Resolute: 2010, My Year of Yes


So I'm really horrible at New Year's resolutions. For years, I would make lists of things that I swore I wouldn't do [like swear so much, eat less chocolate (always incredibly pointless), eat more vegetables (also pointless. This year, someone's got a spatula on this one for me. Those of you who've seen "Run Fat Boy Run" get the spatula reference), get outside more (once I started graduate school, this became important, also somewhat pointless)], and invariably 24-48 hours after I resolved to make a fresh go of it, I'd screw up and then declare the whole resolution thing a bunch of "nonsense" (insert choice word of your pleasure here), anyway.

Then I'd grab a Cadbury Dairy Milk and head to the couch with a book. Why mess with what you've got down to a science?

I tried to get back into the swing of resolutions by resolving not to resolve anything. But then I figured that's kind of taking the easy way out, and I never, ever take the easy way out. Of anything. Just ask my parents or any of my friends, especially Marie who can tell you all about my bright idea when we put my wine cabinet together.

Enter 2010, my Year of Yes.

My Year of Yes means, in a nutshell, that this year, I say yes to just about anything. There are, of course, important qualifications to this statement. I'm not going to do anything stupid that hurts myself or someone else, which includes dragging myself into financial ruin. I doubt, after all, that I'd be able to turn myself into a major auto manufacturer or bank to allow others to bail me out of the mess I got myself into. And, while there is a book called Year of Yes wherein a twenty-something who is tired of certain types in the New York City dating scene resolves to say yes to anyone who asks her out on a date, this twenty-something has a couple issues making that match (first, it's already been done before and, second, I don't live in New York City). So, rest assured, there will be no copyright infringement because, honestly, if anything in book form comes out of me, it'll be my dissertation first, thanks very much.

The point of saying yes to (nearly) everything is to do more, see more, be in better touch with more people, stay up (and sometimes out) a bit later more, and, generally, experience more. It's to step, sometimes by small steps and sometimes by giant leaps, out of the comfort zones I build because sometimes, truly, it's quite, quite good to feel unsteady.  Maybe I'll find I like some things a little, some things a lot, and some not at all.  Maybe I'll finally get to Whistler to go on the zipline through the woods some time this year. Maybe in the Fall I'll apply for and be offered a job at a university that really is in Guam (the mere thought horrifies my Mom who has a bit of trouble locating Guam on a map).  Maybe I'll eat something I otherwise wouldn't and actually like it (more than brussel sprouts, which I finally caved on and ate this Christmas).  But the point is to be open to the experience, whatever the experience is, and see what can come of it. It's also about turning a practice that more often relies upon a lot of "no" and denial for the sake of self-improvement into saying yes to things for the sake of the experience and perhaps I come out a bit better in the end. After all, as a recent article in The New York Times points out, we have just as hard a time saying yes to  and following through with pleasure as we do keeping ourselves in line with resolutions that deny us something.

Oh, and: technically my Year of Yes began on December 15th. Because, you know, a sixteen day head start just to see if sticks isn't a bad idea after all, as it turns out. And you know what? A lot of the time, it feels really, really good to say yes.

If you want, make suggestions for things I should say yes to: I have to at least consider every available option and, of course, I'll keep you updated. Perhaps even sometimes with photos.  So, if you think of it, wish me luck because I'll surely need it. I promise to try hard to stay on the yes wagon.  And I hope that everyone, in your own way, has a bit more "yes" this year.


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