Photo Credit: Thomas Weir
Birthdays are always a restart for me. Just like the New Year and New Year’s resolutions. This year is a little bit different. I turned twenty-five, and that’s something of a milestone. My birthday is in January. This means I usually make a ton of resolutions at New Years, break half of them, re-resolve to do them on my birthday, then stick to them a month longer than most people. I read somewhere that writing down your resolutions in a public place makes you 63.33% more likely to keep them, or something…
1. I can count my closest friends – the ones I talk to about everything, everyday – on one hand, but, that doesn’t mean the other 20 best friends I have are meaningless.
I am blessed to have a couple of friends that I can hands-down call at any moment, even if it’s at the airport at 4 a.m. They will pick up the phone and listen to me cry for twenty minutes about something at work they know nothing about, or the guy I just started seeing that they haven’t heard of yet. But, that doesn’t mean the other twenty people I hang out with regularly do not add significant meaning to my life. I have my happy hour best friends – always down to grab a drink. My workout buddies are the ladies that are always up to try something new. They are also great motivators to get me out of a Netflix binge. My absolute closest friend is my sister. She is rarely down for drinks since she lives far away, and she vehemently hates group exercise classes. I love both and would definitely resent her a little if I didn’t have a network of friends to do the things I like to do with.
This year I resolve to reach out to more of my friends that I don’t spend enough time with – whether it’s planning a coffee date and actually going, or realizing that my friend from work is totally willing to take a pole fitness class with me and go.
2. Survival soup is the best, and is in fact okay to eat for leftovers.
My boyfriend makes the best soup. His dad taught him to make “survival soup,” which means the soup includes all of the nutrients that you need in a meal. He makes the soup in a large stockpot, making enough to last for a week. I have never been one to repeat meals, and growing up we never really had leftovers. On weeks when my boyfriend makes soup, I’ve learned that it is okay to eat something for dinner, lunch the next day, and then dinner again. It is actually less wasteful, better for the environment, and great for my current economic situation.
This year I resolve to be less wasteful and eat more leftovers.
3. Let yourself be happy, don’t settle for anything less!
I spent/wasted a good bit of my early 20’s settling. I stayed at a job I did not fully enjoy. I dated a guy that was really awful for me. I had a job and I had a guy and that was that, I was set… or so, I thought. I ended up leaving the job. I definitely left the guy – and guess what? No one died. I ended up getting a fantastic job using a lot of the skills I gained at my previous ones, and I met a man that makes me happier than I could ever have imagined.
This year I resolve to continue to not settle. If I’m not happy, I’ll make a change.
4. Don’t knock it till you try it!
Something that is very important to have learned early in life is to not judge someone or something before you’ve walked a mile in their shoes. Clichés aside, there is something to be said about being open-minded. For example, I’ve always thought eating liver was really gross. Recently on a date, I tried a liver mousse and it was amazing.
This year I resolve to try new things.
5. Friend “break-ups” happen and are a good thing.
There are many kinds of friendship break-ups, for all sorts of reasons. The friends you go to school with and then lose touch, the toxic friend that pits you against your boyfriend and your other friends, or the friend that is stuck in college drinking days and tries to bring you down with them. Each relationship ends for one reason or another. You become a better person for it. As in any relationship, you learn from the bad as well as the good, and you learn who you want to spend your time with in the long run.
This year I resolve to improve existing friendships, stop pursuing toxic ones, and make a few new ones.
6. Minimalizing is hard, but necessary.
We accumulate SO MUCH STUFF as we grow older. I went through my closet earlier this year and I found some items that I wore in middle school. We as people are constantly changing and evolving, so we should be doing that with our possessions as well. Also, there’s the whole what if Paris calls for me to come immediately and I do not have enough suitcases…
This year I resolve to minimalize my possessions.
7. Staying healthy might be the most important thing.
As someone who started doing ballet at age 3, went to school on a dance scholarship, and now teaches ballet to adults on the weekends, you could say I’m fairly interested in being in shape. I’ve seen too many people lose themselves, get out of shape and become depressed. Every time I skip class for a couple of days in a row I get cranky and upset. Every time I eat a ton of junk food or candy, I feel sick. My mom recently got a personal trainer and is getting back in shape. The one thing she has told us is that keeping up with your body and what you put into it is one of the most important things you can do.
This year I resolve to get into the best shape of my life and stay there.
8. The gas gauge on your car tells you which side the gas tank is on
Okay, so maybe this fact isn’t incredibly important to your life, BUT, it was one of those *gasp*, mind blown moments. I learned this fact in the last year, on a road trip to Maine, in a rental car. The person who told us was the one that lives in New York and probably drives the least.
This year I resolve to save gas and my environmental impact by walking and taking public transit as much as possible.
9. Amazon Prime is the best thing that ever happened to online shopping
I mostly use Amazon Prime for work. When one of the guys lets me know we are almost out of coffee when we actually have no more coffee, or when someone uses the last roll of toilet paper, I can guarantee replenished inventory by the next day or so. The negative of Amazon Prime is drunken online shopping. Sometimes you wake up on a Monday morning to a pair of skis that you ordered Friday night after drunkenly talking about wanting to learn to ski for five hours with a hot ski instructor. I’m not kidding, I know someone who has done that. At least their return policy is pretty good…
This year I resolve to use Amazon Prime for more movies, and to try to shop locally rather than instantly gratifying with an Amazon order.
10. Failure is inevitable; it’s how you deal with it that matters
I have failed a million times in the past twenty-five years of life. There was basketball camp, then there was my first B in Home Economics, then there was that Art History class in college I got a C in, and then there was that time I got laid off. I realized that when I pouted and obsessed over my failures, they seemed a lot worse than when I met them head on and changed them into positive. My boyfriend has shown me a lot over the past few years about failure. He is, after all, a struggling musician. He handles each problem with such grace and turns it into a learning experience to bounce off of rather than bringing him down.
This year I resolve to fail more, learn from those failures, and turn them into positives.
11. You should never dread going to work
I finally found it in my latest year of life, a job that I do not want to call in sick to when I am not actually sick. I wake up every morning excited to find out what is going to happen that day. I have had previous jobs where I was bored most days, or knew I did not want to be there forever. I am finally in a place that I am satisfied with my work and can aspire to more. I realize that I had to go through the normal first jobs out of school, and I appreciate it all the more for that.
This year I resolve to become better at my job and more involved in the industry.
12. You are poor; do not spend as if you are not.
We were not extremely well off growing up, but we were comfortable. If we were lacking for money, my parents certainly hid it well. Now that I am on my own, I have had to figure out how to cut back on the lifestyle I was used to in order to match my current budget. I have a strenuous saving budget for my wanderlust, and it works for me, but it does not work for me going out every weekend with friends – something I have had to learn the hard way.
This year I resolve to pay off debt, save for a trip, and still enjoy life!
13. Surround yourself with people who are smarter than you
I think I read this in an article about Oprah. If Oprah said it, it must be true. When you surround yourself with blithering idiots, you become one by proxy. If you surround yourself with educated people, you learn a thing or two. You have the potential to broaden your intelligence by association.
This year I resolve to surround myself with positive people so that I myself can become a more positive person.
14. Doing things alone is actually therapeutic
Sometimes I just go down to the corner bar to have an appetizer and a glass of wine alone. This allows me to reflect on myself instead of engaging others. I always go to yoga class alone. It is a very personal practice for me, and I like to be able to quietly travel to and from class. My first vacation alone was also my most favorite. I did whatever I wanted to do when I wanted to do it and I never answered to anyone. There is a freedom there that recharges you like nothing else.
This year I resolve to do more things alone, whether it’s yoga classes or a vacation.
15. If something makes you happy, do it, no matter how silly
I have learned in my limited experience that it is the little things in life that make it worthwhile. The sunsets, the sunrises, going to Laduree in SoHo for $30 worth of macaroons and violet infused oolong tea… If something makes you happy, no matter how silly it seems, just do it. You will not regret it. You are just missing out if you skip out on something for fear of what other people will think.
This year I resolve to do more silly things, to laugh more, and to smile.
16. A simple beauty regimen
Lately I have been reading a lot of Parisian beauty blogs. The French are known for a more simplistic beauty regimen. They take care of their skin and focus more on the pop of mascara and red lips than what the Pantone Color of the Year is. I think that a classic look is more important than the Kim Kardashian contouring tutorial I saw on Facebook last week. On my birthday this year I bought a charcoal face mask because I looked in the mirror and psyched myself out that my skin was going to shit… My skin was fine, but something clicked. I realized that by taking care of the foundation, everything else would fall into place.
This year I resolve to focus on taking care of my skin and not worrying as much about this month’s makeup trends. I’ll be sticking with the classics.
17. WATER WATER WATER
Do I even need to expand on this? Water is the essence of life. Drinking enough water and staying hydrated can help you lose weight, be happier, and stay healthy.
This year I resolve to stay hydrated.
18. No one actually cares what you’re doing so stop being self-conscious
No one cares. No one cares what you are doing because they are so self-absorbed in what they are doing. Once we all get that in our heads, cool things can actually start happening. That is all.
This year I resolve to stop caring as much about what other people think and do my own thing.
19. You life is not going to be “together” for a little bit, and that is okay
So maybe you over-drafted your bank account this month (twice). Maybe you tripped and fell in the ice on the way to work. You had to walk around with wet pants all morning because you are an intern that had to get to work early to make coffee for the office. You do not have the luxury to go home and change and be ten minutes late. Maybe you have had another failed relationship because he was married and forgot to tell you. Guess what? There is still time to get yourself together. Secret Time: Even when you are 54 like my parents, you still mess up. I do not think that anyone is ever actually “together.” We just get better at giving off that impression over time.
This year I resolve to stop stressing to be so “together,” and realize that everything is going to be okay because life has a funny tendency to go on.
20. Never stop reading books
I went through a period in college where I dated a guy who had never finished a book before. I simultaneously decided that I did not have any time for reading. BIG MISTAKE. I could feel myself getting dumber by the day. I stopped writing. I stopped thinking as creatively. My work and creative side suffered. I did pick up painting, but I did not really stick with it because it is hard to get as lost in a painting as it is to get lost in a book – for me anyway. Recently I started reading everything I could find, whether it was an elite daily article or Flannery O’Connor. I have gotten back to writing (obviously) and I have gotten more creative at work. The past two Christmases I have solely asked for books, and I will never go back.
This year I resolve to read more and make it even more of a habit.
21. Everything comes back to the ballet barre
“It’s HERE. No matter what happened in class, performance,
last week, 5 minutes ago… if you come back here… you’ll be home.”
This quote from CenterStage has stuck through me since I was a wee ballerina. The ballet barre has and always will be my home. Regardless of what has happened in my life, I can always find my way back to the center of my mind, my body, and my soul as long as I can dance. It can be at the studio, in my kitchen, or in my underwear alone in my bedroom. I took a year off from serious dancing when I was a senior in college to focus on graduation and it was a mistake. Everything became just a little bit off. Once I started teaching and taking classes again, there was an almost audible click back into place. I realize that I am extremely lucky to have this, and I also know that for everyone their “home” is different. The sooner you realize what your home is the sooner you can utilize it.
This year I resolve to dance more, to find my center, and to find my soul at the barre (barre with an “re” so as not to confuse with the bar ☺).
22. Be nice to everyone, you never know who they know
I have never actually been on a cold job interview. My first job out of school was because I met someone while at the job I had in school. My second job interview was with a mutual friend from dancing at Drexel. My third and last job interview was with one of my dad’s friends whose daughter I had helped get a job the year prior, and almost rented a house from a year prior to that. Literally, it is all in who you know and who they know. It is crazy, but the second that you speak ill of someone or the second you help someone, it follows you forever. Think about that.
This year I resolve to be nice to everyone I meet, because you never know what opportunities are out there and who could help you out in the future!
23. Being in love is the best… or the worst.
Being in love might be the best thing in the entire world. If you are lucky enough to truly love someone, you realize all the poems are true. All the romcoms, while unrealistic, carry a similar sentiment. The world really is a little bit brighter. You think more highly of yourself when you are with them. You have gained a partner in crime, a buddy, and a best friend to share intimate secrets with.
And then the person you love sees you writing this post, tickles you until it hurts and you cry a little, burps in your face, giggles like a child and then runs back to the kitchen to make dinner.
This year I resolve to continue to love truly, madly, and deeply, even when he annoys the sh&!t out of me.
24. Traveling and wanderlust is everything it is cracked up to be
I have always loved to travel and explore new places. As a child, my parents took us to a different beach every year. As an adult, I have tried to go to new places as much as possible. As a 23-year-old, I saw the other coast. As a 24-year old, I finally used my passport for the first time. As a 25-year old, it is my plan to cross my first ocean. Every new place has new people to see and learn about. Every new place has its own distinct culture, dialect, and identity. I moved 800 miles away from my childhood home at the first chance I got for goodness’ sake. Traveling and wanderlust is everything it is cracked up to be and more.
This year I resolve to cross my first ocean and go back across the border to Canada.
25. You do not have to have a plan all the time.
I am an anxious person. I do not have a diagnosed disorder, but everyone else in my family is on some sort of anxiety medication. I think I can safely say it is a problem for me. I just do a lot of yoga and dance class. One thing that cripples my person is not having a plan. I am the girl who has a minute-by-minute itinerary for the work week as well as when she goes on vacation. I make lists and lists and although I break them, I have a plan to start with. My boyfriend plans NOTHING. By nothing, I mean absolutely nothing. This goes back to why being in love is the worst. I have panic attacks when we are supposed to go places. This year on my birthday I was trying to let go and let fate take the lead. Ten minutes into the train ride into NYC I started to freak out. Where were we going? Where were we going to meet everyone?? What was going on??? We got into the city and walked to our destination. I was cold so we stopped to take a shot of whiskey. In doing so, we found a really awesome bar with string art all over the walls. From there the unplanned night went off without a hitch. The weekend cumulated with us being iced in the city an extra day. In the end, the entire weekend was the most fun I have had in a while, all because of letting go of plans.
This year I resolve to relax my OCD planning just a bit, and go with the flow.