On December 30th, my boss asked us if we had any New Years resolutions, as we prepared for the following day’s New Years Eve dinner. Assuming she was at least half joking, I laughed, as the cook next to me also let out a defeatist “ha…”
“Nope,” we said. She laughed and said something about, ‘oh you jaded people,’ and I started to wonder if she was serious. It was not unlike the feeling I got when I started working at Prune, and a co-worker handed me the employee handbook to take home and read. The next day, she asked if I’d read it, and I kind of laughed, ‘yes,’ with that knowing, sarcastic “who really reads the entire handbook,” tone.
“You should really read it. It’s an amazing handbook. Everyone reads it,” she told me, slapping me out of my cocoon of irony for a second.
‘Well, fuck,’ I thought. ‘My boss, who is older than me and has a lot more life shit under her belt (who is therefore inevitably more experienced in the art of being demoralized), is very possibly contemplating a New Years resolution. Does this mean that a) she has the discipline to turn her shit around at the drop of a hat, unlike most? b) she has more hope for herself than I/many do? c) I am just a washed up, sarcastic, cynical, hopeless bitch? d) all of the above e) none of the above…’
I didn’t think much more about it until the resolutions started to crop up all around me: people everywhere spoke of their plans to be more fit, to be more organized, to spend less money, and to drink less. Gyms all touted promotions to help the born again fit people reach their goals. People in the restaurant became fewer and far between, at least for the week. And then I start to find myself waking up each morning in a sea of misgivings, tortilla chips, dirty laundry, or all three.
Should I make a resolution? I’m quite the ever changing human despite most of the static ways I’ve developed over the last five, ten, or twenty years…I was not sure.
I began to run through the steps in case I thought I should try it for once. Step one of making a New Years resolution is making a mental list of things you despise about yourself or things in which society would prefer you did not engage. It should be a 70/30 mix of things you want to stop doing and things you want to just do a little better.
My list began:
Health:If I actually did think I could change, I would want to lose 8-41 pounds and spend at least an hour at the gym every day. I would want to drink 80% less alcohol.
Money: I would stop spending all my money and save half of my pay every week. I would spend more on art materials and things for my hobbies instead of booze.
Hairless cats: I would own one and find the best way to get it declawed painlessly so that it would not hurt Lucky and also wouldn’t be sad and in pain and prone to opiate addiction if it ever struck out on its own in the event of my untimely death.
Education/mental health: I would read a book. Any book. I haven’t read more than two or three books in the past five years, and I only read them because I had great American writer FOMO. They were A Catcher in the Rye and The Bell Jar. No one ever assigned them to me in the past. Ideally, someone is resolving to tighten up the English curriculum in high schools right now…
Life attitude: I would try to be less apathetic and fast to shoot down or satirize ideas or attempts of others. I would also try more things in earnest and be more open to public failure if it should come to that. I might even hate myself one modicum less for showing genuine/unabashed enthusiasm!
Failing all these ideas, I would take the route in which I say I just want to embrace myself for the way I am and take myself with all my flaws, in a nice station wagon, and ride off into the fuchsia sunset of self-love. Unfortunately, while I like that idea OK, I kind of feel like it’s the same thing as not making a resolution AT ALL. Or like making a resolution and then getting really drunk and deciding you’re beautiful, don’t need no man, no gym, no kale, no nothing. So I would not choose the self-love path.
After all this rumination, I spent a day with my girlfriend doing all the things you don’t do after New Years Day. We slept in, watched a movie while eating a leftover bacon-chicken sub and corn chips. We lounged around the apartment with no plan to put our piles of clothes into any hampers of any kind. I put tequila in my coffee. We exited our house only to go eat a fuck ton of Joe’s Shanghai and get foot massages at a place that claims you have an anus in your ankle and went as far up my leg as my ovaries. We came home and watched ANOTHER movie. We ate the leftovers. We drank wine. We dipped anything we could find in ranch dip. And we had the best day ever.
And I had a couple of vague wonderings of what would happen if I had not eaten seven meals or walked more than thirty minutes that day or cleaned the house. But I didn’t care. And I wondered if I could resolve to resolve myself. And give in to my ways without having to hate myself OR ply myself with the inner propaganda reel of self support. But I won’t be able to do that either. It will always be a mix, a conflict, an ebbing and flowing of disgust, loathing, excitement, pride, and apathy. This is the end part where you write a heavy hitting conclusive statement that isn’t too corny but also leaves the reader with a feeling of being moved or settled. I don’t have one, but I will say that I went to the gym today and have also eaten almost a whole sleeve of saltines, and I feel glad that I worked out and also glad that I rediscovered the very satisfying, mouth-coating comfort that is the saltine cracker. It tastes like a bag of oyster crackers resolved to get itself whole and thin. Get it? -____-