02 January 2007

New Year's Resolutions

I love making New Year's Resolutions. Mine are usually of the go-to-yoga-find-volunteer-work-remember-people's-birthday variety, and I have the usual sort of success with them, which is to say: moderate at best.

But I do think spending a little time taking stock of our lives, and at least thinking about making changes, even if those changes never make it past the planning phase, is a worthwhile exercise. How else would we know what to feel vaguely guilty about when we're sitting on the couch watching Veronica Mars instead of doing something productive and world changing?

Last year, my resolution, such as it was, was to stop being ambivalent about everything. I needed to commit to my job or leave it; seriously pursue a long-term relationship or stop bitching about not having one; finish the book I started writing three (now four) years ago, or give it up; move to Brooklyn if I wanted a bedroom or stay in Manhattan with a Murphy Bed.

My success rate has been 50% -- I've got Manhattan and the man, but am still torturing myself about the job and the book.

Since I've still got those two to gnaw on, I decided that this year I would make only one new resolution, and that one is: to stop using exclamation points in email to relative strangers (thanks for your help!), just because I want to make sure they know I'm being nice, not sarcastic (thanks for your help, bitch).

Why this one? It encompasses so many others. I know my thanks are genuine. I should have enough confidence in my powers of communication to know that they are being conveyed without resorting to punctuational theatrics. I don't believe in using exclamation points, except in an emergency, so why should I compromise my belief system, on the off chance that another person might feel bad? I should be who I am, and not worry so much about the impression I'm creating. As it happens, it's a false impression, or at least, I would like to think it's a false impression. I do not want to be seen as a glibly enthusiastic person, and an exclamation point at the end of an email is one step away from a inspirational quotation in your sig file, and only slightly better than a smiley.

OK, so it's a little dorky and over-precise. But unlike finishing the book, or figuring out what to do about my job, this is a resolution I think I can keep.

Resolutions considered that didn't make the cut, but that I might give a thought to trying now and then:

1. Tidy desk before leaving the office at night;
2. Drink office coffee rather than buy cup at the downstairs deli;
3. Walk to work 2-3 times/week;
4. Replace all household cleaners and cosmetics with organic versions of same;
5. Pitch article to Seventeen or similar on real careers high school girls should be thinking about
6. Do only one thing at a time, well, especially at work, even if it means getting less done;
7. Watch Netflix dvds within a day or two of their arrival; and of course,
8. Go to yoga;
9. Find volunteer work; and
10. Remember people's birthdays.


Anonymous Rhea said...

I actually think using exclamation marks in emails is necessary. Without them, the writer can come off as snotty. Know what I mean!?!!?!?

3:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I almost spit my coffee at the monitor on "Thanks for the help, bitch." HA!

I love the list of things to try every now and then. Now THAT's a list I could make and feel good about.

2:44 PM  

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