I’m Making My First-Ever New Year’s Resolutions!

I’m in a very aware period of my life. I can see things that need to change, and things that need to remain but perhaps be fortified or put into daily practice, and I’m down for the challenge.
Publish date:
December 31, 2015
resolutions, self improvement, changes

That’s right, never have I ever made an actual New Year’s resolution. I’ve always resided staunchly in the camp of those who count all 365 days of the year as days to create change if need be, or at least to reflect on ourselves and our lives closely and honestly.

Particularly as someone who struggles to just get through the holiday season, and someone who has had to discard the rigid “life plan” I once held for myself that indicated I’d be married by now (I’m not), and have at least one child (I don’t), I’m especially loath to attach anything about my life or well-being to a date on a calendar. Like most topics, we xoJaners have had lots to say about resolutions, mostly against making them, and I wholeheartedly love everything our dear Amber said on the topic here.

And yet, here we are. I’m actually eager to make these resolutions. This has been an incredible year where I’ve experienced huge growth in my mindset, and I’ve also experienced a painful disconnect when outside circumstances or people in my life don’t magically fall in line with my ideals. Which… happens. It’s my job to reconcile those incongruities, or make a change.

I’m in a very aware period of my life. I can see things that need to change, and things that need to remain but perhaps be fortified or put into daily practice, and I’m down for the challenge. This challenge involves many triumphs, but just as many tears and crying jags—lest ye think I’ve somehow donned a cape and armor with which to fly into 2016.

Far from it! Just a desire to be my best self, which will include adjustments in behavior and attitude in the following areas:

1. Being kinder to my physical self.

I’m one of very few people who has to resolve to work out less. Decades of disordered eating and my career as a performer morphed long ago into pretty severe exercise addiction. I don’t talk about it often for a number of reasons, and maybe that will change in 2016 as well.

For now, I know that I’ve made huge improvement through treatment, and I’m resolving to pay attention to the ways in which I get in my own way in this area, still beating up on my body and appearance. I resolve to pay more attention to the physical pain that serves as a cue to ease up and also to look into what it even means to “ease up” and how I might go about it.

Dealing with disorders and addictive behaviors around food and body present far different obstacles to recovery from drug or alcohol abuse, because food is a necessity. We will always be in some sort of management protocol, as opposed to ever having “kicked” the habit.

I know that alcoholism and substance abuse are not simple black and white propositions either, but there’s nothing substance addicts can experience like being patted on the back for your weight loss or muscle definition. Our society is still so fucked that I resolve to drown out the voices of “well-intentioned” strangers with my own voice saying that it’s OK to not work out every day.

2. Cooking more.

Speaking of eating issues, 2015 was the year I came into my “kitchen self,” and she’s kinda cool! I went from completely viewing food as The Enemy to being one of those people who cooked every now and again, but not with any zeal. I started to cook the odd dinner here and there for a few stay-at-home dates, and something in me really enjoyed that.

I got more creative and made more and more things from scratch, but then even that glee was tainted by the dark truth that I had never cared enough about nourishing myself alone as I did when I was in a couple. And then I was suddenly single, and it hurt like hell, and… I kept cooking.

The power and freedom to make something healthy and nourishing directly calms my old food fears when they flare up, and the labor and time involved (washing dishes!) is aided by propping my tablet on the kitchen counter and watching Netflix. I can usually make something pretty great, and have all the dishes done and drying within an episode of “Murder, She Wrote.”

3. Doing More Things I Love

I know, this sounds too vague and obvious to be a thing, but I’m listing it anyway. I need to remind myself of this and actively work towards it every day. I was recently involved in the workshop of a new Broadway musical that I signed too many NDAs to really discuss further, but suffice it to say that of the many musicals I’ve done, it had more of the classic and old-school musical elements that I really love than most shows these days.

I tapped into the part of me that can still do a triple-time step with a pickup and felt a familiar joy. The part of my brain that’s a perpetual hater wagged its finger and said I was lucky to have this job (I was), but I can’t just wait for the next job to feel that joy. Which is the truth, because sometimes haters are right.

Last night, I was feeling sad that that job was over (for now), and flipping channels on TV when I caught the marvelously cheesy and comprehensive and wonderful documentary “That’s Dancing” on AMC. I had seen it before, but I stopped what I was doing anyway and sat, mesmerized. I had tears in my eyes as I remembered that there are places where I can go pay a small fee and take a dance class—it’s that simple.

Saying this publicly so that I’ll actually do this, and other thigs that I love, and not just talk about it.

4. Seeing More People In Person

Oy, this is a tough one because it takes two to do this particular tango. I’m an active extrovert to the core—I don’t like to stay indoors for long periods of time, and I feel drained when I’m alone or away from people for too long. I don’t Netflix and Chill—as I said above, I Netflix and Cook, or Netflix and Gym, or any number of other things, and I really like being around people.

I was the person who made everyone friendship bracelets and who actually kept in touch after summer camp, only to watch the letters dwindle until finally giving up. Which is how I feel now with text messages and social media DMs.

I’m not claiming 100% innocence here, because adult life does get in the way of socializing in ways that are unavoidable, but there are so many message chins and threads I have going about getting together with people that I just don’t see. Gotta change that.

5. Seeing Different People In Person.

I know that people are getting together in person all the time; the internet hasn’t crushed that completely. So maybe if it’s taking such a Herculean effort for actual facetime, it’s just not gonna happen with certain folks. So maybe in 2016 I delete a few email threads and make some new friends. I have lots of industry friends and acquaintances, but actual sit-in-the-same-physical-space-and-shoot-the-shit friends are dwindling.

Making friends as an adult seems like a lot of work, to be honest. I find it scary. We don’t have the shortcut of being thrown together in the same homeroom, but that can also be liberating: when we connect as adults on common ground, it can be more genuine.

That’s my aim: more genuine living, and taking the steps to make it a reality. Being “eager to make these resolutions” is all good and well, but the follow-through is the money shot.

I’m working toward lofty ideals, with all of my very human flaws in tow. There’s no superhero cosplay taking me into 2016. I’ll be walking into the new year; hopefully steadily, sometimes stumbling, even falling down. But always moving forward.

Image credit: Flickr/CC