by Julie Robinson
Back when Prince recorded 1999, I remember thinking to myself that I would be much too old to actually enjoy ringing in the New Year in the year 2000. We’ve now added a dozen years to the equation, and I must say that being older and wiser has its perks. I feel poised to truly embrace my life in a manner that is both graceful and purposeful. Here are the concepts I plan to embrace for the coming year.
1. Break Free From the Ruts
My big New Year’s Resolution is to try new things. Instead of embracing the familiar, my goal for this year is to branch out, get out of my comfort zone and shake things up. It’s easy to fall into dull and boring habits—now’s the time to be spontaneous, adventurous, and bold.
2. Emotional Distance
Some men ejaculate prematurely—I have a tendency to get all emotional prematurely. I get wrapped up in the excitement of a new romance, begin day dreaming about the future, and lose focus on what’s currently going on. If I allow some emotional distance early on in the relationship, then I can be more in the moment, not lose myself in someone who I don’t know particularly well, and enjoy my day to day life instead of fretting about what could happen—someday.
3. Patience v. Doormat
My mother’s old saying: “Patience is a virtue” is certainly true when it comes to training an old dog or playing with a young niece. It should not apply, however, when dealing with a man who is not treating you the way you wish to be treated. When a grown man is behaving badly OR cowardly OR inconsistently—it’s time to be firm about what you want. If he cannot (or will not) give it to you, then it’s a good idea to embrace your fine stubborn self and walk out the door.
4. The Power of Discipline
I have a very bad habit of throwing my clothes on the ground as I take them off. This leads to a very messy bedroom and a general sense of discontent because I like living in a tidy space. This is not the only way a little discipline would help me have a happier life. Going to the gym when I don’t particularly want to go, taking my dog to the park even if it’s cold, going grocery shopping regularly—all of these examples take a wee bit of discipline and enrich my life so much that if I simply do it I will be that much better off.
5. Letting Go
A year ago last Christmas I met a young man who quickly became my lover. After the first couple of times together we would have regular encounters that amounted to no more than a quickie. If the sex was good this wouldn’t be a terrible thing—unfortunately this was not the case. It got so bad that when he calls I always have an excuse. I think it’s time to fess up to the sweet boy and be clear that I’m letting go. If I want to focus on the real deal (and I do) then I cannot keep returning to mediocre, half-ass attempts at love.
6. The Ease v. Effort Conundrum
Relationships are hard. They are full of compromise and consideration. They should also, on some level anyway, be easy. This is especially true early in a relationship. When the struggle to be together outweighs the pleasure it may be time to rethink what’s going on and either work through the kinks so they go away or accept it for what it is—not working.
7. Speak Up
Smoothing over what I’m really thinking is something that I’ve gotten so good at it’s almost an art form. Sometimes I’m not even aware I’m doing it. Being present and authentic are two goals of mine that will most often translate as being honest when I interact with others. Of course, the first step is being honest with myself.
8. Check My Baggage
Shit happens. By the time you’re my age the shit has pretty much piled up and is lining the sidewalk. Being aware of your personal foibles is a sign that you’re in tune with who you are and learning to live with yourself. Sharing who you are does not translate to intimacy if you do it too soon AND too often AND to the wrong person. Relish your self-knowledge and keep it to yourself.
9. Sugar v. Saccharine
I once had a lover who decided he would rather play around with a bunch of foolish young women instead of growing closer to me. I was available to him—he just preferred the sweet young saccharine to my fine sugar. I’ve made similar decisions over the years and this year is when I’m going to alter that course and choose the real thing over the sparkly fake options.
10. Go for the Gold
If I steer clear of my bad habits and focus on what I really want from my life—there’s no reason why I shouldn’t be able to go for the gold and end up in a loving, fulfilling relationship. Whether it’s because I’m breaking out of ruts or simply being true to myself (and others)—this attention to the journey will lead to my ultimate goal. Right?