What’s the plan, Stan?

On Christmas night, Joel and I were beached on the couch in a combined food and Netflix coma. All week I’d been thinking how I was half shocked that the end of the year was almost here, and half shocked that it took so long to get here.

2015 went by in a blur. Until about mid-October, I went through the year like a slug, hitting salty patches and shriveling, and then taking a while to… un-shrivel? The beginning of the year wasn’t the greatest. I spent a lot of time trying to convince myself of a bunch of different things: that I wasn’t homesick; that it wasn’t hard to talk to my parents only once a week instead of nearly every day; that it wasn’t hard to not see my siblings and my friends; and that I wasn’t having a complete resurgence of near-crippling social anxiety. Trying to live in denial was exhausting, and it started to wear on Joel and me. With a lot convincing and talking, Joel helped me work through the hardest parts (with one or two crying phone calls to my mom on my lunch break – sometimes I’m a scared 7 year old). Things got better around March-April, but then I was faced with a job hunt. And the final steps of our visa application was hair raising. And I went through another difficult 3 months after getting a new job when I was broke and really struggling to stay positive.

SO yes – a few of downer moments, a few of meh moments, but that wasn’t all that happened. 2015 definitely had HEAPS of awesome. Joel and I rang in the New Year laughing, and I can say that it carried on throughout the year. Living with Joel is so much fun, that I’m always having a good time – even when I hate myself. It’s been a year of sweet gestures, laughing til we cry, lazy late mornings sharing comics, shared goals and support, learning how to cook, learning how to bake, many (too many, if you ask my expanding waist) wonderful Chinese take out meals, lots of little adventures, coffee dates in the park, Netflix binges, home building, and plan making. Joel even taught me basic photoshop magic and more tricks with my camera.

Also, on a totally important and not at all shallow note – I finally learned how to blow dry and curl my hair. And I learned how to apply liquid liner to my satisfaction in less than 7 minutes. I also learned that I will never wake up in time to do all three before work. Or get dressed properly. Or shower. I’ma do me.

So yes, while it doesn’t feel like I accomplished a lot, I did survive. Survival, employment, and a finished visa application. That’s what 2015 boiled down to.

So I was thinking about ALL of this as we were in the afore-mentioned beached whale state. And it got me thinking, “shit, there’s been a lot to distract me over the last few years.” Being lazy and easily distracted are my two worst traits. That and in my personal life, I can barely handle more than two things happening at once. There has been something significant to distract me from and to excuse me from achieving for the last few years. But I couldn’t think of what’s coming up in 2016. Like, what will distract me? What big thing do we have to plan or prepare for? So I brought it up with Joel.

“What’s happening next year?”
“What do you mean?”
“Like, what big thing is happening? In 2013, it was therapy and you + me and you coming to visit; in 2014 it was preparing to move and me finding a job in Sydney; in 2015 it was applying for the visa and us finding new jobs. What’s going to happen next year?”
“How about… we just live? Have good times.”

And I was all, #lightbulb – that’s a great idea.

How about a year with no excuses? A year of getting shit done. A year of working hard toward being who we want to be. A year of ta-da! A year to look back and be like, sheeeeeit. A year well spent. It’s been years since I’ve started a year with no Giant Thing to Plan Around in the forecast. I’m really excited to see what we can accomplish.

I just typed “but first, I’m going to take a nap.” and I deleted it. That’s how serious I am. But I will make a batch of the World’s Best Chocolate Chip cookie first.



On the Subject of Resolutions

I love the “fresh start” feeling that the New Year brings.

I am that person who, in the last week of December, is getting all AW YEAH NEW YEAR LETS DO THIS, standing in line at Target, buying a journal with the new year emblazoned on it, a brand new pair of yoga pants, salad fixins, and even a Nalgene bottle–because damnit, THIS YEAR I am going to exercise and eat better and drink more water and document my journey of self-discovery, consciously ignoring the fact that my journal from the current year is blank and collecting dust, and that I’m wearing this year’s yoga pants that have BBQ stains all over them. And, I am also that person who, by June is all “Wasn’t I supposed to be a better person this year?”

Basically, I’m just like you and every other First World New Year Resolution.

I know all too well that making a List of Things I Want to Change is essentially making a List of Things I’ll Keep Doing. Mostly because I have a tendency to make multiple step goals that involve changing way too much, way too soon, and way too often, and when I get overwhelmed and thrown off track by the 3rd week of January, I lose interest. And then I’m profoundly disappointed with myself by November. That doesn’t stop me from writing it all up in a big list, though. I love lists. I love the idea of one day crossing off every item. You know, one day when I develop a dedicated Type A personality.

Making endless lists is as Type A as I get.
Making endless lists is as Type A as I get.

This year’s list culminated in 31 resolutions/goals. 31! What the hell am I thinking? I am not Beyoncé.

whatever, internet.

But I was getting real serious with these goals. I started to break them down to realistically achievable goals, and categorize them and make time lines and give them Action/Completion dates (I’m really into Excel). I mean, I was making my old therapist proud. And then I checked Facebook (where dreams go to die), and my friend Anita posted an article about resolution making, and she said along with it, “Don’t make resolutions. Make better choices.” And I was all

well… obviously.

It’s one of those revelations that is so completely obvious that it makes you feel a bit like a turd that you didn’t come to it before. But really, that’s all it takes. I look at my New Year Shit list, and almost every single one of the 31 goals are about taking better care of myself and paying more attention to my life and hustling toward life goals. They’re about Making Better Choices. Thinking things out instead of acting impulsively. Considering before reacting. Being active, not lazy. Saving instead of spending. Chewing all my food before taking another bite. Etc.

So, my new list for the year has just one item: Make Better Choices. Even when every inch of me is straining for me to do the opposite, like today, when I wanted to push off blogging until tomorrow, but I’m doing it now. Or this morning, when I ordered eggs without cheese. Or last night, when I washed and moisturized my face when all I wanted to do was go to bed. Let’s not even talk about how I’m substituting olive oil for butter even though it makes my soul cry tears of infinite sadness.

I’m making 2015 a year of just being better and proactive. And for focusing on the little battles I’m winning, instead of dwelling on what I feel like I’m doing wrong–which in itself is making a better choice! So I’m gearing up for greatness, but accepting that sometimes greatness is small and personal. Like substituting olive oil for butter (this is serious).

So come on, 2015 LET’S DO THIS. LET’S BE BETTER.

I’ll report back in June. haha