Oh no I di’int

(title/concept courtesy of S. Godfree)

So the year is almost over, and as with most years, I had a bunch of big plans for all the things I was going to do and change and accomplish for 2011. I don’t even much bother with the “lose five or ten pounds” one anymore, which I delude myself into thinking I’m above worrying about. But I do make highfalutin goals, somewhat loosely, and do I keep them? Well, let’s take inventory, mmkay? Here’s what I said I’d do that I di’int:

–Start volunteering for some charity or other (this one has been hanging around teasing me for years now, me with my delusions that I’m like this big socially conscious person or something, and it really got kicked into high gear when Obama got elected and decreed that we all should do so, and I was so jazzed by him and this proclamation in particular that I knew that 2008 would be The Year I Finally Really Did It, but no, I di’int, not in 2008 or 2009 or 2010 or 2011, even though I still really really for sure plan to, really for sure.) Not really winning any philanthropic awards, at least not for 2011.

–Write one sentence every night in a journal. One sentence! I used to write constantly every night, pages and pages, when I lived alone, but whenever I would be in a relationship (the sleepover kind), that would scale way way back since bedtime used to be the time I’d really spill the words. Now I live with someone full time and yeah, the journal can go years between one entry and the next despite the big intentions. Years. To combat this inertia, one of my BFs and I made a pact (in, like, 2009) that we would just write ONE SENTENCE at the end of every day. One sentence! Since then, I’ve done that around twice, and probably not since 2010. Empty pages. Broken dreams.

–Read more for pleasure. I have gotten SLIGHTLY better about this, but barely. In my defense, I read for homework almost every night until I pass out from fatigue with drool on my book, and only between semesters can I cram in the emergency pleasure reading that’s been piling up all semester (for example, since I turned in my grades on Dec 20, I’ve read five novels). But I always intend to keep it steady all through the year, even if it’s only a chapter or so per day. Haven’t done it, not so much. The Great Gatsby, though? Yep, totally read it again. Jimmy Gatz? Dies in the end, surprisingly enough. My personal reading goals? Also floating face down on a punctured air mattress in a pool that was supposed to be drained for the autumn.

–Be less negative about the American political world, cause otherwise, I’ll have an aneurysm. I have tried to pull back from this a little bit and have succeeded maybe negligibly, but in general, no I di’int. You bring up the Tea Party and I’m screamin’ “SERENITY NOW.”

–Listen to more new music. How sad! That I have to try to resolve to do what was once the greatest pleasure in my life, and which now is so difficult for me because I can’t work while doing it. So again, no I di’int. You’re coming over? Hope you like REM.

–Learn how to actually cook something instead of just wanting to go out for sushi every night. Figure out how putting things together in the kitchen can be creative and fun instead of stressful and overwhelming. No I di’int. Thank god, or I guess Ganesh, for Trader Joe’s premade Indian food.

–Take up an instrument, probably the piano again, by getting a keyboard that’s accessible full time in my house. Nope. The neighbors? Totally not disturbed by my incessant practicing.

–Paint stuff. Make art. Be creative. I love the idea, but I think I’m realizing the hard truth that I’m not all that idea-driven. Lots of lovely art supplies. Not much art, unless a page full of stars and partridges that I doodled while on hold with Wells Fargo counts. (They’re kind of good, actually, if you really want to know.)

–Leave the country. I do this most years, being quite stir crazy, but this year, other than an evening in Victoria that I can’t possibly count despite the passport stamp, no I di’int. The passport expires in 2013, and if that was its last stamp, I’ll eat my fanny pack.

–See or call those friends that I love so, so much and really want to make more time to see or call. Nope. Too busy, too tired, really, just too lame. I’m gonna be a lonely old lady if I let my core relationships slide. What the hell, though–maybe then I can find time to write ONE SENTENCE in my journal. It’ll be worth it, for sure.

–Deal with the fact that my house is about to fall down from termite damage. Sorry, I totally can’t deal with this. Opposed to tenting. Keep planning to research other options even though I know they’re all crap. No I di’int. Tra la la; let’s ignore this one altogether.

Okay, this entire post is pretty sad. So many good intentions. Even more that I haven’t detailed here. Plus smaller ones: stay off the Internet, go to more gym classes, walk my dog more. No, no I di’int, but I really do intend to. And I did do some things that were responsible and necessary. Got a new car—boring, taxing, but I did it (and I honestly meant to sell the old one, but I’m just really attached to it and so far, okay, no I di’int). BUT: Called my folks more. Strengthened my relationships with my nieces and nephews a little. Threw a few things away. Ate even less meat than usual (it’s only been a few times this year, mostly this past week, and I’m done now). Ate no lobster at all and very little crab. Bought more cruelty free stuff. Was more patient with students. Behaved less passive-aggressively (wait, what? I totally never did this in the first place). Used fewer paper towels–can YOU say the same?

But all those bigger and better and more world-improving plans, they haven’t yet materialized. What does it take, people? Help me out here. Or if you can’t, then at least chime in: what are your unresolved resolutions? And how can we do better in 2012? Or if we can’t do better, can we at least agree that we’re already pretty darn good already?

    5 responses to “Oh no I di’int”

    1. LP says:

      Ooh, so many things to comment on here!

      First, most important: What five novels did you just read?! What do you recommend? I’m reading “Skippy Dies” right now, and after a slow-ish start I’m really enjoying it.

      Also: Yes, on less paper towels, and I would never use them again if only there were a Dyson Air Blade in every restroom. I love those things! Oh, but I guess you can’t wipe up spills with them. Darn.

      And: New car! This is actually quite a taxing task, so don’t sell yourself short. What an achievement!

      And: Please photograph stars and partidges and add to post.

      My unresolved resolution, which I hope to finally resolve in 2012: To write my own damn book instead of everyone else’s. Whenever you see me in 2012, please encourage me and tell me I can do it and give me a hug.

    2. RB says:

      What?! Gatsby dies? Well, there goes my 2012 resolution — which was to read “The Great Gatsby.”

      Just kidding. I love that book. And I love this post. I was going to take classes this year. Learn a new language, write some fiction, that sort of thing. Whoops!

    3. swells says:

      LP: recently I’ve read Sag Harbor (because of Rachel’s recent post about it), which is really well written; Philip Roth’s Deception; Margaret Atwood’s Penelopeiad; Funny in Farsi; and a book about writing a book about DH Lawrence, called Out Of Sheer Rage. Also half of Woman Hollering Creek and the beginning of a book of Dave Eggers short stories. I am really dying to read The Marriage Plot but just can’t have that giant hardback book sitting around my house, so I have to wait till it’s out in paperback. Next up is a novel called Caucasia by an author (Senza? not sure. If only there were some way I could find out right now. Oh well) whose short story collection, called You Are Free, I really loved. That and Caramelo. I couldn’t get excited about Skippy Dies when I read about it, but do let me know if I should go there too; you are making me rethink it. Please, everyone, tell me other things I might want to squeeze in.

      Also, LP, you can totally do it. Hug to follow in the new year.

    4. F. P. Smearcase says:

      Oh dear. Di’int:
      -Exercise ever, at all, ever. Exercise makes me miserable but I’m feeling like a blob and my shirts don’t fit. I just have never figured out how to motivate myself to do this.
      -Get on an airplane. (Usually I’m just resigned to not doing this but every few years I think “I am a sane person and can do a thing other sane persons do.” Nope.)
      -Figure out a way to be warmer toward my family. It is stupid that this is hard to change. I did figure out that drinking with my dad is great.
      -Pick back up with Mandarin in any productive way. Because Rosetta Stone is dumb.
      -Write a piece of fiction, even a tiny one.
      -Stay off the internet. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.

      Your dids are good thing and I think some of your di’ints aren’t that serious. Teachers and other people who don’t make much and do important work (he said, maybe self-justifyingly) get something of a pass on volunteering. And, you know?, restaurants are there because other people are really good cooks!

      Yes I di':
      -Start learning from piano. Actually made pretty good progress.
      -Learn to knit, which was not a goal but I’m counting it anyway like when you put things on your to do list that you’ve just done so you can cross them off.
      -Make some feeble gestures toward doing something new in my professional life. Hey, it’s better than nothing. I had one totally fancy option that happened to cost 80K so I didn’t do it.

    5. AWB says:

      I love this post. There are so many things I thought this year would find settled that it did not.
      I did not get a long-term job.
      I did not stop having panic attacks.
      I did not suddenly start looking fantastic.
      I did not get my shit together.

      I did get a PhD and a tattoo, cut most of my hair off, left NYC, made new friends, paid down my credit card, invented soups, cooked meat for other people on three (3) occasions, slept more and better, and became a little tiny bit nicer.