It is New Year’s Eve, 2o1o. And I am sitting in my apartment, alone, watching Patrick Swayze movies.
I’m still not quite sure how this happened. But for the past three months or so, I’ve felt more and more isolated and lonely. Maybe it’s because I live downtown and the majority of my friends live in the suburbs now. Maybe it’s because I now have a job and can no longer just jump on a train and spend a weeknight on a friend’s couch. Maybe it’s just me. I don’t know. But I don’t like it.
I started this blog almost exactly one year ago. I started it as a New Year’s resolution to myself to write more, and to keep track of my super lame New Year’s resolutions. I tried to create a structured blog and was far too concerned with how “professional” or “grown up” it seemed and not nearly concerned enough with just writing like I used to write. Writing for me. Writing about whatever the hell I felt like writing about. That changes now.
I am done feeling sorry for myself. I am done feeling lonely and rejected. I am done trying so hard to please everyone but myself. This past year was an odd one – for the first nine months I was jobless, broke, living at home and feeling like a pretty big loser; but I went out. I spent a lot of time with friends and I was happy, albeit only superficially, really. And then September hit: I volunteered for the Toronto International Film Festival, met a lot of amazing people, got a steady job, and slowly started feeling better about myself over the last three months. But it seems that if one aspect of my life is awesome, then conversely the other half of it must be balls. I stopped seeing my friends as much. I lived downtown in Toronto now, and worked all week, so I stopped getting invited to events happening back in my hometown. I stopped having lunches with my friends who worked down here because I now work 45 minutes away. I started feeling less and less like a part of my group of friends and more like an outsider. I felt great about myself in respect to work, and all the people I was getting to know there, but with my closest friends I felt… I don’t know. Expendable? That sounds horrible. Maybe forgotten is a better word for it. Left out. Out of sight, out of mind, right? This is no one’s fault really, just my own incredibly unfounded insecurities coupled with the challenges of living in a city that none of my closest friends live in. It’s been a lot harder than I thought it would be.
Now? Now I am starting fresh. It is a new year, with new possibilities and endless potential. I still want to write about movies, but I’m also going to write about things that happen to me that I want to share – like how I spent today scouring downtown for a store that carried The Outsiders special edition DVD, simply because I got it in my head I wanted to watch it for my Patrick Swayze marathon tonight. I’m going to write about the weird and ridiculous dreams I have, because if I don’t write about them I forget them and that’s a shame because they’re often quite hilarious. I’m going to write about the shows I love to watch, and why I love them. I’m going to write about the songs that are stuck in my head, the things that piss me off during any given day, anything and everything I feel the need to share. And even if no one ever reads it, I’ll be content knowing that at least I’m doing what I want to do. And it’s for no one else but me.
I’m also still going to use this blog to keep track of my resolutions. But not as cold and clinically as I did before. I made myself a list, a ridiculously long list, a list of things I want to accomplish this year. I want to write about them as I go, how well they’re going, or not going, and share all my zany adventures as they happen. Hopefully, one year from now, I can look back on this blog and see that, even if I didn’t accomplish everything I set out to do, I tried, dammit. And that’s more than I can say for other years.
1) WRITE!!! – DUH.
2) See 100 movies I’ve never seen – This probably seems like a stupid resolution. But I wanted something fun, something that I would feel motivated to fulfil, and more importantly, something that would be at least moderately fun to keep track of on here. If only to go, “I finally watched Crank 2! It’s just as bad as I thought! Worse!” I think I can pull this off in a year, but we’ll see how I do…
3) Read 25 new books – This shouldn’t be TOO hard, since my friends and I started a book club in the fall. But even if it falls apart (which such ventures often do with us) I still resolve to read at least 25 new books. And not just ones about zombies and vampires too! Grown up books!
4) Be more outgoing – This one is going to be hard. I’m not even sure how to go about this, but my current plan is to try and approach more social settings as if I’m at work. Wait, hear me out. Work Sandra? She’s awesome. Seriously. Ask anyone who’s worked with me. Work Sandra is funny, she’s outgoing, she’s the life of the party. When I told people at my last job how shy I could be, and how I hate being the center of attention, they actually laughed at me. They thought I was kidding. At my current job, I had two of the guys tell me I’m the heart of the office and that I bring the room to life when I’m there and it’s boring and quiet when I’m not. Work Sandra might actually be more fun than the REAL Sandra. So, my goal is to act more like Work Sandra and maybe, just maybe, I’ll stop being so g.d. awkward around people I don’t know.
4 b) Make new friends – This is an subset of #4. I need more friends downtown so I have people to hang out with and see movies with. But you don’t win friends being shy and awkward. Also, you don’t win friends with salad. So, my goal is to make at least ONE NEW FRIEND, before New Year’s Eve 2011.
5) Go on a date/join a dating website – I feel ridiculous even writing this. Not only because it’s a stupid resolution to make, but also because I have very little control over whether or not I can complete it. I don’t get asked out. Ever, really. I can count on one hand the number of dates I’ve been on. I’m not sure how to suddenly make the boys come a-runnin’, so if by June I still haven’t had any offers, I am going to seriously think about joining a dating website. I feel pathetic just saying that, but there you have it.
6) See a movie alone – This one’ll be easy-peasy. I have always wanted to do this, but have never been brave enough. I just feel like everyone judges you if you’re sitting in a theatre alone (because clearly, my sitting by myself is far more enthralling than the film they paid $13 to see.) But I got a taste of doing this at TIFF, and if seeing a movie alone means I get to SEE a movie I’m dying to see, then I’ll just have to suck it up.
7) Sing at karaoke – At work, I am constantly singing along with the radio. Constantly. a co-worker commented that I must love karaoke and when I confessed I’d never been, he was flabbergasted. I have at least three friends who seem to go to karaoke regularly, so my goal is to join one of them, at least once, before the year is out.
8) Hangout more regularly with people downtown – I do have friends in this city. I may act like I’m completely cut off from all semblances of friendship, but there are actually about 5 or 6 people who live down here who, while I may not be terribly close with them, I’d still call my friends. This year, I will hang out with them more. I will make a point to get coffees, go shopping, see movies, whatever, just spend time with these people. Because they’re good people. I’d like to be closer friends with them.
8 b)Accept more invites – Another offshoot resolution. I tend to turn down invitations to group functions or events where I don’t really know anyone. Why? That’s dumb. Let’s not do that anymore. Next time an aquantance invites me to a party, Games Night, whatever, I’m going to go. And if I’m going to decline, I better have a damn good reason.
9) Get published/referenced on EW.com – On my bucket list (Yes, I have a bucket list, big whoop, wanna fight about it?) number 7 is to be published in Entertainment Weekly. I am trying to be a bit more realistic with this resolution. The goal? To get a comment or note I send to the lovely bloggers on EW’s PopWatch Blog published or at least referenced in another post or one of their delightful galleries. I will also settle for a letter I send to the editors getting on the Feedback page of the magazine.
10) Exercise more – Ugh, how clichéd. But the fact is, for the first time in my life I feel… well, fat. Or, at least, not skinny. I spent so much time complaining about being skinny when I was a teenager. Clearly, I was an idiot. I hate my stomach, I hate my ass, and I know there’s no way in hell I’ll be changing my diet anytime soon, so exercise it is! There’s a lovely pool in this building, it’s about time I take full advantage.
11) Have a Games Night once a month – I tried to do this last year and it kinda fell apart in the summer. NOT THIS TIME, FRIENDS AND NEIGHBOURS. I want my regular board game fix, and I intend to get it.
12) Learn a new skill – Again, clichéd. But by this time next year, I WILL know how to knit. Or clog dance. Or maybe do origami? I haven’t picked my new skill yet. I have decided that if I haven’t picked one by the summer though, I’ll let someone else pick it for me. Possibly even a lovely reader! (Assuming anyone’s still reading this by then…) Which could prove hilarious or disastrous. Or both. Probably both.
13) Write to out-of-town friends more – I don’t keep regular correspondence with my out-of-town friends. I wish I did, but I am just a lazy ass who replies to e-mails a week after the fact, and usually with very little worth replying to. NO MORE! I will write to Alice in England, Vicki in BC, Krysta in Halifax, and all my lovelies back in Ottawa. I will write regularly and I will send more than just a Christmas card in the mail once a year. On that note…
13 b) Send more gifts/cards – I love getting mail. Who doesn’t love getting mail? So I’m going to spread the love. Birthday cards! Birthday gifts! postcards! I am actually really into this idea, so here’s hoping I can keep it up for a year.
14) Visit Ottawa more – I miss Ottawa. A lot. I miss my friends. I miss my brother. I miss my life there. One of my best friends is having a baby and I plan to spoil the ever loving crap outta that kid. So my goal: at LEAST three visits to Ottawa in 2011. I’m also going to work on getting my Ottawa friends out here for more visits.
15) Take a dance class – I miss dancing. But this one is going to take some courage to sign up for solo. So, my resolution is this: This winter/spring, I will see if I can coerce someone to come dancing with me in the summer. Swing, latin, hip hop, whatever. If I can’t convince anyone to go with me, then I will try my best to work up the courage to go by myself. This may need some outside encouragement folks, so prepare to boost my morale.
16) Explore Toronto once a month – I get lost. Very easily. And so I am constantly finding myself terrified to travel anywhere in Toronto that I can’t walk to, or isn’t on my regular subway route. I have determined that this is unacceptable. So, once a month, I am going to explore Toronto. Either pick a destination I have heard of and venture forth, or just jump on a subway and go.
16 b) Take a streetcar – SUBSET! Yet another easy one. I don’t know why I’m so afraid of taking the streetcar by myself, probably because I am insane, but I resolve to get over this. I will take a streetcar. And I will not get lost.
17) See all the Oscar contenders – I resolve this every year. And every year I fail. But I also get a little closer every year! Last year I saw six of the ten Best Picture nominees. And if the Golden Globes are any indication, I’m already well on my way to that. I WILL REACH MY GOAL THIS YEAR, OR DIE TRYING. Ok, not really. But I’m still going to do my damnedest!
18) Go to the TIFF Bell Lightbox regularly – If you’re ever in Toronto and you love movies as much as me, you have to check out the Lightbox. It’s phenomenal. I’ve only been twice so far and I’ve decided that my visits need to be much more frequent. So, in the new year, I will be signing up for a membership and hopefully I can check out some really great movies at a regular price. Also, Tim Burton!
19) Enter more contests – I have a friend who, I swear, wins just about everything she enters. She won a trip to San Francisco. She won free tickets to Wicked. She won tickets to Broken Social Scene. SHE WINS EVERYTHING. And I am jealous. Now, there’s no real way for me to resolve to “win more things,” but I CAN resolve to enter more contests. That’s at least a step in the right direction.
20) Take more pictures – I use to be quite the fiend with my camera. But lately I’ve been a little lazy about it. Probably because I really hated my camera. However, Santa Claus was very kind to me and so I now have a new camera and an inkling to capture dorky and adorable moments whenever I can. So I will! I also want to take more than just nerdastic pictures of me and my friends. I want to take pictures of this city. I want to take pictures of celebrities – they’re here making movies often enough, why have I never tried to meet any? I want to do more things that are worthy of a “Kodak moment,” as it were.
So there you have it. My blueprint for 2011. Who knows if this will ever happen. Who knows if anyone will ever even read this. But my goals are clear and I refuse to get in my own way again. This year, this year is going to be different.
Happy New Year, folks.