cherries?).
It's not a zero sum game -- you getting a boyfriend doesn't preclude me from getting a boyfriend.* Same goes for any other life milestone you may achieve. In 2018, a close girlfriend got pregnant pretty quickly while I was simultaneously knee-deep in figuring out why I hadn't in over a year of trying. I helped plan her baby shower. I'm going to plan another one later this year. Make no mistake, I'm definitely disappointed by what's happened to me. But I'm gonna wipe that puss off my face and throw a party for you anyway.
Joy begets joy. Write that down.
3. Saving money - I grew up very privileged and never had to worry about money, and as a result I never paid attention to my spending. I can't tell you how many times I've had my debit card handed back to me because I'd hit the bottom of the account.
R and I had a fight about money last year (which apparently was a bigger deal to me than it was to him -- he claims he doesn't even remember it!), and I decided I had to make a change. I did the math and realized I'd save about $165 a month if I packed my lunch instead of getting a salad at Subway every day. I also stopped getting my nails done regularly and did my hair on my own instead of getting blowouts. I'm actively trying to limit my ventures out to bars and restaurants (repeat the line: "I just can't afford it right now"). It's a process, but I'm working on it, and I'll continue to do so in 2019.
4. Taking the next step in my career - I'm not entirely sure what this will mean, but I've been feeling stagnant for a while. I need keep moving upward. I'm working on it. Stay tuned.
5. Reading more - In 2017, I started a book club in an effort to read more regularly. In 2018, I set a goal of reading 12 books -- perhaps a paltry goal to some, but I don't actually read that fast and that was still a lot for me. Well, I blew past that and ended up completing 20 books! In 2019, I set the goal of reading 21 books, and hopefully I will blow past that goal too. I even finished my first one today!
6. Keep writing - I need to do this for me.
I think all of that is realistic and totally doable, and it all leads to me being a better person. And I'm ready!
So, I go into this year cautiously optimistic. Like the first flower blooming after a long winter, I feel like beautiful things are about to come. This year already is better than last year -- if you'll recall, at this point last year we were in the middle of the bitterly cold bomb cyclone. Over the weekend it was downright balmy outside.
I see you, 2019. Let's do this. Onward and upward!
*Being married to R does.