New Year, Pure Life

Happy New Year! It’s been 2015 for six days. With the exception of writing a new numeral on my rent check, there has been nothing to differentiate this year from 2014. And isn’t that a shame? I am not wholly consumed by the #NewYearNewMe phenomena, because turning the page of a calendar does not a new person make. But I’m all for fresh starts, new beginnings, and any excuse to make a change. I have many New Year’s resolutions I’d like to attain, or at least initiate the trek toward, and the very act of committing these resolutions to print is, I believe, a step in the right direction. I know you don’t give a shit—when has anyone ever cared about anyone else’s oft abandoned New Year’s resolutions?—but by declaring them here, I am trying to hold myself accountable. So if/when I fail at attaining, or trekking toward, one or two or all of these, I’ll have to live with my failure. And why would I want to do that?

My family went to Costa Rica over the holidays (more on that later—if I adhere to resolution #3, that is). The country has an unofficial slogan: pura vida. The literal translation means “pure life.” But the catchphrase goes far beyond the basic definition of “pure”—unadulterated, undiluted, untainted—the colloquialism expresses the concept of being full of life. This is at the root of my decision to make these resolutions. I want to live life the pura vida way, a life that is full. A life that is in fact pure: unadulterated, undiluted, and untainted.

Living like a mermaid at Playas del Coco

Living like a mermaid at Playas del Coco

So before we get any closer to 2016, here are my 2015 resolutions, in no particular order:

  1. Be better at email. If you’ve communicated with me personally via email, you’ve likely noticed that I am terrible at it. My response time can be beat by both the tortoise and the hare. You may be one of my dearest friends, yet your message will sit in my inbox for days, weeks—in a few worst case examples, months—without a reply. I will work on this. I will also work on deleting messages that aren’t from dear friends. Why do I let the myriad newsletters I subscribe to and never open pile up like the dirty clothes in the corner of my bedroom? Deleting emails is much faster than doing laundry, yet I do the latter more often.
  2. Spend less money on food. I don’t mean food from the grocery store. I’m a New Yorker. I rarely cook in my tiny kitchen. I often order Seamless. I spend so much excessive money on getting meals delivered directly to my door that I might as well chip in extra to get it spooned into my mouth. This year, I will start spending more money at the grocery store on food that I will actually prepare for myself and less money on food that will probably make me fat anyway.
  3. Blog more often. Self-explanatory.
  4. Give up online shopping for a month. HA. This is the least feasible of my seven resolutions. I have a hot and cold relationship with online shopping, but even at its most tepid, the action is far from frozen. I need to dial back my compulsive “Proceed to Checkout” habit—the button is just so easy to click!—and prioritize. So I’m going to try to give up online shopping in February (shortest month, duh). If I need something that badly, I can damn well find it on one of the shelves stocking the stores of New York City.
  5. Learn how to say “no” to free food. Don’t fool yourself, Meredith—free food does have calories. And it doesn’t taste better because it’s free. Memorize this. Remember this. Practice this.
  6. Be less of a snob. I have high standards, and I’m proud of it. But sometimes I let these (occasionally arbitrary) directives preclude me from enjoying something that I should just let myself enjoy. And if I can’t get over my own internal hurdles, I will at least try to stop proclaiming them out loud—I can be a snob without sounding like one.
  7. Get over myself. And by this, I mean allowing myself to get over the things done by others that get to me. I’m not so self-absorbed as to believe that the world revolves around me. But guess what—my life does. And if you’re throwing off my orbit, I’m throwing you out of it.

Welcome to 2015. ¡Pura vida!

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