I invite you to join me on selfish, self-indulgent and thoroughly life-affirming New Year's resolutions this year. I invite you to accept who you are, what you like, what you don't, and how you really want to live. If you're ready, like me, to come out from under self-imposed hermit-like no fun zone and do something different, please join me in our resolution revolution.
This year, my New Year's resolutions are going to be less about getting healthy and being a better person, and more about selfishness, self-indulgence and ultimately acceptance - which in reality are the healthiest things any of us can really do. Come be healthy with me in 2017. Let's start with these revolutions:
- Eat more. Starting today, everywhere I go I want eat something different. I'm one of those types that order the same meal everywhere I go - from a salad at the corner hangout to the ubiquitous Pad Thai. Today, I order something different! Maybe I'll get whatever the person sitting to my right is ordering.
But I resolve, as should you, to eat something new, something you've never tried before, something exciting. It's the real version of adventure dining. Next time you're at a restaurant, check out what the people around you are eating. We can all say that famous line from "When Harry Met Sally" and tell the waitress, with completely straight face - "I'll have what she's having."
- Drink more. I rarely drink. It's not that I don't drink. I just don't have an opportunity. I am going to set up a little bar and become one of those folks who have an after dinner cocktail. I'm going to buy the little umbrellas and maybe some festive glassware, and I'm going to figure out how to work my (still unused) cocktail mixer thing.
I want to pull the blender out from under the cabinets where it sits next to the once used ice cream maker and twice used juicer), and I'm going to blend frozen drinks.
- Listen to more (loud) music. I'm going to turn on the radio when I get home and play one of the seventeen thousand CDs I have. I'm going to pull out my dusty turntable and piles of albums and listen to the scratchy sounds of Back in Black or Cheeseburger in Paradise while my frosty drink blends.
- Stay up late. I've gotten into a rut of going to sleep early, mostly because I'm exhausted, but also because I'm not quite sure what to do at night when I'm home. I can't go out, I have two kids asleep in bed and no money to spend and no babysitter.
I'm going to force myself to stay up late and call people. I'll call everyone I know and chat up a storm while listening to my loud music and drinking my drink and eating something different.
- Gossip more. I'm going to pull out old address books, scour Facebook and LinkedIn until I have found as many old college and high school friends as possible and reconnect. I want to hear what they've been doing all these years. Since I'm still waiting, at this age of over 40 and under 80, to find out what I want to do with my life, maybe one of my old buddies has done something interesting and I can steal their idea.
Meanwhile, while calling them all and reconnecting, I'm going to find out who's doing what and with whom and how and where and when. I'm sick of my staid life. I need some new stuff to drink to since I'm drinking now. I need some new stories to share with others.
- I'm going to whiteboard my entire kitchen. All of it. I want the entire room to be covered in whiteboard and I'll set up little baskets all around with lots of brightly colored dry erase magic markers and erasers. My kids can doodle all over the place and I can write notes to myself to remember this or that.
I can keep a list of my new, old friends phone numbers and play tic tac toe and have friends come over and write poems or draw pictures. My kitchen can be a live artwork in progress!
- Scoff at Rooms to Go. Time to face facts. I don't need a guest room, I don't have guests. I do not use two living rooms to live in. I do not have dinner parties and have no need for fine china or serving bowls. I have two little kids who, thankfully, have four other little kids who live next door and have declared my house the playhouse.
Fine with me. But now my house will actually fit the role. I will convert my home into a kid-friendly home with comfy chairs, couches, and soft pillows for pillow fights; games to play and plastic cups to drink from and bowls of popcorn and lots of paper and crayons and magic markers.
I know I'm an adult, but I really do not need matching coffee tables and decorative candy bowls and unused, sterile rooms. I am not, have never been, and will never be the conventional person that I'm told I should be. I don't care about traditional bedroom sets with matching end tables and dresser and coordinated window treatments, I don't care to have a real dining room or patio set or stainless steel refrigerator.
All of that stuff has always been beyond me. I get it. I recognize what is nice about it, but do not see how it makes my life better, at all. It's so confining and rigid and expected. What I need is a house full of life and activity and laughter and zero concerns about spilled milk on the rug.
So, I'll get the laminate floors I always wanted, maybe ones with designs of beach pebbles or grass and I'll set up my living room like my kids first grade classroom, with 'stations' for art and blocks and reading, and I'll relax into the reality of my life.
- I will become more comfortable with being uncomfortable. Not only will I find a way simply to accept that I will never have enough time or money, but I will also find a way to stop worrying about it all so much. And I will force myself (and my kids) into new and uncomfortable situations on purpose. Why?
For exposure to something different than our normal lives - to learn something outside of our world. Maybe one month I'll sign all three of us for a French cooking class. Maybe one month I'll take them to a nursing home every weekend and let them talk to the residents.
Maybe one month we'll all have to talk to each other in pig Latin and will refuse to understand what the other is saying until spoken to with igpay atinlay.
- No more multi-tasking. The bosses of the world may not like this one, but I resolve to slow down and stop rushing and stop doing two things at once. I'm always rushing from here to there, it's a mad dash race to get home every night after work and then a mad dash race to get dinner made and showers completed and books read and homework checked. No more! Starting today, I slow down. I will not have more than one Internet browser open at once.
I will not check all ten different emails every five minutes. I will not check my bank balance while drinking coffee, and typing a letter, and answering email, and planning my kid's summer camp programs, and thinking about my sister's birthday gift, and chatting with my coworker all at the same time.
Now it's slow and steady wins the race. Slow down. Do what I'm doing right now and only that and that's it. So what if I get home a little later and people have to wait for an email response for five minutes longer?
- Stop caring. You read that right. I am resolving to stop caring so much about every single little detail that it drives me batty. I will not care anymore if my shirt is wrinkled, my hair is frizzy and my car and house are messy. I do not care because it really doesn't matter in the great scheme of things (as they say).
All this excess caring has taken its toll and in the end, after years of fretting and worrying and caring so very deeply, it has not helped me, not furthered my career nor happiness in life. It has done nothing but keep me up nights worrying about this, that or the other thing. I am relinquishing my care gene and handing it over to others, who are much more capable than I will ever be.
So, if you come to my house, be sure to knock loudly, because the doorbell doesn't work (and I don't care), and the music will be too loud anyway, and I'll be out back on my patio with my frozen drink in hand, possibly dipping some bread into some fabulous homemade French country stew and laughing too loudly with the six kids who will be running all around me. Be sure to bring some juicy gossip with you and plan to stay up into the wee hours of the morning swapping stories.