2016 sucked. If we can’t agree on anything else, I think we can all agree on at least that much. It is widely accepted as a record-breakingly shitty year. So many fucked up things happened that I’m not going to list any of them, because I don’t want to be reminded, and I don’t want to remind you and run the risk of ruining your day.
It’s 2017 now, so let’s all try to move on, shall we?
Since 2016 was one of the worst years on record, we may, as a group, need to consider making a few changes so we don’t screw up again and ruin 2017. Maybe a lot of changes. Maybe a paradigm shift is in order, but let’s start small and we can work our way up. While changing the world is the ultimate goal, if we set our sights a little lower and begin right where we are, we might actually make a difference to the people who deal with our bullshit on a regular-to-semi-regular basis.
So, in the spirit of being the change, there are several things I want to switch up this year. Small things, because I’m lazy, but small things that will hopefully make a big difference in the long run — for me and for the people who deal with me on a regular-to-semi-regular basis. And, for the sake of accountability, I’m going to tell the internet. Because, that’s what we do now — we tell the internet. So here you go internet, my New Year’s Resolutions, in no particular order.
1. Be Less Of An Asshole.
I need to break this one down into parts, I think, because despite my “Don’t Be An Asshole” theory of everything, I was totally an asshole in 2016. If I was an asshole to you (I probably was), you have my sincerest apologies and my resolute commitment to be less of that in 2017, and maybe even 2018, if it sticks. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
A. Be Nicer To My Kids.
My poor kids. Man, I really need to be nicer to them. I’m pretty nice, but they deserve more than pretty nice. I need to stop yelling. I need to stop bossing them around. I need to put down my phone and put away my laptop and stop working for a while, and just hang out with them. I need to stop saying “Hang on” and “Yeah, in a sec, baby. Mama loves you” and “When I’m done writing this article.” I need to BE PRESENT with my kids.
B. Be Nicer To Myself.
I say really crappy things to myself pretty frequently. I know I shouldn’t, and I try to be aware and mindful of my self-talk, but it just creeps in and before I know it I’m all, “Jesus, Kristi, what the hell are you doing that for? Freaking idiot.” Or, “Oh my God, I’m so disgusting, I really need to have a little damned self-respect.” Or, “Dumbass dumbass dumbass.” These are not nice things. I would never talk to anyone else this way, so why do I talk to myself this way? You know what? I don’t. Not anymore. Not in 2017.
C. Be Nicer To My Mom.
Oh my mom, bless her, she has had to deal with way more than her fair share of my junk. She’s on top of the “be nicer to” list. I’m lucky to have a decent-to-good relationship with her, and she really deserves as much nice as I can give her for dealing with my angsty self for all these years, yet still never giving up on me.
D. Be Nicer to Strangers.
I’m not a nice person when I’m in crowded places, like the supermarket or an event. I get impatient, and crowds really spin me out. I turn into that passive-aggressive person who says “Excuse me” a little too loudly and with just a hint too much bitch. Even when I’m not in a hurry or feeling crowded, I don’t make eye contact or smile at people. I just do my thing and get on my way. I really want to be the kind of person who takes time out to be pleasant, be kind, be thoughtful. I need to work on that. I find that I don’t like myself too much after I go into P-A jerk mode.
Which leads me to:
2. Be The Person I Want My Kids To Remember Me As.
I absolutely do NOT want my kids to look back and remember me as the "rude at the grocery store person," or the woman with a screen in her face 24/7. I don’t want them to see me as a basket case with disheveled hair and dirty clothes who cries at the drop of a hat because her mental health is not great. I don’t want them to see me sitting down, not participating in whatever fun thing they want me to participate in. I want to do better. I want to be better. Maybe I should make a vision board or something to help me fully realize my potential to not suck at being a mother.
3. Pay More Attention.
Big picture and small picture, I want to know what’s going on in the world. I want to know more about Aleppo. About Duterte. About Putin. I want to fully understand the devastating toll of climate change and extinctions and trafficking and slavery. I want to know about as many of the things that make the world bad as I can know about, and I want to know what I can do to make those things better.
But I also need to remember to pay attention to the small things. The spider who’s lived in the same web on my porch for a month; the way the fog refracts the street lights into halos; the way one kid just stopped saying fwower and said flower instead, and the way the other kid just started to understand that a cow says “moooo.” I want to notice. I want to pay attention.
4. Literally Be The Change.
I lied. I’m totally going to talk about 2016, because how can I not? It was awful. And the only way things are going to get better is if we make them better. I know it sounds trite and contrived and cliche at this point, but it’s true. If we want change, we have to change. The year sucked? So do things to make this year suck less. That’s my resolution.
Do things to make it suck less. For anyone. I want to do something to make someone’s day better EVERY DAY. And while “paying it forward” by paying for somebody’s $5 coffee is nice, it’s not helping anyone who needs help (I’m assuming, bc if you’re buying $5 coffee, you probably aren’t struggling with food insecurity. Just a guess. I’m generalizing, though, so forgive me if I’m wrong…). So maybe I'll take that five bucks and give it to the homeless person around the corner from the overpriced coffeeshop.
Things are probably going to get a lot worse, a lot harder, and a lot scarier for a lot of people. It’s up to everyone to do better EVERY DAY, because good Lord, we already have enough to worry about, don’t we?
5. And Also Drink More Water, Get More Exercise, Eat Right, And All That Other Stuff Everyone Says We’ll Do Every Year That We Then Don’t Do.
Because saving the world is important, but we have to save ourselves, too, right? Because if I have a heart attack and die, it will negatively impact, not many, but enough people. We need to take care of ourselves, not just for ourselves, but because it’s not just about us. We can’t save the world from a hole in the ground. Taking care of ourselves is, in a real sense, taking care of everyone else and making the world a better place.
Go high. Save the world.