Totally a good idea.
Except now it’s a year later and we need to actually assess whether we accomplished these things. Six months ago, I was all, “Whatever. I totally have time to get this sh*t done.”
And then I forgot about it in the midst of my life imploding.
(FYI—I’m going to use this divorce as an excuse why I don’t get sh*t done for, like, a long time.)
Okay, so here are the original New Year’s resolutions:
1) Have at least a handful of moments of uncomplicated joy. Notice I didn’t say happiness. Joy and happiness, in my mind, are different. Joy is what sneaks up and takes hold when you least expect it; when the thing you’re doing in that moment is exactly the right thing at every level, no ifs, ands or buts. Happiness is something you can decide to be and I think you know how to do that well enough already.
Six months ago, I was better at this. Even though life was propelled by more crises and drama then, I was still able to find the happy moments buried in the ruble. I’d dust them off and enjoy them for the bit of time that they remained untarnished. Now, even though things are more stable, I’m having quite a few aftershocks. I’m a little PTSD-ish, frankly. It’ll pass, I know, but it’s going to be a long time before I don’t get up in the night and watch the kids breathe as they sleep, or believe that someone isn’t literally standing in the bushes, watching me.
2) Get Sydney to teach you how to cry at movies.
I didn’t accomplish this goal. And frankly, I didn’t really try. I had heard that Les Miserables was heart-wrenching, so I was a little apprehensive that I’d cry during that scene where Fantine was laying in the hospital bed, all pox-y and half-starved, hallucinating about her daughter. But I didn’t. You know, because I’m dead inside and I was mainly enjoying the music and marveling at the fact that Anne Hathaway can still look beautiful with hacked-off hair and vacant eyes.
Now, wait. I did cry with Sydney when Sammy from Dance Academy was hit by a car. That was horrible. I wanted to be all strong and like, “Whatever. It’s a TV show” but in reality I was all, “How can I live in a world without Sammy? Why, God, why?” Sydney was equally distraught and we had to cope by watching the rest of the season in one sitting and then composing hate-filled emails to Netflix for not yet having the episodes from current season. We then just decided to blame the entire country of Australia, as that’s where it’s filmed.
3) Make friends with your kitchen. Seriously. I’m not saying you have to become a gourmet cook, or really cook at all, just think about building a relationship with that space based in ideas of warmth and fellowship more than fear and resentment. The dance parties with the kids are a great start.
Okay, well, I didn’t accomplish this one either. But as I said during my mid-year update, I hated living in that house and so finding anything “warm” and “fellowship”-y about it was just not going to happen. I was much more comfortable in the kitchen across the street, where baked goods are produced nearly every day and there is little girl who bangs into everything with a doll stroller. But two weeks ago, I moved out of that house. Now my kitchen is small but nice and cheerful, so there might be hope. If nothing else, this kitchen can be kept clean much easier, which warms my heart.
What I’m trying to say is that this resolution may need to go back onto the list for 2013.
4) Floss. I actually have no idea whether or not you floss regularly, but regardless, this is solid advice.
I stand by my answer from July: I totally floss every day. I’m stellar at this. I even carry floss in my purse, just like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman. Except way less prostitute-ish.
5) Make Dan Savage a regular part of your life. Access either his blog, his weekly column, or his podcast at least twice a week. Remember in middle school, when we would have a sex question and we’d slink up to the locker of that older girl who always had the answers? Well, this is like that, only the answers are true. Even if you think you already know everything, trust me, you don’t.
Well, I’ve completely and utterly failed at this. I had a little swell of success in July when I reported on my progress, as it motivated me to read a couple dozen of his columns (which then expanded my knowledge base of sex by about 200%, by the way). But then I pooped out. Not only did I fail to read Dan Savage’s blog, but I pretty much stopped reading all blogs (and writing this one). Basically, I’m a blogging failure and I deserve to be severely punished.
I think this one should go back on the list for 2013.
6) Write your half of our book. And I know that means I will also have to write my half, but this list is about you, so let’s stay focused, m’kay?
I totally wrote a book! It’s not “our” book, as in a book written by you and me, but it’s a real book with at least 200 pages and it has a publisher and everything. Right now, we’re making revisions and discussing cover design.
7) Get a local BFF. I’d say someone just like me, but we both know that’s not possible. But ideally she will be funny, caring, open-minded and most importantly, local. I need some boots on the ground in Charlotte – someone who can be my eyes and ears and is able to fill in for me when I can’t make the 7 hour drive down. She needs to be able to drop everything and hunt you down when I can’t reach you, or rush over with ice cream and frozen pizza when someone has hurt your feelings or broken your heart (but just until I can get down there). Ideally, she’d also cook the occasional meal for you and the kids, but never pancakes. That’s strictly my gig. And she really shouldn’t cook all that well, or else the kids might realize I’m not actually that talented. And she shouldn’t be really funny, just a little bit funny. I should always be the funniest BFF you have.
I’m still making progress on this. First of all, I’ve got some truly stellar friends who have proven to be loyal and caring and helpful and, well, super wonderful. I’ve also met some new people who’ve proven to be pretty darn awesome because they’re funny and smart and loyal and like to drink fruity drinks and eat chocolate.
However, at least one these friends may be a guy. Does that count? I mean, he’s terrible at watching the People’s Choice Awards and the amount of dog hair on his baseboards may, if collected, stuff a mattress, but he’s a really good cook and he’s surprisingly tolerant about being cited in court documents with accompanying pictures of him doing boring things like walking his dog and getting stuff out of his car.
Keep this on the list for 2013. Now that my friends are less likely to have their tags run by a PI or have random pictures taken of their house, maybe I’ll feel more comfortable venturing out with them in daylight. As my sister-in-law said in early fall, “You’re kind of hard to be friends with right now.”
8) Keep pushing your own boundaries and reinventing yourself.
I still have no idea what this means. However, I have completely redefined my career, cleaned house when it comes to relationships that weren’t healthy, and regularly do a gut-check to make sure that I’m heading in an emotional direction of which I’m proud. Despite my ex-husband’s claim that I’ve “learned nothing from my mistakes” and “haven’t been punished enough”, I’m well aware that I’m a work in progress. I’m trying my best, even if it’s inadequate at times.
9) Get Dylan to teach you how to do a no-handed cartwheel on the trampoline. Then teach me if it turns out it’s possible for a 35 year old woman to do that without spinal injury. Otherwise, never mind.
I no longer have the trampoline; Drew got that in the divorce. Which is fine, because I like my spine and he’s entirely more capable of mastering athletic challenges.
10) Have a proper first date. At least twice.
I’ve totally done this! Although it seems like it deserves its own blog post, don’t you think?
11) Pretend to be a foodie. Just once, just for minute, just to see how it feels.
I have to admit, this resolution seems kind of unfair. I mean, I can’t just become a foodie just because you’ve told me to. It’d be like you telling me to become religious or become a person who knows their left from right. I.just.can’t.do.this. You’re asking too much.
What I’m saying is, don’t put this back on the list for 2013.
12) Occasionally trade in your rose colored glasses for a magnifying glass. You have a wonderful ability to see the best in people, to find the upside to every situation and to power through any situation with a smile on your face. This has served you well often. But other times, it’s a liability. Periodically ask yourself if the things you believe to be immutably true, about yourself or someone else, are real, or just what you want to be real. It will change your life. And when in doubt, ask me. I always assume the worst in everyone and every situation, so we’re a good balance.
Like I said back in July, this is probably the resolution on which I’ve worked the hardest. And I don’t know that I’ve worked at it exactly, or just been bludgeoned by this reality over the last few months. Do I think there are decent people in the world? Sure. Most people are decent, in fact. But not all the time, and rarely toward those whom they don’t really care about. At the end of the day, you’ve got you, you, and yourself. So you’d better like who you are. You’d better believe in yourself. You’d better have confidence in your problem-solving abilities. And most importantly, you’d better be prepared to be accountable for your decisions. And if you do find someone whom you can trust, treat them well but realize that keeping them on a “need to know basis” might not be unwise. You know, just in case they decide you’re someone whom they don’t really care about anymore.
13) Eat chocolate for breakfast as often as possible.
I’ve got this. For example, today I ate a chocolate muffin and three Hershey kisses. I would have eaten more Hershey kisses but always I get so annoyed at the mess those little silver wrappers make. I wish I had thought to go for the chocolate chips. Thank god no one ever wraps those little suckers.
14) Never let your car get below 1/4 full tank. Even when it’s really cold out or raining and you think you’ll be fine just waiting until the next day. Trust me on this.
Okay, I must admit, my gas light has been on a couple times this year. But I always get totally freaked out about it and think about how my friend Anne and I almost missed the opening credits of The Hunger Games because she and her husband played a game of chicken with the gas tank and he lost. Plus, I think about how a woman in my grad class once ran out of gas in a horrible neighborhood and she was too frightened to get out of the car even though she had to pee so she ended up just peeing in her driver’s seat.
15) Keep writing.
Well, I wrote a book, so there’s that. And the gag order totally stymied my blogging for several months, so there’s that too. But I am starting to think in terms of blog posts again. I really can’t imagine living in a world where I stop writing all together, no matter how bad things get.
16) Fantasize about being the bully. Imagine yourself saying every mean, inflammatory, inaccurate, intimidating, and true thing you’ve ever wanted to say to anyone you’ve ever forced yourself to be nice to. Add some hand gestures and puff out your chest a few times while you’re doing it. Loud angry girl music like Ani DiFranco can help you get in the mood. Do it as many times as you need until you’re comfortable with how it feels, maybe even enjoying it a little bit. Then erase all of the words from your mind, so you don’t accidentally say them someday, but hold onto that feeling of power, so you can pull it out next time you feel powerless. This totally works, I swear.
Oh, I have anger. And sadness. Tons of it. But I really, really, really want to set that aside and get to the forgiveness stage. It’s no fun being angry all the time. It’s no fun grieving. It’s not natural for me, either. We should probably write a new resolution about forgiveness, as I’m never going to truly move on until I do.
17) Keep your sense of humor, and keep sharing it with as many people as possible.
My humor is still here. Buried under the PTSD-ishness, the legal bills, and the blonde highlights that are slowly darkening back to brown. As you know, I’m way funnier in writing than in person, so I clearly need to write more.
18) This is the most important one, so pay attention: Never waste a second of your time or energy on anyone who doesn’t immediately find you hilarious, brilliant, talented, loving and perfect just the way you are.
I have developed the ability to let go of the need to please people, especially those whom I don’t respect. I care less about whether or not people like me, especially if they don’t even know me. I also realize that some people are going to find me lacking no matter what I do. I’ve learned that there are two kinds of people: people who will love you in spite of your weaknesses, and those who will hate you primarily because of their own.
Everyday, I remind myself that I cannot control anyone else’s behavior; I can only control my own. With writing, parenting, and running a business comes judgment from others, especially when you choose to write a public blog and talk about all of these things. As always, I have to decide if the good outweighs the bad.
So far, it does.