I barely even think about making New Year's resolutions anymore because they're always the same vague things: eat better, exercise, get good grades, stop biting my nails, etc. It' shard to quantify a lot of that stuff. Correction: it's hard to quantify a lot of it because I am too wimpy to make concrete goals like Eat X calories per day NO MATTER WHAT or Run no more than XX miles per week or whatever. Plus, a full year is still a significant enough chunk of time and my life is enough in flux that it's hard to look six, ten, or twelve months down the road and plan exactly what I should be doing on a daily or weekly basis. Who knows where I'll be next December? Figuratively, I mean, since chances are I'll be exactly where I am right now (in College City, in my apartment, on my couch, wrapped in a fleece blanky, drinking coffee, laptop resting on my knees).
So...what's a girl to do? I guess I have some BIG goals that are worth writing down in the name of accountability and New Year's spirit:
(1) Work my butt off in school. This past semester was a tad disillusioning because the coursework involved a lot of busywork, jumping through hoops, and NOT much intellectual stimulation. But I still believe in my field and believe in the program, and have been promised by others that the first semester sucks for everyone. So I am not going to write the next 18 months off as a total waste, but instead find the worthwhile parts and DOMINATE THEM.
(2) Keep a positive attitude. If this sounds hokey and lame, well, shut up. You suck. Depression hit me like a ton of bricks to the chest last year, and it was the most horrible, miserable, lonely experience of my life. Since clawing my way out of that hole with medication, therapy, improved physical health, and lots of parental support, I've discovered the simple fact that thinking positively has a positive effect on my mood. Depression becomes like this awful habit where your thoughts go down the same negative pathways over and over again because that's all they know and it comes so easy. But once you get out of it, seeing the bright side becomes more natural. Obviously there are a lot of factors that have contributed to me feeling better, but it makes a difference for me to conscious focus on the upside of things, keep my anxiety under control, and to NOT allow my mind slip back into those dark places.
(3) Work on my relationship with my dad. My dad and I have a tricky history. We are VERY similar in all the tough ways (fiercely independent, competitive, disciplined, and completely unable to talk about our problems openly). When I was younger, we fought constantly. Over the past couple of years, we've been getting a lot closer, although sometimes it still feels unnatural. I talk to my mom several times a week, but usually only call my dad when I need something. But my mom let slip to me earlier this fall that once when I called Papa Bear just to chat, he was beyond thrilled and he was walking on clouds for days. So if that's all it takes for me to make my dad feel happy and loved, then dammit I'm gonna do it.
(4) All the obvious food and exercise things—although this feels less like something that needs to be made into a resolution, and more like something that has begun to get incorporated into my whole outlook and lifestyle. I wouldn't say that I have an eating disorder anymore, although I do think I still struggle with aspects of it, mostly related to rigidity, compulsiveness, and old habits dying hard. So I guess my goal in this area would be to work on that: wean myself off the calorie counting (although I have absolutely no clue how to go about doing this...) and make sure to maintain my weight.
(5) Give more. For so much of the past year or two with me being the miserable, sick, mean person that I was, it often felt like all I did was take take take. From my parents, my friends, my doctors, my professors, etc. I used them for whatever resources or support I needed and then went back to being feeling sorry for myself, holing up in my mind without a thought for anyone else. Now that the nerve pain is much reduced, my eyes are nearly 100% better, and the eating disorder is completely under control, I feel like I owe the world SO much. I couldn't see it before, when I was so miserable, but I am so incredibly lucky and blessed in so many ways compared to so many other people out there. The world gave to me when I needed it, and now it's my turn to give back. Whether that means going back to work at the food bank every Saturday, or bringing extra Poptarts each morning for the homeless guys on the corner, or hosting friends at my apartment more frequently, I haven't decided. But I think an attitude of generosity is a good way to approach the new year.
There are other little things like cook and clean more, quit biting my nails, take my vitamins every day, and all that, but those are boring and probably won't happen anyway. So, here's to a happy and healthy 2014, and may my resolutionary spirit last at least through the end of the month!