Monday, January 3, 2011

Resolutions I Will (And Won't) Be Keeping

Like many people, I always make resolutions on New Year's Day. I like the idea that people resolve to improve themselves and/or their lives by doing things differently. However, I usually end up failing to keep one or all of the resolutions by February.

Here are a couple resolutions I probably won't be keeping:

1. Write every day. I wish I could write every day. I could send my work out sooner and increase my chances of getting published. Then, when I finally do win the Pulitzer Prize, I could start my acceptance speech by saying something like, "I based all the characters with no conscience on the people who made fun of me in high school. Here are a list of their names..."

It's not possible for me to write every day. I have to work on my dissertation, complete projects for the website I work for, teach classes, grade papers, hold office hours, and answer students' e-mailed questions with a definite NO when they try to get me to change their grade, pressure me to let them miss a month's worth of classes without penalty to their grade, or explain to them everything that happened in a one hour class in one e-mail.

I do write several times a week. If I could write every day, I would. But since I can't, I choose not to feel guilty about it.

2. Stop watching reality TV. I don't watch most reality shows. The Real Housewives makes me want to punch my TV, or at the very least take the cast members by the shoulders and yell, "What's WRONG with you?" So does The Bachelor. Why would ANYONE want to date someone who's already made out with three other women in one day?

I did try watching Top Chef, but the chefs always seemed so angry. That made me worried, because I thought that it was possible for their anger to somehow affect the food they prepared. Then I started worrying about angry chefs at various restaurants I visited, and I thought it might be like Tita from the novel Like Water for Chocolate; everything she felt went into her food and affected the people who ate the food. I thought of that one wedding where she was upset while making the wedding cake and then everyone started throwing up and running around in a panic and....

ANYWAY, the only reality shows I watch are Millionaire Matchmaker and Jersey Shore. Millionaire Matchmaker makes me dread dating in my thirties, because the majority of the guys on there are so despicable with their impossible expectations of women and the way they treat their dates. And yet I can't help watching. Watching the people on the show helps me learn exactly what NOT to do on dates.

Jersey Shore is exactly as trashy as you think it would be, yet it's so hilarious I can't help watching it either. For example, Snooki, one of the female cast members, said, "Whenever people ask me what race I am, I just say I'm tan." I mean, come ON!

It's mean of me to write this, but I watch the shows partly because it makes me feel better about myself. Whenever I feel inadequate because I'm not succeeding in grad school as much as some of my classmates are, I can turn on the TV and laugh at the hair-pulling, drink-throwing, insult-exchanging fights that people have in hot tubs.

But on the other hand, there are things about my life that I want to change, and I figure making a promise to myself will help me accomplish that. So if I can keep just ONE of my resolutions, I'll be satisfied. So here are a few resolutions I probably will keep:

1. Learn to cook. I have tried cooking several recipes before, but I always end up doing something wrong. Then I end up setting fire to the food, spitting it out, or throwing it away before I head to the nearest fast food place. But this year I will try some recipes and find a way to cook without setting off my smoke detector.

2. Complete a draft of my dissertation. One reason I haven't worked on my dissertation as much as I could have was because I was scared. I was so scared that I would write something stupid, or that I wouldn't know what to write at all. I was scared that it wouldn't be good enough, and that all the professors on my dissertation committee (professors that I admire and aspire to be like) would burst out laughing when they read my draft and say, "You cannot be serious. Show us the real draft." Or maybe they'd point to the door and say, "GET OUT! You don't belong here."

I'm still scared. But I have to keep working, because otherwise I will never complete my degree. And I've put in too many years to just quit now.

3. Continue online dating. I took a long break from online dating, because of several bad dates, creepy e-mails that scared me more than the shower scene in Psycho, and guys who sent me e-mails but disappeared before agreeing to meet me in person, which made me think that they must have gone into the Dating Protection Program. I've resolved to join a new dating site soon, but part of me wants to keep putting it off. But I have to put myself back out there, because even if I do end up going on more bad dates, there's also the chance that I could go on some good ones.

What about you? What resolutions have you made? Are there any resolutions that you think you won't be keeping?


  1. ...unique list:) Refraining from reality tv is far more difficult than I thought, for I attempted this feat months ago, and continue the struggle. It's more or less a curiosity thing...who's doing something ignorant in front of the cameras on this evening?

    Good luck!

  2. Hi El,
    Refraining from reality TV is definitely difficult. You'd think that the cast members of those shows would be more self-conscious since they know they're being taped. And yet I think they act outrageously mainly because they know people are watching.

  3. I suggest that you start simple on the cooking thing. Try a book like "A Man, a Can, and a Plan" or anything from Weight Watchers (WW cookbooks are made for people who are just starting out with cooking). Once you've mastered the art of combining 2 cans and a starch, then try the recipe with white truffles and guinea hen from the fancy French cookbook. It worked for me, at any rate.

  4. I'm glad you've made peace w/ your writing expectations. My motto is to write when I can.

    I think you have a point about angry cooks & the food not tasting as good. So when you cook make sure you're in a good mood, or play music that you love & it'll help.

    Haven't seen Jersey Shore but in the past I've seen Millionaire Matchmaker. If you want to see a bunch of narcissistic guys, there's your show.

    Good luck w/ online dating. Best case scenario: you find The One. Worst case scenario: you entertain your readers w/ stories about these online wonders!

  5. Which dating website have you decided to try? My mom (a big Dr. Phil fan... I know... I still love her despite that) told me about one that actor/comedian Steve Harvey started...? Have you heard anything about it? Apparently, and from what she told me, it sounds a bit like the good parts of eHarmony and the good parts of I don't know... I'm still dragging my feet about jumping back into the online dating pool. There's far too many gross things floating on the surface.

  6. I know that you shared a lot of personal, meaningful things and I appreciate you letting me into your life like that. But apparently I'm really shallow because all my comments seem to come back to the Jersey Shore. Oh my goodness, that show is so freaking funny! Snooki just came out with a book and they have excerpts from it in the New York Post. You have to read them. Trust me. You'll feel like a winner for at least week.

  7. Hi Lost Goat,
    Thanks for the suggestions! I'm definitely going to target the simpler recipes, at least at first. I figure that way it'll be harder to mess them up.

    Hi notesfromnadir,
    I will definitely be writing about my online dating (mis)adventures, and hopefully it will turn out better this time. I actually did think about going to a matchmaker (though I definitely couldn't afford Patti Stanger), but not if the guys the matchmaker sets me up with are anything like the guys on that show.

    Hi Melanie,
    Are you talking about That's the one that I'm going to try. I've already tried okcupid, match, and eharmony, so I figure I'll try something new this time. It's perfectly fine to postpone online dating, because like you said, there are plenty of gross guys out there. I figured I'd just wait until I was ready again.

    Hi FreeFlying,
    You're not shallow, especially because I think I've mentioned Jersey Shore at least two or three times in my posts. That show is very funny. I think half the time they're not even trying to be funny. They just don't think about what they say before they do it. I kind of wish they'd come out with an entirely new cast though. And I can't believe Snooki finished her book already. I never saw her pick up a book on the show.

  8. Yeah, that write every day thing? Every year I think about that, and well, we all know how well it's worked out! Ugh...

  9. Hi Catherine,
    I think that there are a lot of writers who aren't able to write every day. I've actually heard of best-selling writers who only write during certain seasons of the year. I figure as long as I get writing done on a regular basis it's okay.