January 11, 2017

Getting Real in the New Year

Hey, Bonita…

Honestly, I can't believe I don't have mono right now—I kissed pretty much everyone on New Year's Eve. We're three days in, and I'm smoking on my porch after a great workout, and it's not quite 9 a.m. yet. I'm gonna keep it simple and say that's a solid start to 2017, for me. I'm not trying to restart or resolve anything this year. I figure if I can just start the year right, it'll be easier to stay the course.

You don't need me to tell you that New Year's resolutions are futile. We all know it, but we make them anyway. They're usually weight loss or health-related—both fine endeavors, but life changes start with lifestyle changes, and we have to stop expecting ourselves to get the socially accepted version of the “bikini body” by spring break if our first workout is on Jan. 1. You're pretty much guaranteed to fail.

Don't start the year by setting yourself up for failure—not just regarding dieting or quitting smoking. You have to be intentional with your life choices. To be effective, our actions must be an extension of an ideal that we hold in our hearts, not just the mental white noise of wanting to be thinner or to finally snag our crush. We have to really mean it and believe it if we want it to happen.

People make resolutions centered around sex and dating, too, and we can screw those up just as badly when we do nothing more than set some empty directive and continue on with our same behaviors and attitudes. For example, if you feel that you can't find a partner and have too many one-night stands, it's probably a good idea to stop going home with strangers and to insist on real dates.

Sounds simple, but my thirtysomething lady friend confessed to me that this idea finally sank into her bones all of two weeks ago. It was just habit for her to seek out companionship in this way, even though she knew she was limiting herself by attempting to cultivate deep connections in a setting intended for the exact opposite. Now she's flirting and dating with intention, and we both know she'll see way less action by following her new rules. But this is about quality, not quantity.

I intend to live my best life this year—and all years—and I intend to live my best love life, as well. I'm not making resolutions. Instead, I'm choosing to act from the ideal that I'm worthy of respect, mutual adoration and love. I've always known that, but I've rarely acted from that place, and this year is as good a time as any to cut it out.

But I can't just tell myself that at the start of 2017 and expect it to manifest if I don't make it a lifelong intention. I have a few ideas for things I can do this year to turn this life goal into a lifestyle, and of course I'll share them with you. Maybe they'll help you, too. This year I intend to:

  • Be a better friend. I will listen more closely and selflessly to the people I love. I will reach out to them more than I did last year. I will love them the way I want to be loved.
  • Have better friends. I will not tolerate racism, sexism or abuse from anyone I call a friend. I will not enable people to be their worst selves.
  • Do more for the city of Athens. I will use my spare time more wisely and creatively, and I will attract more driven people into my life by being driven myself.
  • Go on more dates. Love and sex blew up in my face this year. I need practice.
  • Go on real dates. Let's just say that me and my homegirl have lots in common.
  • Have less, but better, sex. Quality, people. Not quantity.

What are your intentions? Whatever they are, find the tangible things you can do this year to make them happen.

Need advice? Email, use the anonymous form, or find Bonita on Twitter: @flagpolebonita.