Monday, December 30, 2013

Goals that are Somewhat Adjacent to the New Year

My friend Lee posted in his blog about New Year's resolutions and his general dislike of them. I enjoyed reading it, particularly the part where he addresses the type of resolutions where people basically want to complete change themselves. That struck a nerve with me. I'm in a position now to look back at the "everything about me must change!" phase of my life from a very safe and comfortable distance, and it is good to reach that point where I can feel sorry for the version of me that wasn't very happy with herself but also glad that she no longer exists. And I'm just glad to have a general sense that I like the current version of me quite a lot.
Also, it reminds me of this Amanda Palmer song. Because, you know. Pretty much any Big Thing I Have Learned has been sung about by Amanda Palmer at some point or another.

So Lee's post got me thinking about New Year's resolutions and how I don't really do them either, and the very nature of them goes against the whole thing of being happy with myself. I think it's ok to want to make some changes, if those changes are going to make me happier. And by that, I mean really, actually happier; not happier in that magical thinking kind of way that goes "I bet if I weighed less I would finally be happy", because depression is not stored in fat cells. I mean things that tap into the stuff that really actually makes me feel satisfied with myself.
Also, I tend to go through certain phases in my life, and often those phases run sort of along the cycle of a year. At the end of last summer, my year-long-ish travel phase ended. I had a great desire to be adventurous and see new places and do new things, and travel for no reason other than because I could. But I got really tired in New York City, as if all the travelling finally caught up with me. And the end of that phase led directly to the one I'm entering now.
So instead of resolutions, here are the things that I feel like doing this year just because they will make me happy:

Keep a home that I feel happy in. I have somehow evolved into a tidy person. I think part of it is being an introvert in the true Jungian definition of the word in which I recharge by turning inward (as opposed to the Tumblr definition of the word in which an introvert is a special, special snowflake with unique thoughts and feelings that are hindered by a severe anxiety disorder). I'm a social, talkative introvert! But nonetheless, I want to go home and hug my cat after every adventure, and when I do, I feel more relaxed and happy in a tidy home. I also want to work on my home decor more, just because it makes me feel satisfied with how my place looks.
Do creative things. There are new costuming techniques I want to try out. I want to learn leather working. I want to try out a few techniques that are completely new to me. But I also just want to remember that sometimes, the best remedy for stress is to stop sitting around and go do something creative. Play music, draw or paint, make a little art, even if it is small and simple art that is just for my own enjoyment. Especially if it is just for my own enjoyment.
Remember that eating good food and exercising makes me feel better. See what I did there? Eat better and exercise more is probably the most common resolution, but this list is about what I want to do to be happier this year, and not about resolutions. Also, for a long time I've challenged the ideas behind that very common resolution, and all the body image/societal expectation/beauty standard baggage that goes with it. And what I've concluded is that a skinnier, fitter me does not result in a sexier, more popular, better me. So rather than go with the standard resolution, I just want to stay in touch with this truth. I like the instant gratification of fast food. It is my favorite fix if I want to feel good for 30 minutes. But if I want to feel good every day when I wake up, I do that by eating more fruits and veggies and exercising almost every day.
Eat things I love. Sort of goes along with the last goal. When I'm not seeking instant gratification, I'm happiest when eating the food that I make for myself, because I like my cooking. I also want to drink more tea - just because I like tea a lot, and I've learned that I enjoy it most when I keep a lot of varieties around to choose from.
Remember that reading makes me feel like I'm doing something just for me. I have no interest in high-minded self improvement here. I'm not even convinced that reading is somehow better for you than, say, watching good movies or shows. I just like to read, and it always makes me feel relaxed and a little pampered. Which is why I'm posting this here. I hope to resurrect the book blog this year, because I also enjoy writing about the books when I finish them.
Forgive myself but remember that accomplishment is satisfying. At times, I need fast food instant gratification. At times, I need to leave the home messy and not worry over it because there's a lot going on in my life. At times, I need to just sit around and play video games for a couple of hours, which excludes the option of getting anything done. And that's fine. Everyone needs a break sometimes. Just so long as I can continue to accomplish things I want to do, because ultimately I'm more satisfied with myself when goals are accomplished.