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I can be a bit of a junk show about a lot of things, but the one place I do not mess around is with my New Year’s resolutions. I don’t vow to finally lose those last ten (fine, fifteen) pounds or suddenly keep my house spotless or buy less shoes because, honestly, it always sounds like such a drag. Instead, I’ve learned to choose one thing (and only one thing) that will honestly bring my life more joy in the year ahead.
This all started the year I was working with a brilliant coach (seriously, if you want to change your life, talk to Mary Ann). I’m sure she inwardly rolled her eyes at the laundry list of changes I was bent on making that year (she’s very polite like that) but instead she merely suggested I choose something fun. For me, at the time, this concept was laughably ridiculous: Things worth doing are hard, Mary Ann, not fun, and everyone knows that resolutions should come with a side of dread because that’s how you know they’re resolutions and worth changing. I may have also said this in my head because I also am very polite.
Fortunately, I listened to Mary Ann and, instead of becoming Mother Teresa that year, I simply decided to laugh really hard at least once a day. I saw funny movies, sought out happy people, and found myself choosing to laugh at situations that otherwise would have pissed me off (one of my favorites was courtesy of my hairdresser who, rather than getting all road raged at bad drivers, would give them a thumbs-down while shouting, “Boo on you!” It is strangely satisfying and totally hilarious.). I sincerely believe that year was a turning point for me; I learned to take myself less seriously, respond to situations more gracefully, and find fun in everyday situations (none of this is to say I’m still not a colassol grouch somedays; it’s just easier to get me out of it).
Since then I have resolved to: have one adventure a week (which resulted? coincided? with us moving to San Francisco), really listen to people when they’re talking rather than worry about what I’m going to say next, make time every day for reading, practice being kind rather than right (still very much a work in progress), and, last year’s, make Alice laugh really hard at least once a day.
This year’s resolution is to do one thing for myself that I’m only doing for the sheer joy of it. Not because I “should” or it will make me a better person or it will help my career or it will eventually turn me into the next Oprah, but because it’s something I really, really want to do. Which is how I found myself back in Acting class.
I know for most of you the idea of performing in front of people makes you want to take a Valium and sleep until next year, but I couldn’t be more thrilled. Yes, every Monday afternoon I mentally berate myself for signing up for this damn class when I have so much to do and when is the laundry ever going to get done and really I should just cancel because who has time for this sort of frivolousness? But by the end of class, I’m totally giddy and race home to talk Chris’ ear off, then stay up late running lines, high on the excitement of being back in a space where I feel completely at home.
It is so much fun.
I don’t know if it’s making me a better person (although I have noticed I’m extra patient the day after class), but I do know it’s bringing me such a ridiculous amount of joy that I can guarantee I won’t be squandering my resolutions on a clean house anytime soon…
Have any of you made any juicy resolutions?
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