Saturday, December 31, 2011

Into The 2012

New Years resolutions are the worst. I always resolve to be a totally different person by February. I want to lose 20 pounds, become more professional in demeanor (not sleeping until noon every weekend!) and appearance (getting a salon haircut more than once a decade!), quit drinking, take up yoga and running, give up all the carcinogenic things I love - Coke Zero, cheap food, and nail polish - and be a better daughter, girlfriend, friend, lover, sister, employee and gym member.

For two days after these edicts come down from my brain, I am transformed. I get up early, I watch what I eat, and I pledge that I am never doing...something...again. And I am earnest! But then the next weekend hits, and it's January, which isn't a very inspiring month, weather-wise, and all I want to do is eat takeout food and half-watch episodes of Breaking Bad with my boyfriend while I read Chew. And then I feel guilty, and then I feel rebellious, and then I realize that my heartrate hasn't been raised in a few weeks, and then I decide to take a nice, long, world-avoiding bath, in which I stare morosely at my undefined waist and pledge, again, to lose 20 pounds and all the other crap.

So I'm not going to do that. I've already started a new gym routine, in preparation for bridesmaids duties in the late spring, so that's firmly underway. If that ends up with some more defined abs, that's great; if not, I'll take solace at the chocolate fountain and wear a forgiving dress.

I'm going to try to give up swearing. My boyfriend claims to like my pottymouth, but I live in fear of accidentally dropping an f-bomb in front of my boss. I've said it to my parents a couple times, in the heat of the story-telling moment, and every time, they graciously, if awkwardly, ignore it.

I'm going to try to eat healthier. Not undertake some sort of crash diet that ends up with my hound-dog style outside a cupcakeria, but a rational, body-conscious way of eating that makes me feel full, fed and tasty without being restrictive or weird. I know wheat sometimes does crazy things to my body - 2011 was the year I said "so long" to beer - and I should eat less gooey (but delicious!) cheeses, but the quest for delicious foods also means experimenting with new ingredients, smaller portions, and healthy sources.

There are a bunch of things I want to work on in the internal side - friendships that have soured that need reassessing, some anxities that need to be massaged, some fears that need to be confronted - but most of that is interesting only to me, so I'll leave them be. I'll work on forgiveness and competitiveness, two of my less endearing personality flaws that have gotten me into trouble.

I'll renew my pledge to love my boyfriend so very hard. I sometimes get caught up in wedding-want, but I'm so happy with my romantic life right now. I need to remember that focusing on galloping ahead means missing out on the sweetness of right now, and right now it's all very sweet indeed.

But mostly, I just want to take it easy. Living a good life doesn't mean banking crazy money or becoming wildly famous. It means, to me at least, that I wake up in the morning liking the person I am and the choices I've made, loving the people with whom I've chosen to surround myself, and learning from the weird moments when things go awry.
Happy 2012, everyone!

Monday, December 26, 2011

2011: Back To Front

Oh my god, dudes! I have totally fallen down on the blog lately. I know only a few folks read this, but it's less about my supposed readership and more about the practice of writing, often, and well. Anyway, I could blame it on being mega busy, or too full to type (my fingers are too fat and I keep making typos!), or I could just own up and say, sometimes there are times when I have less to say. But it's the time of year for the highlights reel to roll, so let's take a journey back to some moments I'm especially proud of.

First of all, I totally quit my job. Not the job I have now - I like that job, it's my jam - but the horrible, no-good job I was working at for the first six months of this year. I knew I was going to quit when I called my mom during a weekend shift from the Toronto Public Library's payphone, after one of my coworkers told me a vicious piece of gossip involving our supervisor and her allegations that the receptionist of the company couldn't, and I quote, "keep her legs shut" for the head of the business. I was agog, totally flabbergasted at the meanness and callousness of that tidbit, and the casualness with which it was tossed off. I called my mom to tell her the story and that I was quitting, and she cheered. That superisor still works there; the receptionist found out about that gossip a couple weeks later and walked out the door. The company, despite my not liking its staff very much, still does good work, but I could not be more grateful that it's out of my life.

Then there was the camping trip. Oh man. So, this was an 8-day venture into the wilds with my boyfriends and a group of people I knew only passingly well. There was shoe-sucking muck; spiders the size of five-dollar bills; rain; sunburns; crashing into rocks in a canoe; crashing into someones hand in a canoe; cold sores; fights; crying; running out of food; flat tires, and other adventures. Do not assume that I hated it, but it was definitely a challenge. I will probably do it again, for the same reasons mothers have more than one kid.

What else? There were concerts. Standouts include a sparsely attended by energetic performance by World Inferno/Friendship Society, and a raucous show by The Born Ruffians. I saw Weird Al at Massey Hall (I know!), Cancer Bats in a Parkdale basement, and Paul Simon in the worst concert crowd I've ever seen. I usually went with my boyfriend, but sometimes I ventured out with friends, and either way, music is such a good way to mark the time.

There were wedding-related things. Oh, keep your shirts on; not me. I went to my first non-secret wedding this year, which was pretty and gave me a taste of what's possible when you take radical matrimonial steps like inviting your parents (elopements 4 life!) - for example, an open bar. Closer to my heart, one of my girlfriends asked me to be a bridesmaid, so I get to go to gym and buy a blue dress, and I'm hella looking forward to it. We were talking last night at dinner about weddings - I asked my parents what their "rules" are: like, do we have to invite all the relatives? They were basically like, "We don't care, you don't even have to invite us," which made my sister pout and say that any relative of hers who got married without at least telling her would be on my sister's shit-list for a long time. It's slowly coming to light that weddings are a complicated thing.

We went to New York, this year, my boyfriend and I, and it was the first time I had really traveled without the company of a family member. He and I had an uproarious time, full of the big time touristy things and the smaller, less famous NYC stuff. It's whetted my appetite for more traveling, maybe something overseas.

And there was other stuff, too. Bad stuff, good stuff, meh stuff. My roommates were annoying and the bathroom was usually filthy. I ran out of money. I dropped my groceries all over Bloor Street, had panic attacks, fought with friends and lovers and family members, and sometimes cried. But there were also a thousand tiny victories - watering plants, getting a new job, laughing together with the man I love, making art, writing, reaching out, going dancing, having sleepovers, talking on the phone for hours, finally finishing The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, and so many other moments. Sometimes, I fall down on writing about them, but I always appreciate 'em.