Real Talk: New Year, New Resolutions

It’s 2016. When did that happen?

As we all know, a new year means New Year’s Resolutions. Everyone resolves to lose weight and go to the gym… and they stick with it until mid-February. Then the gym crowd empties out again (and I can have my treadmill back, dammit), and the resolution falls by the wayside.

I don’t normally do resolutions. For one, I can’t really stick with them. But this year, I thought I’d make a list of things I want to do in 2016. Goals for myself, of a sort. Some of these are serious, some are more lighthearted. Because it’s about balance, y’all.

You can call them resolutions if you like. For me, they’re more like life improvements instead of resolutions.

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No, there’s no reason for this hedgehog. I just thought it was cute.

1. Become more involved in my church.

Over the course of 2015, I started attending Capitol Hill Baptist Church in D.C. I’d been once, a few years ago for the Easter service, but I hadn’t been back because, well, I was lazy. I didn’t have a car, and Sunday bus service is less than reliable.

In April, I brought my car to D.C. And there went my excuse. I’ve been attending regularly as I can with work travel, but I would like become more involved. First, I plan on joining this year. I’d like to do a small group Bible study, maybe volunteer. I think that that would be good for my growth, as a Christian, and the church is so warm and welcoming.

2. Stop worrying about what my friends are doing on social media.

That sounds stupid, doesn’t it? Let me explain.

I suffer from a syndrome, best diagnosed in the title of Mindy Kaling’s first book — Is everyone hanging out without me? I have this paranoia that while I’m sitting at home in my pajamas and reading a book, all my friends are out having oh-so-much fun together. Without me.

So what do I do? I check Facebook. And Instagram. And Snapchat. And that just reinforces the feeling of isolation — which is funny, isn’t it? We’re so connected via the internet, yet it can make a person feel as lonely as ever. It’s not good for your mental health to worry about such stupid things like that.

But that’s the thing about platforms like Instagram, isn’t it? We present our ‘perfect’ life. One where we’re having so much fun, enjoying adventure, drinks, and other beautiful people. We don’t see the other side, which, if we’re being honest, probably encompasses more of reality than the curated side.

I think it can be best summed up by a friend. She recently moved back to D.C. after a year or so pretty far away. We were talking about her new job and why she’d moved back, and the question was posed, “You looked so happy where you were living. All your posts were of the fun things you did. Why would you want to leave?”

And her response? “Yeah, but I didn’t post about all the nights I sat at home, drinking an entire bottle of wine by myself.”

So in 2016, I’m quitting that. I’m going to do my best (and it’ll probably take effort) to not worry about everyone else. Sure, they’re having fun — but they’re also just like me: on the couch alone some nights.

3. Go home more often

I have a car. Tennessee is only an 8 hour drive away. There’s no reason for me not to suck it up and take a weekend and go see my family. I love spending time at home — why don’t I do it more often?

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My last road trip home

4. Spend money on experiences, not things

That sounds like the most basic, white girl thing ever, doesn’t it? I’ve seen this on several Thought Catalog pieces, but it’s something I’d really like to try. Because yeah, a new Kate Spade purse is nice — but a last minute road trip to the Outer Banks with some friends is way more meaningful.

I’m a travelbug. Always have been, always will be. That’s a requirement to date me — must have passport. If I can snag a super cheap airfare somewhere I’ve always wanted to go, why not go? I’m single and childless, with a great job that encourages me to actually use — not hoard — my vacation days. Why not go?

BRB, just adding to my AirBNB wishlist.

5. Play more golf

I used to hate golf. Hate hate hated it. But then I started playing and fell in love. I’ve got a nice set of clubs and a car. There’s no reason not to play a round every few weekends or so (when the weather gets back above freezing, obviously). I can channel my inner Robin Williams (NSFW video, obviously).

6. Music. Must have more music

I’ve been in D.C. for 6 1/2 years. How is it that I’ve still never been to the Kennedy Center? Home to the National Symphony Orchestra, the DC Opera, and venue that plays host to some of the most esteemed musicians in the world. But I’ve only heard the NSO play once — discounting seeing them on TV for the Fourth of July.

So, a goal this year is to make it to all of them: the ballet, the opera, the symphony. And that doesn’t even count in all the great live music venues in D.C. It’s something I haven’t really taken advantage of here yet, and I intend to change that.

7. Remember to take time for myself

These days, it feels like everyone puts a priority on being busy. The most common excuse for why someone can’t do something is, “Oh, I’m busy.”

Without getting into the cult of ‘busy,’ I do think burnout is very real. Especially in a city like D.C, where you work hard and are then generally expected to play hard. It’s hard to remember that it’s perfectly acceptable to turn down plans simply because you want to go to bed at 8:30. (And yes, I realize this sounds contrary to Life Improvement #1, but I’m channeling my inner Dowager Countess here).

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8. Show gratitude

Nothing is perfect. In fact, I think there’s no such thing. But for everything that is ‘wrong,’ there is so much that is amazing in my life. I’m very blessed with a healthy family, a roof over my head, a steady income, and my own health. I have amazing friends who love me, and who I love in return. There’s so much to be grateful for. Instead of focusing on the negative so much, I want to focus on the positives.

9. Lose weight

Come on, you knew that one was coming. 😉

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Holiday Happiness: ‘Tis the season!

I don’t know about y’all, but as soon as the days prior to Thanksgiving arrive, the holiday rush just takes off for me. I’m catching flights, enjoying that brief time with my family, catching up with cousins I haven’t seen in forever.

Oh yeah, and stuffing my face with turkey and my Mom’s dressing (trust me, monuments should be built to this stuff — it’s that good).

This week is going to be an absolute blur between work, holiday parties, and getting everything done that needs to be done before I fly home for Christmas. It’s important to take time and reflect on the true meaning of the season. My current church (Wisconsin Avenue Baptist) is helping with that. Every morning, I receive a daily Advent devotional in my inbox. The theme is “Waiting for the Light,” and finding a quiet time every day to reflect and read the word of God helps keep me centered in this time of stress.

And there’s also my family. I love seeing them when I can. Living in DC without a car, I don’t get home as often as I would like, and so getting back to Tennessee is a really big deal for me. I took these photos when I was home for Thanksgiving, so you can enjoy my holiday through Instagram. 🙂

Always a welcome sight!

Always a welcome sight!

The animals were waiting to greet me when I got home!

Such sweet faces

Such sweet faces

I think Dad's done a pretty good job with this crop of calves :)

I think Dad’s done a pretty good job with this crop of calves 🙂

Every Thanksgiving, we spend the holiday at my great-grandmother’s home in North Carolina. Even though she is no longer with us, it’s still great to get together at her little mountain home and enjoy the fellowship of family.

Dory Jane -- a champion sugar cookie decorator in the making

Dory Jane — a champion sugar cookie decorator in the making

On Friday, the men head to the golf course or the fishing hole while the women head to Burnsville for a little bit of shopping/wandering around town.

Women of the Houston-Buchanan-Georges family

Women of the Houston-Buchanan-Georges family

Mama and her babies

Mama and her babies

When we got back home to Tennessee, we make a point to put our Christmas trees up that Saturday night. For me, it’s because the odds are that I won’t be back to see them before Christmas — we spend the holiday with my Mom’s side of the family in west Tennessee, and I usually fly straight to Memphis. For my parents, they a) like having the help, and b) know that if they don’t get it done right then, it might never get done!

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care...

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care…

The family Christmas tree

The family Christmas tree

And the formal Christmas tree

And the formal Christmas tree

Decorating for the holidays is one of my favorite traditions! (Yes, Mom, it is. I only complained growing up because fluffing that fake garland we used to use was murder on my hands).

Also, egg nog. Egg nog is delicious.

Daddy and I toasting with our Christmas Vacation moose mugs

Daddy and I toasting with our Christmas Vacation moose mugs

What are some of your favorite holiday traditions?