I took this photo of the Griffith Observatory on a hike with a close friend. More like this in 2014, please.
1. Be Kinder, To Myself And Others
I’ve spent too much time being overly critical of other people, but most of all of myself. My default in the past has been to find faults quickly, and I think this has held me back in some ways because it becomes too easy to focus on the negative. In 2014 I want my default to be kindness.
2. Care More
In the past I’ve been quick to adopt an aloof posture — mostly, I think, towards things that I felt were outside my grasp, like a job or a guy. But this year I want to be more forthcoming about admitting when something means a lot to me, and not be afraid of how I’ll feel or how others will respond if it doesn’t work out.
3. Slow Down
Granted, this one might be tough, given that I work for an online news organization where speed is the currency of the realm, but I think what I mean is I want to savor and appreciate things more, and not always be rushing off to the next thing. I want to stop and smell the literal and figurative roses.
4. Stop Online Dating And Meet More People IRL
Another tough one, but one that I think I need to do. For me in the past year online dating has become a numbing, repetitive ritual that I think puts me in a negative place; I want to stop shopping for guys like I do for shoes (especially on Tinder). I also suspect that it’s held me back from making more of an effort to meet guys in real life, because “shopping” for guys online is less scary than actually, like, going up and talking to someone at a party.
5. Don’t Be Afraid Of Being “That Woman”
A few months ago, in one of her wonderful Dear Polly columns on The Awl, Heather Havrilesky wrote something that’s stuck with me: “It’s not creepy to talk about what you want from your life, no matter how much other people want to make you believe that. Don’t ever design your life around the need NOT to be That Woman. Because our culture makes every fucking one of us into That Woman.” I’ve lost count of the number of conversations I’ve had where someone (myself included!) has said something like, “Well, I want to [get married/have babies/tell my boyfriend he’s a douche/a million other things] but I don’t want to be THAT GIRL.” And I want to take my cues from Heather/Polly and truly resolve this year to not be afraid of being That Woman.
6. Ask More Questions
That’s the only way I’m going to learn more — about people, situations, myself.
7. Give More Compliments
Both at work, for a job well done, and in life. That doesn’t mean being fake — it simply means being more forthcoming when someone has done something great, instead of keeping it to myself. And I need to remember that sometimes the compliments that seem relatively insignificant that make the biggest impact.
8. Learn How To Truly Forgive
In the past I’ve focused more on the forgetting part of “forgive and forget”; if someone has done something that’s hurt me, I have likened it to putting it into a little box in my brain and throwing away the key. But I’ve learned over that the box can be pried open pretty easily. Forgiveness is harder, because it also means forgiving yourself more. I want to try to actually forgive — which might, in fact, mean not forgetting at all.
9. Embrace Silence And Solitude
Perhaps both at the same time. I’ve toyed with the idea of turning off my devices — phone, iPad, computer, TV — for one weekend day, similar to what the Sabbath Manifesto suggests. It’s seemed really daunting, but I wonder if I would feel more at ease the rest of the week if I knew there was a day that I had to read books, take walks, and lie on the grass under a tree.
10. But Stay More Connected With People I Care About
In March I moved across the country, from New York to Los Angeles, and even though I keep in touch with my family and a lot of my friends on the East Coast, I have also seen how easy it is for intimacy to gradually fade when I don’t make an effort to maintain these ties. I want to stay more connected in 2014.