By Anne T. Donahue
One year, I wrote a big thing about not keeping resolutions, and then went into detail about how my goals weren’tresolutions – and they obviously were. I was a hustling bitch in denial, trying to make my obsession with productivity seem like something that wasn’t a major problem in my life (causing major problems in my life).
The thing is, I hate resolutions. I hate the idea that a new year is meant to symbolize a blank page in a new book when I actually worked very hard over the course of a year to keep the pages bound in my existing one. I’m not who I was last January, and I won’t be the person I am now (in December) when January 1st rolls around again, so why not just accept that newness doesn’t tend to align with calendar dates and forge ahead with a list of goals I know I can keep and will have absolutely no effect on me if I can’t?
Which is where you find me now. In 2023, I would like to try new things and these are them. I can promise you right now that I will not succeed at all of them, and that by February, I will likely have lost interest in most. But I think those are the best kind of ways to approach a made-up milestone that still has a hold on most of us, logical people who know better.
I don’t think this should be as hard as it is, but I am a garbage friend who needs to see someone celebrated on social media to remember that they were born on that same day and holy shit, I need to message them. So at age 37, this will be the year I do it: I will remember birthdays and I will maybe even send cards. I will do it because when my friends don’t remember mine, I don’t really care but also: I love acknowledgement and well wishes, and why shouldn’t I send those out? What’s my problem? All I have to do is write this shit down!
I have a friend who sends the best mail on a regular basis and I’m always surprised when I get it because it’s never occurred to me to be that thoughtful, I guess? So, I say no more. This year, I sent out some Christmas cards. Next week, I will . . . send out cards to anyone who’s sent me one and I haven’t gotten around to writing responses back to them yet. Ultimately, I’d like to be a person who makes time to be a pal even if I can’t physically be somewhere. Is anything better than knowing somebody you love is thinking about you? No. (Well, yes. But this feeling is easily one of the best.) So here we go. Me committing this goal to paper: committing my friendship to paper. In snail mail form. Amen.
Call my friends
There’s no reason I hate the phone outside of my old habits of “how dare anybody interrupt me!” But the thing is, what am I being interrupted from? Right now, I write and I go to school. (Wow. What a schedule.) Why can’t I call my friends on the way home from someplace or take time I’d normally spend procrastinating and playing Best Fiends and ask how somebody I care about a lot is doing? There’s no real reason, and I’m ready to take the plunge. I am going to become a phone person. (Years after telling my friends that I want to become a phone person.) Phone me now! Or don’t! I can call you! (Just please if you’re my friend and you’re reading this, if I don’t phone you over the next week or so, I’m watching the Harry and Meghan doc on repeat and need all the mental bandwidth available.)
Go to the movies
I used to be somebody who went to the movies and loved going to the movies. That changed, obviously, when COVID happened, and it also changed when I spent way too much time pouring myself into pop culture because I was terrified that if I didn’t know everything about everything, I would be irrelevant and die. So: I stopped seeing movies unless they were assigned to me for review, and I sat comfortably for three years outside the umbrella of what’s hip and/or cool.
Do I want to see hip and/or cool movies? Sure! Or maybe not! I would, ultimately, just like to take myself to the movies again. Maybe I’ll go with a friend! Maybe I’ll go with a photo of my cat in my pocket! Maybe I’ll drive to the theatre, think about going in, and then go, “Meh – I’ll just grab some popcorn to go and watch The Bear at home for the millionth time.” But I’ll give it a whirl and go back to when I didn’t think consuming culture was reserved only for assignment.
This is just actually a good idea in general, let alone if tagged to the new year. Everyone suffers when I am hungry. Please, everyone, remind me to bring a granola bar the next time I go anywhere because I can’t live another month of my life morphing into Satan because I waited too long to eat a snack.
Accept that I control basically nothing (and that’s pretty okay)!
Here’s what I can control: my eyebrows and what podcasts to listen to. The way I treat other people, and how hard I try to do a good job at something. That’s really about it. I can’t control other people, I can’t control the economy (oh how I wish, we would all be so rich), I can’t control how I digest dairy, I can’t control if Fran the Cat wants to let me pick her up, I can’t control life or death, I can’t control . . . most things. And honestly, what a relief. I’m not cut out to be queen of the earth, and while everything changes, the one thing that will never is the fact that most of us are at the mercy of the gods, and that’s got to be enough. And this time around, I think I’m good to let that be. Mainly because I’m very tired, and who isn’t, and I have never headed results by white knuckling a steering wheel not actually attached to a car.
And I say this because even writing this paragraph, I had a revelation: my eyebrows? I can barely control those, either. I work on these bad-boys every day, and by 4 p.m., they’ve gone right to hell. So may 2023 at least be a year I find a terrific and lasting setting spray. Because if I can’t control those, I can’t control somebody who does microblading for a living, and I’m still control freak enough not to let anybody tattoo anything onto my face. Bless.
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