Here’s to Making the Most of a New Year and to Trying Our Damnedest to Not F*ck It Up.
Well, it’s about that time.
You know what time I mean.
That time when we’re supposed to get all reflective and introspective and think about everything that happened (or didn’t happen) during the past year — about all of the goals we accomplished and how our lives changed because we achieved said goals and how we’ve miraculously become these emotionally centered, successful, zen-like people because we perfected the art of meditation somewhere in the time between attaining all of our hopes and dreams (which ironically isn’t the goal of meditation but just work with me here), and now, finally, we can enter the new year with a sense of peace, contentment, and, most important, sans resolutions.
Because that’s realistic.
Sadly, if the psychological distance on the self-satisfaction scale I’d hoped to travel during the last year was a mile, I’ve managed to physically propel myself forward a foot. Maybe two feet, if I want to account for the fact that I’ve mostly emerged from a pretty uncomfortable bout of depression.
And why wouldn’t I want to account for that?
But still. That means I fell 5,278 feet short. I’m not disappointed, per se, because I’m not surprised. I mean, it’s me we’re talking about here. I frequently quote the Gin Blossoms in saying, “If you don’t expect too much from me, you might not be let down.” Genius. Or demoralizing. But whatever, it’s true, and it applies to me, too. If *I* don’t expect too much from myself, I can’t let myself down.
If I were to look back on 2011 and come up with a single word to describe it, there’s really only one obvious choice:
I mean, really, Katie? 2010 was an all-around shit year, which lead to you losing your shit, quitting your respectable, well-paid job, and moving to Costa Rica for 2 months to make hot sauce. Oh yeah, and to find yourself. But really, all you found was the first decent tan of your life and the fact that you have to first know yourself in order to find yourself.
And what do I know about myself?
For starters, I’m happiest when I am traveling and meeting new people.
I have a passion for writing.
I like learning my way around a camera.
So, after a brief bout of the fire-under-the-ass kind of inspiration which led me to vehemently absorb a zillion books and articles on freelance writing and photography, submitting exactly one super professional official travel article pitch, receiving exactly one acceptance after multiple follow-ups only to learn of an 80% decrease in the original advertised pay, and then working in a bar for a few months, I’ve settled, once again, into a job for which I have exactly zero passion except now my income is significantly reduced and my co-workers aren’t as fun.
Well, that’s not entirely true. My co-workers and I are getting to know each other, which takes time, and my new job does allow me some of the freedom of creativity I lacked in the former — I do get to write, take pictures, and mingle with the townsfolk, which is a vast improvement from sitting for 8 hours a day in front of a computer monitor.
But this is not, to say the least, where I’d hoped to find myself with just a few days left in this 11th year of the new millennium. I mean, it seems like just yesterday we were partying it up like it was 1999 because it was 1999, dammit, and we had all this time to become more awesome than we already were when we were only 17 frickin’ years old.
It appears as though I need to take this goal thing a little more seriously this time around.
I’m not going to call them “resolutions,” because that has all kinds of negative, clichéd connotations about not following through or only lasting until the Christmas lights finally come down, which will probably be sometime in February, much to our neighbors’ dismay.
(Our Christmas lights, in all seriousness, are the most hideous display of half-assedness we’ve publicly flaunted in a while, my friends. The thing is, after Justin finished installing new floors, smoking a turkey, and baking 2 cheesecakes for upcoming holiday festivities, for some reason he didn’t have the energy to commit to professionally stringing outdoor lights. Yet he still insisted on doing it. And all I have to say is that the drooping, scalloped string of white lights hanging from our front porch — only our front porch — look something akin to a melting frosted gingerbread house. But I didn’t have the heart to tell him. At least, not until guests were arriving and I’d already had a glass of spiked cider and it was finally okay to just relax and laugh it out.)
This year I’m going to stick with the term “goals,” instead of resolutions, because it sounds more political and serious and spreadsheety. There’s a sense of accountability, if you know what I mean.
Except maybe… not so anally.
And maybe… a little less intensely.
And probably… a lot more half-assedly.
Because that’s how I roll.
But I kind of feel ahead of the game because I’ve already done Step 1 and Step 2. Step 1 is to make an “Eff Yeah” list for 2011. That’s easy. I survived depression, I went to Spain, I threw the best baby hot tub party ever, and I didn’t die. Eff-to-the-Yeah. Step 2 is to come up with a word or phrase that best represents my hopes and dreams for the coming year. Again, that’s pretty easy. If the word for 2011 was anticlimactic, especially when it comes to finding a sense of purpose, then there can only be one word for 2012:
So. We’ll see if I can actually make that happen. Not that it will matter since the world is supposedly going to end at the end of the year anyway.
But, if I follow the steps, at least I’ll be able to say I tried, right? And in the end — the real end of the end of the end of the world type end — that’s all that really matters.