My thought was that, you know, it's kind of cute how I spent my late 20s as most people spend their college years, but maybe I should perhaps behave a little more like a thirtysomething.
11 months later, the Friday after Thanksgiving in fact, I woke up with a raging hangover (love you, urban family!) and stumbled into my kitchen. I trudged to my fridge, hoping against hope that I'd find something, anything, in it that could qualify as "nourishing." Instead I found 16-month-old salad dressing, expired milk, 3 sticks of butter, and my bra.
Thus, without going into details, I think it's pretty safe to say that the "No Joy in '06" mantra didn't exactly catapult me into responsible adulthood.
But then, I shouldn't be too hard on myself, either. My goals for '06 were mostly vague and generic. "Consume less" is hardly measurable. And looking back, I think NJ06 was really about laying the groundwork for some great things to happen in '07.
Let's review, shall we?
(Shush. I am sure you're all bored to tears with blog entries about resolutions and lists and blah blah blah. I know. But if I don't do it here, it seems less "real." Plus, it's a good exercise in seeing the glass half full.)
(And if you're already bored by this entry, skip to the end. There's something of an epiphany. And also a new '07 mantra.)
Year In Review / The Year Ahead
The Financial Picture
"Spend less" is a great idea, but that's hard to do when you don't actually know how much you're spending in the first place. I basically lived just ever-so-slightly beyond my means for about 18 months, without ever bothering to really monitor it. Just, every month I spent a little more than I took home. Over time, that compounded. Thus, debt.
So even though I didn't really tighten my purse strings in 2006, I did do two little things that helped a lot:
1. I built a spreadsheet to track my bills. All in one place, all with due dates outlined. Now I know exactly how much I owe, when, and to whom. Seems like a "duh" thing to you probably, but mapping it all out for me made a big difference.
2. I pre-emptively saved money for "big ticket" items. There were a few things I knew I'd be spending money on this year, and instead of just sucking up and putting them on a credit card, I saved money and put it away (like for my computer, and for my plane ticket home at Christmas).
The way I see it, I got my finances "in order" in 2006. Now I can focus on actually improving my financial situation this year.
2006 was not a complete bust as far as starting projects was concerned. I just failed to have much discipline (oops) about them, and they got all muddled and confused and most just fell to the wayside, unfinished.
I jumped into comedy and worked on developing stand-up material. I started a comic novel. I wrote about my divorce here, and from there was inspired to write/propose a memoir. I continued to try and grow our a cappella group, and wanted to arrange at least one song for us. I tried to teach myself CSS and regularly redesign this blog. I wanted to start a political blog. Started a book with Ish. Started designing a website for the a cappella group. Knitting! Ha!
And the list goes on, down a windy path into a rabbit hole.
Basically, without plans or forethought, very little of the above list got "accomplished." 2006 was apparently the Year Of The Dabbler. It was certainly exciting to have an agent consider my memoir proposal, but her rejection was warranted (I had NOT spent enough time figuring out what I wanted it to be, and it was -- at best -- inconsistent). I can't spend my after-work hours knitting and writing and learning code and design and Photoshop and arranging and.
Or maybe I can, but not if I want to get anything done.
So I am going to focus and prioritize.
1. Blogging: More, better, often. I feel like I have worked myself up into a self-censored corner. I tell myself I can't write about x because of this, or y because of that, or z because of the other thing. It's stifling, and unlike me, and results in stilted entries. I have come to care more about what my readers think than what I think, and that's the exact opposite of why blogs matter.
2. The novel. I vow to work on it, in one form or another, at least once a week. My goal is to complete it this year. For reals. My stuckness is similar to that with my blogging. I censor as I go, so much that I just stop writing. I really believe that if I could just "let go," it would come.
3. Everything else. I will allow myself to dabble in other interests, but not at the expense of 1 or 2.
I guess the main thing here is that I joined a gym in 2006. Well, actually, I joined two. I was good about going to the first one, back when Risey and I were working together and going to the gym together and had a routine. But that fell away when she changed jobs, and I didn't do anything for a while. Then this summer I joined a different gym, and went for a few weeks.
And that, dear IIFs, is about the extent of my weight loss efforts in 2006.
What the hell is wrong with me?
If I can't stay motivated to lose weight and get healthy, and yet bitch about it constantly...what's wrong? Where is the disconnect? Do I, under it all, really NOT care? Am I "afraid of success"?
I really can't say. But here we are, two years after starting this blog, and I've barely begun to scratch the surface of my weight/health goals, despite oh-so-much posturing about it.
So the best I can do right now is announce, declare, proclaim that 2007 is THE YEAR I lose weight. Again.
And the best thing I can think of to make THIS year different from LAST year and different from THE YEAR BEFORE that, is to give it a number.
Yep. Seventy. Seven-oh.
I am aiming to lose s-e-v-e-n-t-y pounds this year. I can't even believe it myself, that number. But there it is. Stark and real and in print and adequately horrifying. shudder
The upshot is that it works very well with this year. As in, "getting rid of my 07/70."
Or just 07/70 for short.
* * * * *
As I was writing this all out, I was struck by my resolve related to writing: stop self-censoring I said.
And that's my biggest goal for this year, even bigger than 07/70: Writing without heeding my inner critic. Going for it. Reminding myself constantly that getting it out is more important than getting it right. I can always edit later.
And yet even as I write this, I hear my inner critic say, "Your big goal for this year is to not listen to me when you write? Isn't that kind of shallow and stupid? Who cares?"
But I'm not listening because, deep down, I know it's not stupid. And any of you who write blogs or read them or keep journals or have any passion for writing, you know too. Writing isn't just about writing, it's about expressing your inner narrative. It's how you think. It's how you process your whole world.
Writing is never just about writing words; it's about writing who you are.
So I know that if I can ignore that nasty little voice, the one that creeps in and tells me "don't" or "can't" or "shouldn't" or "not now" or "shhhhhh," then I don't just write better.
I live better.
And isn't that the whole damn point?
So here is to a new year full of being brave and real and not listening to the inner critic when she tells me it's not interesting, or funny. When she says I needn't bother putting lipstick on because it's not going to make the extra 58 lbs. of ass I'm carrying around look any better. When she says 70 is too much. When she says it's not worth it.
She's not the boss of me.
Sure, ignoring her might mean I occassionally wake up with my bra in the fridge. But you know? At least I won't be boring.