“Got any New Year’s plans,” she asked flatly, failing to hide genuine incuriosity of my booming or blasé social calendar behind an irritating “pop” each time gum smacked between her teeth. Assuming her Holiday Greeting had been set on autopilot since clocking in for her shift at the register, and she had probably asked that very same question, with only minor changes in intonation, to 50 more shoppers planning solo soirees or shindigs for a swarm, I played along.
“Oh, I have a Hot Date,” I gushed. The lights in her eyes came on at the mention of my potentially saucy evening, but were quickly dimmed by the boring truth. “With my remote. I’ll be Netflix and chilling – by myself.”
Plain emotion swept her face, hopefully disappointment that such a young, beautiful woman would be ringing in 2017 alone; no prospects for a midnight kiss, except maybe the chocolate kind, making their way down the grocery store conveyer belt next to a cardboard to-go container filled with dinner for one.
After swiping my card and shoving the receipt, proof-positive of my less-than-exciting evening plans, into my purse, I gather my Bachelorette’s Night In kit and head back to my apartment. All the while, daydreaming of a New Year’s Eve straight out of When Harry Met Sally – the night that my perfectly unassuming guy finally realizes that I am his wonderfully weird girl. He must forgo his plans and hop in his car, jump on his bike or just take off running; he is determined to win this race against the clock and make it to my door before the ball drops. He does, with a minute to spare. Out of breath, but full of devotion to me, he takes my face in his hands and kisses me, with all the passionate certainty that by my side is exactly where he wants to be.
In stubborn reality, I am (a more confident, less frumpy) Bridget Jones, adding another page to my single-lady diary. Donning the altogether appropriate ensemble for the evening (read: a purple tee-shirt sans pants, because my passionate distain for clothes is one thing that will surely never change with each new round of resolutions), I attend a very exclusive, solo dance party, spending all night in the VIP section. The one with a cherry red plush couch, wild (Christmas) lights that will stay lit until February and top (water) bottle service. I sing loud and a little off key, I dance like because no one is watching and I eat peanut butter, right out of the jar. I mean, c’mon, being single has a few perks, like passing out at 9:30 on New Year’s Eve because I can. And because I never would have made it to midnight, anyway. Mama needs her beauty sleep. But, not before scribbling a few, friendly reminders for 2017:
- Stop Chasing Romance – but stop thinking you aren’t worth it.
Put down the smartphone and step away gently. Quit worrying about apps and algorithm percentages and profile views. Block out silly, useless thoughts of disappoint or, more accurately, sharp-pang-in-the-pit-of-your-stomach jealousy, when a picture of a freshly-manicured left hand, weighed down by a rock whose sparkle game is on point, hits the interwebs – only to remind you how far you are from where you wish you were.
Pause when you find yourself poring over garbage articles disguised as self-helping you iron out your quirks or dissect your questionable behavior to determine if you’re fun, flirty, feminine or fierce enough to land the “perfect” guy. I’m begging you, please: throw away timelines and checklists and plans for your future. Ideas and dreams are one thing, but designing the blueprint of your life is not your job, lest you forget to live it. Remember, when you allow yourself to live outside the confines of routine and order, naturally, you begin to emanate bigger joy and greater happiness. Within that space you are able to invite someone new.
And the right someone will embrace you wholly. You can be difficult and you are challenging. Not to mention stubborn and strong-willed. But you are also wildly creative and deliciously funny. Sometimes you’re quiet and maybe a little dull. Then, when the mood strikes, you come alive with a quick and sharp tongue that gets you in all sorts of trouble.
You are so many things. But you will never be too little of this, or too much of that to find love. Dare yourself to tear down a few walls. Choose not to hide behind sarcasm and snark (at least not all the time). Allow yourself to be exactly who you are, no apologies, and to feel something real. You deserve it and you are worth it.
- Be Nicer to Yourself
You are freaking awesome and you should remind yourself of that any chance you get. But first, you must give in to the arduous work of editing your inner dialogue. You are wired to think and speak of yourself in a certain way, but unless trained, that little, sometimes pesky voice will drive you crazy with untruths.
Find a few personal mantras that resonate with you and remind you of your brilliance. Repeat them multiple times. Every day. Rewiring your inner soundboard takes practice and persistence, but once you have mastered the art of deflecting negative thoughts, the much truer and more positive messages will come through loud and clear.
- Never, Under Any Circumstance, Apologize for Who You Are
Your vocabulary is, no doubt, colorful and extensive. Still, one, small word tends to sit squarely on the tip of your tongue more than any other. “Sorry” is a necessary and impactful expression of remorse and acknowledgement of genuine wrong-doing. Yes, when you have hurt or offended someone with your actions or words, it is always appropriate to offer up a sincere apology for your misstep of character.
But, playing the “sorry” card as a casual way to dismiss or diminish any aspect of who you are most genuinely and innately is never okay; and it is imperative that you know the difference between rightfully apologizing for a mistake versus wrongfully apologizing for a unique trait. You were made with the utmost intention. Know that, and celebrate it.
- Don’t Be Afraid of Change
While you are celebrating who you are right now, don’t forget to challenge yourself to push some limits and see how far you can go. Force yourself to be comfortable with uncertainty. Revel in spontaneity. Take risks and more chances. Decide not to play it safe.
This life you have been given is a fleeting gift and it is your calling not to waste it, to take everything you can from it. Promise me that you won’t sit still. Be brave, make moves and shake things up. Harness your passion and run with it. Embrace your gifts and dare to share them with others.
But all of this takes willingness to welcome change, the most essential and inevitable part of the human experience. You were not made to stay stagnant and unmoving. You were made to grow and evolve, no matter how scary it is.
This year, take a pledge to say more, to feel more and to do more.
Closing the NotePad app on my iPhone, I glance over at the digital clock glowing red on my nightstand, and reminding me how much of a party animal I am not. But it doesn’t faze me. That whole ‘how you spend New Year’s Eve is how your New Year will be’ is a load of crap, probably made up by liquor companies to scare people into going out and drinking more than they should.
So what, I didn’t get a late-night knock on my door from Mr. Right holding a bottle of Champagne, ready to pour his heart out to me. Even without a fairytale, this life is turning into a better story than I could ever write. I am content with who I am, and even more excited about who I am continuing to become.
That’s all the happy-ending (to a crazy year) I need.