Monday, August 13, 2012

Resolutions for the New Year

Seven days until 30. Seven days until 30. Seven days until 30.

I'm both dreading my upcoming milestone birthday and happily anticipating it. As a rock star from way back, my last milestone birthday was my 27th, at which point I had a "Dead at 27" get-together to celebrate the fact that years of unrelenting partying had not yet killed me, and I promised myself that I would be nicer to my body and mind from there on out. For the most part, I've kept that promise. Let's just say there have been way more mornings-after hangovers than apologies since then. Phew.

"Dead at 27" Rockstar Party (2009)
My 25th birthday allowed me not only cheaper car insurance, but more opportunity for college financial aid. It took me a year to act on that before returning to school, but in the meantime I found a cognitive behavioral therapist and prepared myself to be a happier, more productive person. By the time I signed up for classes at my community college, I was ready to commit. And now I'm only two semesters away from getting a degree (in a subject I love, no less).

The point I'm getting to with these cheesy-hopeful anecdotes is that I generally think of birthdays as personal New Years, involving much reflection and major resolutions, and despite hiccups along the way, this association seems to work to my advantage. Allow me to indulge in a now-typical, upper-middle class American way of assessing my decades in terms of "self": 

On a road trip with my friend Nicki when I was 25 (2007)
My teens were about learning how society outside my family unit worked, and dealing with the conflicts that those first independent interpersonal relationships bring. They were about being the center of my own universe, and thinking that everything happening around me was happening to me. They were about setting impossible goals and dealing with the inevitable disappointment that comes when you learn that perfection is unattainable.

My early twenties were about giving up completely and losing control. They were about total self-indulgence and fighting to be someone who I was not. Luckily, they soon started being about exploring my self, my interests, my motivations, and my true sources of happiness. They were about learning to maintain good relationships and end bad ones. Most recently, they've been about self-awareness and commitment to living my own life to its fullest potential.

At a printmaking show I was in last fall, age 29 (2011)
And what do I expect my 30s to be about? What do I want to focus on?

Fighting self-doubt. Feeling good about who I am in the present, even as I seek to improve that person. Saying no when I mean it, rather than giving someone that cowardly "maybe" when I know that's not the truth. Living by example and practicing what I preach. Taking risks where they're most needed - in my art and in love and in support of my principles.

The way to reach these goals, of course, is to break them down into manageable mini-goals, which I already have in mind. I will, however, wait to elaborate on these in another post, as this has been a lengthy enough soapbox stand already. Cheers.

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