Monday, January 17, 2011

New Year, New Goals- Want Something

So, to recap, celebrating a new year got me in the mood to look back over the old one –and I ended up getting two for the price of one. 2009 was dreadful. 2010 was an improvement in every way. But why, then, do I sometimes feel so crappy? I have a job. I can pay my bills. I even have a social life. And yet, the same words keep coming up when I want to describe the down times. Lonely. Unattractive. Unfulfilled. Treading water. Do those feelings ever go away, totally? I don't know – probably not. But I think it's time to try to do something about them, or at least mitigate them.

Which brings me back to 2011 and, inevitably, resolutions. I’ve tended to be one of those people who think New Year’s resolutions are a waste of time, and so I rarely make them. And yet, after the year I’ve just had, I’m finally beginning to see the point. It doesn’t matter if the promises you make to yourself are impossible to keep. It doesn’t matter that they are inevitably broken. It doesn’t matter that you end up making yourself guilty over not accomplishing them once the New Year comes around again. What matters is that you have some kind of goal in the first place. To borrow – okay, steal – from a forty-year-old Broadway musical, when you blow out the candles on another year you should “want something. Want something.” So, keeping in mind my current employer’s insistence that goals should be “Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound,” here is what I want in 2011.

Something I Want #1 – I want to care about my appearance. I’m not saying I want to become narcissistic or shallow. I’m just saying that a person needs to look like he gives a damn.

2009 was depressing. Not clinically – I’ve experienced enough clinical depression to know it when I see it – I’m talking about perfectly legitimate and justifiable misery. When you don’t have somewhere to go every day, you stop dressing to go out, and you stop doing anything that requires that you look in a mirror. When nobody wants to see you, why worry about how you’re seen?

As I said, 2010 was better. I found a job, and I ended up with a boss who doesn’t really care what I look like. That's to his credit – I’ll never know if any employers passed on me because of my weight or my thrifty suits or my thinning hair, but I know enough about the world we live in that I wouldn’t be surprised that they did. So, that's one big thing from 2010 to be thankful for – but between the inertia carried over from 2009 and the fact that my office is less-than-strict about appearance, I can’t say I’ve made a whole lot of effort to look my best.

Well, in 2011 I want to start caring again. What does that mean? Sure, it means losing weight like everyone else on Earth wants to do, and I’ve already gotten a jump on that by walking every day and rejoining the gym. But it also means putting in my contact lenses more often. It means shaving every other day instead of whenever I feel like it. It means getting a monthly haircut, and trying Rogaine, and putting my Toppik on even when I’m reasonably sure everyone I’ll be seeing has already seen my bald spot. It means saving up to get my teeth whitened. And it means dressing up occasionally, even if I don’t have to. I have some great ties- why should I only wear them when I’m forced to? I don’t need to look like everybody else does, but I want to start looking like I actually looked in a mirror before walking out the door.

If you don't look like you care about yourself, why would other people think you could care about them?

Next: Being unafraid to love, and being wise enough to let go.

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