First of all, thank you all for the lovely birthday wishes. I turned twenty-seven yesterday without incident. Twenty-seven. I'm still grappling with that number; it sounds like a perfectly lovely age, but I'm still having trouble with the fact that it's ME. I've been doing this every year since I was about six, so I know I'll get used to the new number soon enough. At least I don't cry and try to stay awake all night anymore. I used to do that when I was a kid - I was terrified that when I woke up and was a seven-year-old, I wouldn't be ME anymore. Would I still like the same things? Would I remember my parents? Better to just stay six, and play it safe. No thank you, I'll pass on the whole birthday thing.
For my birthday, my coworkers decked out Tiny Grim with a birthday card dangling from his clanking chains and a Happy Birthday sign taped over his sheet music. To add festivity, they taped a clown magnet to his candle. It was such a lovely thought that I almost cried (it was also really early in the morning). We ordered Chipotle for lunch, they surprised me with a cake in the afternoon, and Joel and I ordered pizza for dinner (my request). Joel surprised me with an ice cream cake and a very sweet card that featured a street gang of cats on the front. I got more calls and emails than I could return, and I feel incredibly lucky to have so many wonderful people in my life. We ended the night by watching the end of the American Gladiators pilot, topped off with a Law and Order rerun for good measure. Max peed in the litterbox. It was a lovely birthday. Thank you all, again. Really. From the bottom of my bitter, blackened, holiday-hating heart.
The whole idea of New Year's resolutions is sort of distasteful to me, mostly because I associate Resolutions with the cliched cycle of Resolve, Follow Resolutions to the Letter for Three Weeks, Resolve Quickly Deteriorates and Old Habits are Resumed, End Up in Exactly the Same Place Next Year. People tend to make unrealistic "resolutions", and then beat themselves up for failing to become the model person they think they should be within a year's time. Or, maybe that's just me.
But cliches be damned, I still like to make resolutions in January. It's a new calendar year, it's a new year for me (I am twenty-seven. I am twenty-seven. Have I mentioned that I'm twenty-seven?) and it's a good time to reflect on the year that's concluded and the new one to come. It's a good time to think about what I wish I'd done differently, what went well, and what I'd like to accomplish in the future.
Without further adieu, I give you last year's resolutions and my thoughts on how each one went.
- Break some of my unhealthy eating habits. I'm not giving up frozen pizzas or Diet Cokes, but I need to cut back on the chips and other salty crap, and replace them with more fruits and veggies.
I'd give myself a B+ on this one. I still eat a lot of frozen pizza, drink a lot of coffee and diet soda and I eat more than I should because I love food. But I have made a conscious effort to keep the fridge stocked with a variety of veggies, to eat salads with dinner, and to eat at least one piece of fruit a day.
- Continue on my odyssey to become a better cook. I want to try more cookbook recipes, and add at least three new dishes to the list of Things I Can Make Really Well.
B-. I did a lot of cooking, but I didn't really expand my repertoire as I'd hoped. The one exception is eggplant parmesan, which I really would like to have RIGHT NOW.
- Continue reading for pleasure. This was my big resolution last year, after falling off the reading bandwagon for about 10 years. I used to average a book a week when I was a kid, and sometimes I'd go through a novel in a single day. Then school took over my life somewhere around age 13, and I got into this rut where I felt like if I was reading, I should be reading for school... which lasted all the way through college. Since I never felt like reading for school, I stopped reading altogether until last year. This year I want to continue what I started, and read at least one book a month.
A+. I read 23 books this year and I think I've successfully re-established the habit. I'll recap the books I read this year and what I thought about them soon, in case anyone cares.
- Start a reading journal. I am totally copying this from another blogger, because I think it is a great and fun idea.
A. I did it, and I loved it. I like to feel some sense of accomplishment when I finish a book; I want to know that somehow, somewhere, the universe is giving me credit. Keeping track for myself in a reading journal accomplishes that goal, feeds my habit of buying cute paper products, and it's interesting to look back on to boot. Thanks for the lovely idea, Jemima, and please let me know if there's any specific person in the San Francisco Traffic Violations Department that I should be sending evil thoughts to.
- Write something for fun.
F, Unless this blog counts.
- Be less judgmental (of myself and others). I also made this resolution last year, and jury's out on whether or not I succeeded.
B. I still need to work on being less judgmental of others, but I've made strides in cutting down the constant backtalk in my head. I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me.
- Find a volunteering gig that I actually like, and stick with it.
D. I thought about it, thought about it some more, even filled out the application to volunteer at the SPCA. After much consideration, I didn't send it in. I think it would be stretching myself too thin. Theoretically, I would still like to do this, but it's on hold for the time being.
- Finish some of the billion projects I've started at home. I would love to finish My Wall, or at least make some really good progress on it. Ditto for the painting, which has come to a standstill lately as we waffle about colors for the first floor.
A-. I finished the Wall. We just have the bedroom left to paint. Good progress was made, much is left to be done. I fear that will always be true.
- Fully fund my IRA.
A+. Go me.
- Start dressing my age, instead of masquerading as a college student in my sweats-and-sneakers weekend uniform.
B+. I did make real progress in updating my work wardrobe, most notably in the shoe department. But I desperately need some new work pants (business pants!) and I still can't bring myself to wear more than jeans and a sweatshirt on the weekends. But is that really so bad?
- Stop being sporadic about exercising. Start running outside once the weather is better, and try to mix in hiking and yoga when I can.
A. I made a private goal to exercise in some manner at least 5 times a week, and used a very high-tracking system to monitor my progress. Meaning, I wrote down the date and what I did in a mini notebook on my dresser. The notebook was a great idea because, like the book journal, it gave me a sense of accomplishment when I got to write something down before bed at night. It also helped me to keep better track of how I was really doing. If I started feeling like a lazy cow, I could look back and see that, yes, I had been a couch potato for the past three days -- but prior to that, I'd worked out for ten days straight. That helped me to keep from sinking into the "well, this week's shot, so I guess I'll just take the rest of the month off" mentality. In the end, I came up eight workouts short for the year, which isn't too bad at all. I gave myself a break when I was sick or traveling and didn't count any deficits that accrued during those days -- see, that's me, being less judgmental of myself!
My private goal was also to lose 15 lbs, getting down to 115 lbs. I was hesitant to talk about actual weight here for a couple of reasons. For one thing, HELLO CLICHE. "I want to lose 15 lbs this year!" It doesn't get any more trite than that. But more importantly, I didn't want to look like I was either crying out for help (I'm not, really) or fishing for compliments (again, really... I'm not). As a recovered anorexic, I'm always hesitant to talk about dieting or weight loss publicly, lest I send my family into a frenzy worrying about my health. I'm fine. Actually, I'm great. I feel that being able to make these reasonable goals, which are more about health than about looking a certain way, is a true sign of recovery. And I know that "I don't need to lose weight". But I want to, and I wanted to try.
So anyway, I wanted to lose 15 lbs. 130 is too heavy for a petite person who stands 5'1". I successfully lost 10 of those pounds, and then gained five back (thank you, holidays!), but I think I'm on the right track.
As for mixing in yoga and hiking, I did well on the yoga (although I fell short of my once-a-week goal), and OK on hiking. I also walked and went running outside when the weather was nice, so all in all: not too bad.
I'll post this year's resolutions soon... I'm still adding to the list. "Be more punctual" isn't one of my goals, although maybe it should be.