Friday, December 30, 2011

Resolutions are for chumps

It’s that time of the year again. People everywhere are trying to come up with their resolutions for the new year. Most of them will last about a month and then the resolutions will be broken and guilt will set in. This is only one of the reasons New Year’s Eve is my least favorite holiday. I promise there are holidays I like: Groundhog Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving. I don't think NYE will ever make this list.

Two years ago I was turning 30 and decided that I would pass on making resolutions I would never keep. Instead I decided to do something new each month and 30 new things in June (in honor of my birthday). I did things like wear lipstick everyday (which I loved and still do), wear skirts everyday (which was awful because it was an unseasonably cold May), stopped eating junk food (easier than I thought) and tried online dating (total disaster). Each month I’d write about what I accomplished and try to move the activity forward into the next month to see how many I was still doing by the end of the year. In June I tried to do 30 brand new things during the month; not necessarily one per day but for a while that’s how it worked out.  I went to the 9:30 Club for the first time, visited Gettysburg (the battlefield not the city) with my dad and brother, went on a walking tour of DC, got a facial, attempted to complete the NYT Sunday crossword (dismal failure), bought a lottery ticket and read Dr. Zhivago. There were lots of things I didn’t do too. I figure I’ll try to do them before I turn 40.

I attempted this again last year but it didn’t really work out. I think it had to do with motivation and focus. I had a rough year adjusting to living here and while some of what I had planned to do revolved around learning more about my new home, I just didn’t do it. On some level it was worth the skipping: I went to Rwanda and my best friend’s wedding and those two experiences were worth more to me than finding a new restaurant I like or going to a trendy bar in the city.

So what about this year? I’ve decided to try my 2009 plan again but instead of one thing per month, I’m going to pick a few activities, goals, etc. and try to do them throughout the year. Here’s what I’ve decided on so far:

1.     Go see more live music. Can you believe I haven’t been to a concert or open mike night or anything since I moved here? What’s wrong with me? I went to open mike night in Arlington last week and had the best time. Allison and I even chatted with some of the musicians we liked. Check out The Lippy Grins, Two Alpacas (on Facebook) and Travis Tucker. I have an entire post in my head about this particular open mike night but it will have to wait until after the first of the year. The Bay Area abounds with music venues and I haven’t tried to go to any of them. Sad, sad, sad.
2.     Go bowling. This may sound completely stupid but I had forgotten how much fun bowling is. My brother and I went over the holidays and had a blast (and it was super crowded so clearly we’re not the only ones who think this). Bonus: bowling requires it own shoes and you can eat junk food and drink beer while you play. If you’re lucky, there might even be 70s classic rock playing. That sounds pretty perfect to me.
3.     Help Anita Smallin make National Postcard Month a reality. More on this to come but Anita and I firmly believe that we need to celebrate postcard writing and what better way than to have an entire month devoted to the art of the postcard?
4.     Write more frequently. I write more now than I ever have before but I feel like I could do more. I have a ton of writing from New Orleans that I need to revise and so many new ideas that I have to just do it. I'd also like to submit something to the Hello Giggles website for their "From Our Readers" section. I want to up my posting to this blog, make better use of my work blog and write more offline. That children’s book isn’t going to write itself now is it?
5.     Be more like Kate Winslet’s character in The Holiday. I love this movie and I identify with Kate’s character the most. One of my favorite parts of the movie is when her next-door neighbor (the fantastic Eli Wallach) tells her to be the leading lady of her own life. He recommends all these wonderful classic movies that have leading ladies who are extraordinarily independent and awesome. The women and eventually Kate, have gumption and moxie. That’s what I will strive to do this year.

As I said last year no resolutions, just fun! That’s really what I’m looking forward to with each of these five things: a little adventure, a little entertainment and lots of fun. 


  1. How inspirational! I like the idea of one new thing per month...but what to pick!?!? I shall put on my thinking cap...

  2. Mark your calendar for Feb. 9 -- Alameda's own Meshuggah Beach Party are playing at Forbidden Island. Fun live music within walking distance of your house!

  3. I'm happy to share my past lists if you're interested. I selected some fairly random things but all were realistic so as not to be too daunting.

    Calendar marked! Island cocktails and Jewish songs/melodies set to surf music-brilliant!