Anytime I feel a snotty, cutting blog post coming on like toxic word vomit, I write it in the Burn Book (just kidding), or do what most people do and crab to my friends viaÂ group iMessage. Relationships and reputationsÂ would crumble if that transcript ever leaked.
Though some critical writers and bloggers mix humor and wit to shame a particular behavior, or vent their frustrations with society, I find the old adage “say something nice or don’t say anything at all” to work best for me.
Maybe someday my writing skills will be subtleÂ enough to incisively target a particular life annoyance, without coming across like a bitter old crank, which isn’t even endearing among the counterculture.
However, with the change of the date tomorrow to my 29th year, I can air some grievances I’ve cultivated over the last 365 days, under the guise of thoughtful “new year resolutions,” both for myself and the block of demographics most closely resembling my cohort, to undertake.
To make 2015 a progressive year of change, growth, and contentment, might I suggest you leave the following habits here, in 2014…
Marriage to social media; devices
How will you get through a work day without your smartphone?! (/tablet/laptop)
I left mine at our beach house and was without it for two days. Trust me, it is refreshing. And a little scary. But only enough to forceÂ the realization that time away from that red notification icon and ‘silent’ buzzing will not bore you to death.
Behold, words printed on an actual page. Books. Knowledge. Conversation.
On social media specifically: please, friends. Stop splaying every private part of your life out onto social media. It becomes a race for likes, comments, and clicks. And it’s disgusting. Cheap, even. Yes, I said it.
SELF-AGGRANDIZEMENT IS COMMON.
Enjoy the moment (be IN the moment), and then when it’s over and you’re home in bed about to fall asleep, then you can post about it.
Everyone likes to look and feel good, and everyone has a right to do so. However, there is a reversible filter to every flattering angle, and we all have shit days too. Shit hair, shit skin. Shit midsection. I’m well versed in looking like shit.
That gorgeous bod you have? Could be gone tomorrow, if you contracted mono and could only sleep and eat for a month. Or were injured in an accident. Or were horribly disfigured by a terrorist attack.
(1) You are not defined by your shit days, OR YOUR GREAT DAYS. (2) Both extremes are equally you. (3) Before takingÂ drasticÂ measures to ‘perfect’ your look before any kind of occasion or socializing, ask yourself: “am I doing this for me? Or am I doing this so others accept me?”
Once you are coolÂ with you, good bad and in between, you can worry about more important things, like relationships, issues, and impactful activities.
“Don’t let perfection get in the way of good.”
Life moves quite rapidly. To labor over perfection, which doesn’t exist btw, is a practice in missing good, and going straight to miserable and/or ungrateful. Labor over what matters, what is within your control, and what will provide the greatest return. The rest will work itself out.
Fear of sadness, depression
To be uncomfortable with down feelings is like not being allowed to daydream. Drifting off into imaginary land is essential for stress-relief and keeping your long-term goals alive. The same is true for sadness, and feeling depressed.
If you avoid them, you’ll slowly begin to take for granted the happier times. Later, you’ll resent not taking the opportunity to address your feelings as they occur, and exhibit an emotional constipation that will build until it explodes, at a less appropriate moment.
Learn what coping mechanisms work for you, who you can talk to, and what you can do to minimize the frequency ofÂ being sad or depressed. You can dodge it by being smart, and meet it head on by being kind to yourself and embracing your innate vulnerability.*
*Being vulnerable is key to being a mature, kind, and brilliant adult human being, and a large part of being a likable person.
Crutch of alcohol
I don’t care much for the drink. I mean I’ll do it, but it doesn’t excite me or rev me up.
I’ve heard others say alcohol makes them hyper. I wish that was my problem. It just gives me a throbbing headache, even before bed, and a bodily “ick” factor.
Thus, I have a hard time socializing, with friends, on dates, or for any holiday, without drinking in some form. Having never lived away from Tampa, I often wonder if it’s just here, or just my age group? But I think it’s universal.
I’d challenge anyone reading this to be less alcohol-centric in social settings, as well as to develop a place or scene that is free of flowing booze. Ruddy cheeks and gin-soaked pores are not cute on anyone, and yet, so many of us don’t know how to have fun without those unfortunate side effects.
Reading Thanks for the Feedback has been especially interesting, as one strategy the authors tout is replacing “wrong-spotting” with “different-spotting.” When receiving criticism or evaluation, in the many forms they can come in, rather than finding what is wrong or incorrect (in your mind), find what is different between your viewpoint and that of the feedback giver.
This method lends itself better to dialogue, and to finding bits (or chunks in some cases) that are “right” in feedback, that which you can work with to change or adapt.
Independent of active feedback, just when observing others, a habit of the insecure is to belittle or diminish others’ behavior (/looks/words/etc.) because it is threatening to their self-image and is therefore wrong or incorrect.
Something I learned long ago, but have to remind myself of often: just because someone else is handsome, or fit, or into fashion & style, doesn’t mean I can’t be, or am lesser. It just means we share a trait.
Along with alcohol, this is another trend I couldn’t care less for. Pork belly this, bacon that. FriedÂ everything.
Sure sure, it tastes wonderful, but it does a number on my GI system, and doesn’t look so great sticking to my ass. Can’t we have high-end dining and haute cuisine that isn’t going to boost my cholesterol in a single sitting?
I feel so much better when I eat healthy. So why is it so hard to do? During the holidays, everyone gleans evil joy from making the most decadent and unhealthy desserts, coupled with laden traditional dishes and copious sugary drinks.
The rest of the year, it can still be a challenge. Why? Because we love comfort, and buttery, carby food comforts us. It is easier to find and cook than more minimalist (unhealthy?) dishes, and culturally, we value taste over nutrition.
It is with these resolutions in mind that I will ring in the new year, and I hope you will consider them as part of your own behaviors to modify in 2015.
That said, thank you for reading, and Happy New Year!