This time of year is fraught with good intentions. Hopeful souls everywhere take a hard look in the mirror, resolve to stop drinking/lose weight/change jobs/work on their novels/improve a relationship. It takes an ability to self analyze and enough courage to switch gears from normal routine; it’s not easy. These brave souls find gumption in reserve and motivation in their sofa cushions, and they decide to improve their lives. I mean this with all sincerity: good for them, and I hope the change is everything they dreamed.
I am not one of these people. I don’t look at the calendar as a tool for change; I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. And it’s not because I’m superior or can’t find something to improve about myself. It’s simply because of this: I’m impatient. As soon as I want to change something, I usually do – be that in April, August, or November. I do not have the wherewithal to wait.
If your 2011 was anything like mine, it was terrible. Housing displacement, no real vacation, economy woes, anger at Republicans, and some health scares. 2011, the suckiest year that ever sucked. 2011 taught me a lot about what I no longer want or won’t tolerate. (Did I mention I have a patience problem?) Rather than give you a list of what I want to do/change/become, here’s a list of what I learned from 2011 – i.e., what I won’t be doing in 2012. The anti-resolution resolution list, if you will.
I won’t be dieting. This is not an admission of total body acceptance. I wish I had slimmer hips and thighs, and I’m not sure what happened to my arms after I turned 30. Despite going to the gym 3-4 times a week (on a good week), lifting weights, walking everywhere, and eating moderately, I’m not a lanky supermodel. Imagine that. I’m not suggesting that anyone who wants to diet or who should diet should not. Certainly you should take steps for your health and your life. Rather, I’d like to throw up a big middle finger to the patriarchy. After a brief health scare this year, I had one of those lucid moments that main characters in movies have during the Act II montage. I like me; I like my body. Why are we supposed to hate ourselves? Why is thin good? Whose gaze am I supposed to satisfy? Last week, I saw a beautiful woman walking along Lexington Avenue devouring a slice of pizza. I mean, she was in love with it, smiling and licking her lips. It was exactly the gusto I needed to see. New Yorkers have the best food at their disposal, have the highest longevity rates in the United States, and they eat pizza while smiling. I’m not going to go on a diet; I’m too busy living.
I won’t accept status quo. There is comfort in the dull lull of routine. There’s the conservative voice in your head that says, “Things are scary. Why change?” Screw you, voice. Some routine is good, of course, like flossing. But I’m talking about accepting the way things are because you’re too scared to rattle the drum. Rattle it, sugar. Make big life noises. This is what I tell myself, anyway, because life gets shorter by one day every day. I won’t accept what’s not working simply because of fear of the unknown.
I won’t under appreciate real value. Here’s what I’ve noticed about New Yorkers: they buy expensive things. I can’t do that indiscriminately, of course, as some Park Avenue socialites might. But what I can do, for example, is stop buying cheap pants. Instead of buying 10 pairs of cheap black pants in a year, I’d rather invest in that one $150 pair that will last. I’ve started doing this on a small scale and have already seen great results: some articles of clothing, haircuts and hair care, shoes. What I’m learning is the idea of real value: when to splurge because price difference reflects real quality, and when to save because cheaper doesn’t mean worse. Some New Yorkers seem to have mastered this; they will buy a $400 jacket and wear the hell out of it forever, but will finagle over the price of a rug. I’m still learning.
I won’t tolerate – well, intolerance. I used to be quiet for the sake of peace, to not cause a stir. Life is too short for this kind of kowtowing. You may view this as a step backward if you have Buddhist tendencies, and maybe New York is giving me a hard edge. But I’ve lost my taste for appeasement. It helps no one – not the bigot standing in front of you, not you, and not the future. I have become more vocal in my critique of the human race and its condition, and I don’t see curtailing it any time soon.
I won’t believe in Doomsday prophecies. I mean, really.
So there it is – 2012: the year of not doing things. And maybe I will make a resolution next year. Maybe I’ll resolve to be more patient.