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December 29, 2009

New Year's Resolutions for a New Decade

Everyone around the office is conversationally asking, "So, what are your plans for New Year's Eve?" I don't really go out on New Year's Eve. There are plenty of reasons to stay in (the party-amateur drivers, the fact that I am a hermit, Dick Clark) but the main reason I don't make a big to-do over New Year's Eve is that it's not a big party holiday for me. I think it's probably my favorite holiday, but to me it's a very reflective day, very contemplative. You're marking the end of a calendar year and looking backwards and forwards. Because you're all flexible that way. Like the gal from the Exorcist, if only she'd been spewing resolutions instead of pea soup.

My plan for New Year's Eve is to stay home and commune with those in fur coats, cuddle up with that bottle of Veuve Cliquot I bought on sale at Ralph's ($20 off the regular price! Love you, Recession Alcohol Value Buys!) and call all my widespread friends and family members when it hits midnight in their time zones. I also enjoy watching that part of the nightly news where they show different countries ringing in the New Year.

Oh, and of course, there is list-making. And reflection.

Usually I make a hugeass long list of to-do items for my New Year's Resolutions. It's a hopeful wishlist of ways to improve my life, my outlook, my pants size, my future and my household cleaning routine. I love lists. This year, though, I have decided to dial down the Resolutions and make two very simple, over-arching goals for the year and all my other lists -- my to-do lists and to-read lists and to-clean lists -- will all just be the daily stuff that support my greater goals.

My 2010 Resolutions

1) Get really healthy
2) Come from a place of yes

So, the first goal is pretty self-explanatory. Some people lose weight and get all skinny and become marathon runners when writing their manuscripts. I do the exact opposite and marshmallow out. Since I am planning to have a mid-life crisis in 2011, I need to get into the best possible shape EVER so I can be foxy and wear cute clothes and not get out of breath on the way to my awesome ladycrisis escapades. Also, I believe it's probably a sign of some sort that I got exhausted just from going to the shoe store to purchase new tennis shoes for all the exercising I'm going to do in 2010.

Seriously, I broke a sweat trying on lace-up shoes.

On a side note, I found it funny how many people emailed me to say that 40 is not mid-life. I had no idea how many of ya'll were going to live to be 120 years old. I am impressed! More power to you!! Me, I am the one getting winded at the Lady Foot Locker so I'm keeping my expectations realistic. Plus, I still plan to take up smoking when I turn 60. But go with your bad self living to 120. I hope you wear any kooky thing you want and read trashy books all day and carry a dog around in a purse. That just sounds purely fun.
- - -

My other resolution is a little more nuanced: come from a place of yes.

This past year (especially toward the end of it) I had some moments when I was so carpy and negative even I didn't want to be around me. And I complained a lot, which is something I find I am naturally skilled at doing. It is my cardio, you know. And sometimes I can be quite amusing with my complaining. But there was some gradual crossing-over point when my good-natured griping became really annoying.

I really don't want to be that person. You know, the one you avoid because they're such a Debbie Downer. I hate that person! She emails me all the damn time! Always pointing out the stuff I am doing wrong, or should have done better, or how I am soon to meet a tragic end. Folks, I am determined not to be Debbie Downer. (I am also going to officially stop reading any negative emails or talking about them. I'm just going to delete at the first hint of crappiness. It's a mini-resolution. Delete! Delete!)

This "place of yes" resolution doesn't mean I pull a full Pollyanna and slap a happy sticker on everything. That behavior is deeply unimaginative, don't you think? And something about the relentlessly aggressive forced-positive approach to life just grates on me like sandpaper. It's so fake! It invalidates every real thing about the weird, wacky ups and downs of a true life. I like having different experiences and seeing all the colors of the rainbow and all that stuff. I just want to stop bitching about it so much.

So, in general, lay off the griping.

Coming from the yes place also does not mean saying yes to everything all the time. That would be "coming from the place of sure self-induced insanity." What it does mean is that I want to spend 2010 choosing to be upbeat, choosing to look for unexpectedly good outcomes, choosing to be hopeful, choosing to be friendly, choosing to believe the best in people and just letting go of the crap. Letting go of the nagging anxiety, the rote and chronic complaining, the irritating way I have of being able to see people's crappiest personality traits. I have a knack for seeing the devil within people... and I don't even mean to. This is handy when picking a boyfriend or a tax attorney, but not really useful at work where it's simply unproductive to harp on and on about That Person who is petty, jealous and mean-spirited. So what! They're a big steaming mess! Move on. They will still be a mess and yet you will not be paying them a whit of attention, and that is good.

Some people say it's all about being grateful (and that is true, too) but it's also about being less freaking fearful. Live it up a little! Stop looking for all the ways it won't work out and think of a few ways it will work out! That's who I want to be. Not pretending to be happy, but really choosing just to shrug off the icky and embrace an attitude of possibility.

When stuff happens -- which it does, that is the whole point of life -- instead of feeling anxious or worried or dwelling on the negatives, I'm going to give it up to the great cannoli in the sky, hope it all works out in some magical, unexpected way and go about my day. Not living in fear. Not expecting the worst. Not dreading stuff. Not making excuses. Not doing things I hate just because I feel obligated.

Wake up, say yes to the day, let it unfold, be a part of it, and choose the better-feeling thought (whatever that may be). Resist the temptation to point out people's petty behavior. Be forgiving of myself and others. Choose to believe people mean well. Choose to avoid people who are yucky. Don't take things so God-awful personally.

Take a leap of faith that things may end up better than you could ever expect.

- - -

So those are my resolutions. I have really good feelings about 2010. I am so ready for something different, and a new year is like a calendar re-boot. I am really grateful about many things that happened in 2009 but mostly I am glad it's over and we're on to something new! Maybe that's irrational. Or maybe that's me already strapping on my fancypants new running shoes and walking from the place of yes. Who cares! It's a new year, a new list, a whole new calendar of little blocks that could contain something - anything - great.

Are you happy 2009 is almost over and 2010 is coming? Am I the only one here who feels relieved? What are your New Year's Resolutions? I love hearing other people's lists. I love to hear your New Year's plans, too. (Comments are open for a bit.) (Look at me coming from the yes place on comments! hee.)

And most of all thank you for visiting with me every day, even though I got a little bit cranky and unfocused and marshmallowy. I will probably still complain about traffic because that is one of life's great pleasures, but I do hope to lobotomize my inner Debbie Downer for the year ahead.

Posted by laurie at December 29, 2009 9:03 PM