The New Year, genital pancakes and incredibly obvious advice from Yours Truly

Many of you are transfixed by Christmas right now, which is obviously fine.

I totally see the merits in Christmas. You get to sit around with your family, eat too much (with a justified excuse) and remember, nostalgically, that one night you definitely heard Santa on the roof, creeping round: everybody’s favourite generous, fat, alcoholic stalker.

However, I am not really thinking about Christmas. Which, by the way, is no mean feat – as my desk is currently covered in Christmas crap, my desk neighbour is obsessed with Christmas, all the articles that I’m currently writing for my job are Christmas-related and I am still preparing for My Big Fat French Christmas impending in just seven, short days (My Big Fat French Christmas, the Jekyll to My Big Fat Greek Wedding’s Hyde).

No – I not thinking about Christmas. I am thinking about New Year. Christmas has been, in a sense, officially shunted (sorry).

I do this a lot. When it’s Halloween, I find myself thinking about Bonfire Night. When it’s Valentines, I’m usually thinking about Pancake Day. And when it’s Christmas, I’m anticipating the New Year. Maybe it’s something to do with hating the corporate stamp that’s been placed on our most famous holidays, making my brain instinctively hop to the next, lesser-celebrated (but still delightful) event.

After all, getting dressed up at Halloween is fun, sure – but I personally think the gorgeous smell of a bonfire, and drawing dicks in the air with your sparklers, is nicer. And obviously, the entire Western world can stress out about impressing their partner for one day a year if they want to – but I prefer to avoid all that drama and make genital pancakes with my housemates on Shrove Tuesday, instead (please note that I am incredibly immature when it comes to ‘art’. I like to draw dicks. Fight me.)

Christmas and New Year – same kettle of fish. I can’t deal with the stress of Christmas – so I look to New Year, and new beginnings. Always an exciting concept – but particularly now.

This has been a turbulent annum for me. It’s been my first full year out of university and it’s been, frankly, difficult: companies try to take advantage of you because you’re not yet wise, finding a job that you enjoy doing is hard (having no experience in the field to draw from being a fresh-faced, bonny-eyed postgrad) and you’ll constantly find yourself freaking out about council tax and bills and commuting costs and oh, so much more. I hate to break it to you – but my rose-tinted glasses have officially slipped off my sweaty, anxious nose. I’ll be telling my kids that you need to enter this world with a suit of armour and a puppy under each arm to remain mentally and physically sound: God knows you’ll need both.  

Yet in saying this (and sounding overwhelmingly negative in the process – sorry again, don’t worry, this article will take a turn soon) my first full year out of academia is over. Finally, over. And, after some last-minute December tragedies, I’m so ready for for ‘16 – more streetwise, more screwed on and more determined than ever before to not be beaten by adulthood teething problems (oh – your wisdom teeth will come through too. Bummer. But provides a great excuse to absorb whole cartons of ice cream.)

After all, I’ve had, like, over 365 days out here now. In the battlefield. I couldn’t drink my own piss and fisticuff with wild animals, like bears, with my bare hands like Bear (“Bare Hands”) Grylls, but I’m pretty attuned to survival out here in my own climate. (And I’m about as tired as I would be after battling bears with Bear, which is a sure signal of having become extremely hardcore. Right?)

But this evolution to a more ‘streetwise’ adult has not been easy. In fact, the lessons I’ve learned have often been the unfortunate byproducts of disaster (apparently, I am a very experiential learner). So, really, it would be better to spot these pitfalls and slip-ups before they happen. Additionally, it would also be nicer to worry a little less, which I am also wont to do – particularly after super mean, survival-based 2015.

These are the things I’m basing my resolutions around. This is the mindset with which I will approach-  kitted out in my armour, and hopefully with dogs – 2016. (Woo?)

Do you remember the kind of resolutions you used to make? 10-year-old me made stern plans to write more stories (I can’t say that one’s changed much over the years), learn how to ride a pony, convince my parents to buy me aforementioned pony and ‘eat less chemicals and sugar’ (Haha. Suuure. No self-restraint. Was shocked when that girl’s skin, years ago, was tinted orange because she drank so much Sunny D. Not because of the incident – I was shocked because I was not that girl. How did she beat me to it!?)

My resolutions, now, are serious. Iron-clad. Some of them on the same vein as 10-year-old me (isn’t it funny how people don’t change?) and others entirely new, formulated by experiences from my first year entirely on my own. So, without further ado…

(Okay, with a little more ‘ado’. Just wanted to add that, being the list-making aficionado that I am, this string of resolutions was obviously incredibly long to begin with but I’ve managed to whittle it down to eight, concise points [“EIGHT!?” you think, stunned. “Eight is a load!” Trust me – it’s not.])

  • Get completely out of debt – no big holidays, no random shopping sprees, no more spending unspeakable amounts of money a month on corporate coffee chains. I need to go cold turkey. Or, at least, lukewarm turkey.
  • Be a bit less jaded – stop looking at the world through such a cynical telescope (try).
  • Have adventures with my good friend Fran – adventures throughout the year that will, hopefully, stave off the desire to go on a ‘big holiday’ as we embark on many little adventures of our own – trips to the seaside, pub-crawling in nearby Northern cities, making tits of ourselves at live art classes e.t.c.
  • Go to the gym more… – … and run, for forty minutes like three days a week, OR at the same rate that I inhale carbohydrates. Something needs to be done.
  • Select a good mate, randomly, from a list each month, and send the lucky winner a homemade token of affection – But not in a Sugar Daddy way. In a way to remind them that I love them. I don’t remind people that I love them enough.
  • Go to a festival properly – living grottily in the mud with a keg of beer for company, camping all weekend, no showers… the whole shazam.
  • Write a novel – “Just. Do. It” (LaBeouf, 2015). If you don’t force yourself to do it you will probably never start doing it. Make a bloody effort, Me.
  • Make more of my own friends near where I live – I am beginning to realise I know, like, nobody here. My friends are largely scattered around the country. That is not helpful when it’s Friday night and you need to go out for emergency drinks and you have no-one but your one friend who you plague constantly (Catherine. Sorry. I love you. You save me.)

Ah – my eight, absolutely doable resolutions (*cough*).

Rejected ideas included ‘make a fancy dinner at least once a week’, because I would like to be better at cooking – but I have a pack of vegetarian burgers in my freezer that probably date back to 2013, as the only thing I want to do when I get home is sit on my couch inhaling udon noodles (makeable in two minutes, sorted) and watching reruns of the U.S. Office. Sorry if that makes me boring. It’s true. I have a deep love for Prison Mike.

Another one was ‘pay more attention to the family dog’, but that includes the added resolution of ‘going home very often’, which is something I cannot do due to lack of funds, and would not really want to do all the time as weekends inevitably get sucked up in traversing the country to see my previously mentioned, ‘scattered about’ mates, doing a shitload of neglected adult chores and drinking cider while playing The Binding of Isaac.  The family dog will simply have to wait until family time. Even though I yearn for her cute, fluffy face, more than may be considered normal.

Other, more popular resolutions have not even come into consideration. Hey – you can’t do it all. Nobody is Superman (except for literal Superman, but I’m sure even he has weaknesses). For instance, I am not unhappy with the amount of chocolate I consume (my motto is “eat whatever you want then run like a motherfucker”). I am in no way going to curb my swearing (free speech, y’all. Swearing gives me release.)

Resolutions, ultimately, are for tweaking, not for transforming your life.

To transform your life, you need to sit down and think and plan over a period of time that goes beyond a snap-decision made post-snogging a stranger at midnight while drunk. On this basis, all my resolutions are ‘tweaks’, which will hopefully help me navigate the dizzying tundra of Adulthood, Year Two. Bring it (but don’t bring it too hard, dear God. I’m knackered.)

Ah, yes. There’s no denying that there’s something nice about a definitive, fresh slate. A big, fat line drawn under one year, progressing into the next. Leaving It All Behind. No, I won’t wake up with different hair or altered finances or newly imbued with magic powers, but I will be waking up with a fresh mindset: the mindset that things will be different, can be different, and I will make them different in this hazy, unpredictable, and exciting ‘16 so closely round the corner.
My rose-tinted glasses might have come off – but I’ve replaced them with better ones. Perhaps those shiny, reflective ones which were popular among boybands of the 90s. I’ll leave that to your imagination.

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