If you’re reading this, it means you’ve made it through 2017. Congratulations. What a crazy year it’s been.
I self-audit, and this is one of those times of the year where it’s impossible not to. A New Year comes around, and many people make resolutions to better themselves in some way. Of course, many of us fall short, or revert to old habits. It’s much more difficult to make a lasting change than it is to be the same person you were the year before. It’s just so damn comfortable.
Last year, I resolved to have a new experience every month. I stopped keeping track of what those experiences were at a certain point, but a pattern was established. I said no to less and less, and let myself go out and experience things without any preconceived notions of how things would go. I wanted to live in the moment. I wanted to judge experiences and people less, and open up my world to things I’d never tried before.
I don’t make one resolution; I make several. That way, if I blow one of them, I have others to fall back on, and my spirit isn’t crushed. The ones I’ve accomplished often become lasting habits, and the ones I didn’t achieve, I either axe altogether, or I go for them again. Last year, more for lent than a New Year’s resolution, I tried to give up cursing and road rage for a full 40 days. I was driving many miles each week, and I didn’t like how angry I got if someone forgot to use a turn signal. I didn’t make it through the full forty days without any rage, but I was definitely calmer, and that’s a resolution I want to keep. Not cursing proved to be a challenge, and I found myself repeatedly breaking my vow. I’m not sure I’ll go for that one again. I pitched to a friend giving up coffee for lent this year, although sometimes I’m too ambitious.
I want to move forward. When I used to drive for work, so much of my time behind the wheel was spent swimming in a pool of memories. It’s hard to avoid that when you’re cruising on the highway, when driving becomes a mindless activity. You can only ward off the thoughts so long before your resolve weakens, and the thoughts you’ve been trying to keep out barge in and stay for a while, bounce off each other, and snowball. This year, I focused on what’s right in front of me, and I worked on turning off my mind. The only time I think about the past now is when I write. Otherwise, I flip the switch and turn it off for the day. My mind doesn’t always cooperate, but I’ve made some serious improvements.
For a long time, I was a negative, pessimistic person. Life had dealt me a crappy hand, so I responded accordingly. I’m done with that, at least I hope I am, and maybe that’s the biggest and most important resolution I’ve made to date, one that’s a lifelong battle: I want to be positive. It’s so easy to give into negative energy and just see the worst in the world and humanity. When you think like that, you only look for things around you that confirm your worldview, and your life becomes a reinforcing negative cycle. I’ve lived that life, and I don’t want it anymore. I never really wanted it, but I was that person for a time.
I went on a date a few months ago with a person I met on a dating app. I’d never met someone through one of these things, well, I’d never met them in person. The date was pleasant enough, but there was no follow-up. My roommate asked me why, why there hadn’t been a second. She’d been attractive, and the conversation had been engaging, but a quick scan of my thoughts gave me an answer I didn’t expected.
“She told me that she was a negative person.”
I respect her for knowing that about herself, and for being self-aware. I hope she respects that fact that I don’t want to date a negative person. I’ve come too far and worked too hard to get to this point, only to take what I’d view as a step backwards. I want to progress, to keep improving on the person I’ve become.
I’ve gone on more dates since then, and although there have been no love connections, I look forward to giving love more of a shot in 2018. I’d shut it out for a time while I worked on myself, and focused on getting employed. I admit that when I didn’t have a job, I was too insecure to approach a woman, knowing that my house wasn’t in order. The thought of actually saying the words, “I’m unemployed,” were almost enough to make me want to die alone. I’m being dramatic, but I also didn’t think it would be the biggest turn-on.
I thought resolutions were clichéd, but I don’t feel that way anymore. New Year’s is an annual reminder to make a change, but you don’t have to wait until the end of December in order to do so. Any time you’re not happy with your life, or you know you could be happier, it’s incumbent on you to switch or mix things up, to do something different. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
No one forces you to make a resolution, so only make one if you’re actually intent on keeping it. Sure, you may still fall short, but if you want to make a change, take a step outside of your comfort zone and go for it. That feeling of accomplishment is amazing, and once you gain that confidence that achievement brings, it may lead you to make other life changes. Change begets change, and that’s a beautiful thing, especially if you become happier in the process.
I wanted my thirties to be a decade of happiness. It’s been a tumultuous year, but one that I’m proud of. I’m finally happy and living the dream that I want for myself. I’m going to give 2018 and every year after that everything I have, the way I did this year. I want to progress in my professional and personal life. I want to write even more, and sleep better. I want to alleviate my anxiety, and be the best person I can be. I could not be more excited about another year, and another chance to be the best Adam I’ve ever been. Don’t wait on becoming the best possible version of yourself. Thanks for reading.