Reverse resolutions

I’m not a fan of the New Year’s resolution phenomenon. I do think it’s got some good or at least non-insidious applications — I’m in favor of periodic reevaluation of whether you like your life and how you might like it better, and I’m in favor of small achievable goals (a friend vowed, for instance, that she would do one pull-up this year, which I think is terrific). And I empathize with the desire to do them right now, not in my case because it’s the first of the year but because I just got off of a pretty long vacation, which made me think about how I spend my time. I have things I’m planning and things I’d like to change — for instance, I want to learn to crochet, and I really ought to blog more, and the gym has been feeling like a chore lately instead of energizing me and I want to find a new type of exercise that I get something out of. Coming back to work has made these thoughts about my daily routine more immediate and important. I get that, and in that sense I approve of resolutions in theory.

But I don’t like how they’re marketed, and in fact I think they’re packaged for failure. Keying them to the beginning of the year, with its clean-slate implications, essentially imparts the sense that this is a chance to shed your sins and diet and exercise your way into purity and virtue. New Year’s resolutions are about abjecting your “former self,” condemning her as someone in need of scourging or salvaging. It’s not about contemplation of your life and your pastimes, but about making a grand statement of conversion — “last year I was bad, but this year I’ll be better.” This generally peters out quickly, like any other grand personal narrative with nothing backing it up, leaving people feeling stuck with the “old self” they now see as a failure (Miss Conduct has more on this).

So as an alternative, let me ask you this, Shapelings: what did you already do in the last year that made you healthier, stronger, happier, better-adjusted? It can be something as big as discovering (or rediscovering) that exercise can be fun, or as small as adjusting your office chair for better support. Tell us what you did in 2008 to make the self with which you enter 2009 who she is today. Did you get fitted for a bra? Start taking vitamins or drinking red wine? Make time for yourself? Learn a new language or skill?

Nothing’s keeping you from continuing to grow in 2009, or even from setting new goals and making new plans at the beginning of the year. But please don’t forget that 2008-you was pretty great too.

161 thoughts on “Reverse resolutions

  1. I started putting all my pictures into albums a few months ago. I have been carting around these pictures for years but never made the time to do anything with them. I still have a long way to go since I work on it sporadically, but I have definitely made progress.

    Something that I will start doing this year (because that’s how the class schedule goes) is take a bellydancing class. I am very excited to have a new outlet for exercise as well as a new way to meet people.

  2. I applied to a competitive creative writing MFA program. I might get in. I might get rejected. Either way, it’s a step toward creating a career path I’d actually like to have. We’ll see in ’09.

  3. I finally saw my doctor about ongoing depression and anxiety that has plagued me since I was pregnant with my daughter three years ago. I started a medication on Dec. 31. I am proud that I finally admitted that internally I was struggling and needed help, even if from the outside I appeared to have it all figured out. :)

  4. I quit dieting, thanks in part to this site. And started buying more clothes for my body now. I also haven’t touched the scale (well, except for once) in months.

  5. I started applying for grad school! My mind has been slowly rotting in industry and I need to get back to good, pure academics for awhile (until I get tired of it and want more brain-rotting work :)

    My “resolution” is deliberately simple this year: I will clean my eyeglasses with a fine cloth, rather than the edge of my t-shirt.

  6. I worked really hard on eliminating negative body talk about myself and others. It was both easier and harder than I thought it would be, but was also incredibly inspiring and helpful. I also worked on including more HAES and fat positive scientific information when teaching my Health Psychology class. That worked out well!

  7. Love this! I just updated my blog post with a link to this. I’ve been thinking so much about the helpfulness v. harmfulness of resolutions.

    I got more involved in community stuff this year. Despite the fact that I’m an alleged expert on organizational and social behavior, my jobs don’t actually require me to leave my house. This is, um, problematic. So I joined the board of a local theater and got more involved in my synagogue.

    Speaking of which, and the topic of this post, I had a sort of epiphany on Yom Kippur this year: namely, that there will also be a Yom Kippur NEXT year. In other words, even though it’s the big day of atonement and slate-wiping, you know perfectly well you’re going to screw up again next year and need to atone and slate-wipe all over again. And that’s okay. That’s the process. Maybe we keep getting a little better each time, or at least we make different mistakes. But failing, saying whoops, trying again: that’s what we do. It’s okay. Always striving, never perfect. This realization was very liberating.

  8. I kicked my emotionally abusive husband out, discovered that I really enjoy the strength training class at the Y, and set up a proper craft area at my new place.

  9. I started buying more clothes I really loved and wearing skirts and dresses on a regular basis instead of just wearing jeans (which is fine but tended to be borne out of a “What’s the point in dressing up when you’re fat?” attitude rather than me really wanting to wear that most days). I also replaced my shapeless old bathing suit from about five years ago with something fun and well-fitting. So small changes, but good ones.

    I did make a resolution this year for the first time in a couple of years, which is to work through the pile of unread books I have at home instead of buying new ones every time the mood strikes me. I’m actually very excited to delve into all the books I’ve accumulated instead of diving immediately into the next shiny thing. :-)

  10. Wow, you all rock.

    I took up the saxophone. After three months I still sound like a cat vs. goose death match in an echoing chasm but it’s GREAT FUN.

  11. Ph-fucking-D. Also bra fitting! And a new job. You know, the small stuff. :-D

    I’ve never felt remotely interested in New Year’s Resolutions, and tend to forget them until people start asking. I sort of see the appeal, but at the same time I’m not sure I quite get it. Maybe I just never bought the whole remake-yourself bit as possible.

    That said, I DO have grand plans of picking up crafts and reading and watching movies and playing music and doing yoga again. But that has a lot more do to with graduating than the new year, they just happened to coincide.

  12. I accepted that I’m genderqueer, got on medication for my depression/anxiety issues, wore my hair the way *I* wanted, and moved in with my folks (actually a good thing, really!).

    This year I hope to become more involved in the LBGT community, take 4 classes to finish my college basics, go hiking more, learn to use PHP, make new friends, and take more pictures of my little one.

    Love this thread!

  13. I got out of credit card debt and began building an emergency reserve fund. I did decide to make some New Year’s resolutions this year, but to shift if from what I want to change about me to what I want to add into my life. My resolution is that I want more light, more beauty, more love and more serenity in my life. I’ve begun by actually listening to more music when I am at home; after 8 years I decided to add some decorative beauty to my office; and I went on an anti-depressant to help address a chronic pain problem. So far I have had the best December in recent memory, and my January is kicking off to be my sanest in at least 5 years. Whoo Hoo!

  14. I want to learn to crochet

    I cannot recommend enough the Teach Yourself Visually books, and if you don’t have the Reader’s Digest Complete Guide to Needlework, get one. (It’s been in print since the 70’s, most used book stores have one floating around.) Also, if you find a 50% off deal, the Boye “I taught myself to crochet” starter pack (the one with the full sized booklet, not the tiny one) is a great investment.

    Last year I started teaching myself Japanese. It’s a work in progress, to say the least.

  15. I crawled out of my cave and traveled! Granted it was only from where I live in Kansas City to Seattle for a weekend but I did it. I had been talking about traveling “one day” for a long time but could not get past the anxiety and finally I decided that my anxiety is not going to rule my life anymore. Well it still does in a lot of ways but that was still a gigantic leap for helping me to overcome that.

    Towards the end of the year, I realized that I’m entirely too passive and let things go all too often. Like, if I’m not happy with a haircut, I won’t speak up and say that I’m not happy with this haircut and ask for it to be fixed. I just leave, unsatisfied and spend the next month trying to figure out how to make it work. I decided that I will stick up for myself more and I have started doing just that. Including the aforementioned hair scenario.

  16. I totally agree! That’s what has always bothered me about a line I hear with some frequency (in Japan) about “throwing away” your yesterday self and becoming your new self whom you actually like. Because if your yesterday self was garbage deserving of being thrown away, and today you started tennis, your today self will be garbage with one tennis-lesson-worth of experience. I don’t like being told that I should condemn my self-up-to-now so thoroughly and then turn around and believe that myself tomorrow will be so totally awesome, because it’s still the same person in many more ways than not.

    What did I do in 2008? I quit my job and went back to school. It is great except that it costs money instead of generating money.

    My new year’s resolution was to hug my cat. I fulfilled it a couple days ago.

  17. I only make one serious resolution per year: to eat at one new restaurant a month, and to make one new recipe a month. It’s the same resolution I’ve made for the past five years or so, and I’m pleased to say that I’ve kept it for the past fives years. Why? Because it’s FUN. Because it stretches my culinary horizons. Because I’ve found some really fantastic new places that way (and some really wretched ones, but they become fantastic new stories to tell at parties, so it’s all good in the long run).

    On the me front, I bought some shiny purple glasses that I think look great. I started working out with weights on a more serious basis, and discovered I like it a lot – I like the results, too. I bought only “A list” clothes and shoes this past year. (“B list” clothes are the ones I used to buy because they were good enough/on sale but I never really loved.) I accomplished quite a bit at my “kind of” job (long story) that I’m very proud of.

    2008 sucked in many areas, but it’s good to look back and realize there were high points, too.

  18. I stopped dieting, started dealing with my compulsive eating issues for real (as opposed to ignoring them through dieting), bought clothes that really fit me, and started on an amazing path of learning self-love. Oh, yeah, and discovered Shapely Prose. :)

  19. I kicked my emotionally abusive husband out

    Go killedbyllamas!!

    I cannot recommend enough the Teach Yourself Visually books, and if you don’t have the Reader’s Digest Complete Guide to Needlework, get one.

    Thanks! I have the crochet book by the Stitch & Bitch folks, and it is a charming book but not without its faults (I found “right to left” substituted for “left to right” in a rather crucial place). I did manage to crochet three passable rows last night, with much hair-pulling, and I think I need a bigger hook.

  20. “I took up the saxophone. After three months I still sound like a cat vs. goose death match in an echoing chasm but it’s GREAT FUN.”

    This makes me giggle because all growing up my mom would tell me that my trumpet practicing sounded like I was in my room trying to murder a moose. (Likely WITH a goose or something).

    Anyways I don’t go in for the whole new slate/erase the “old you” thing but love this reverse resolution thread. Focusing on what happened last year that we LIKED is far more mentally encouraging! :D

    For me I took my first Master’s degree class and aced it. After soooo many years out of school it felt good to know all those academic skills were still there.

    I got a fun part-time job I love and started swimming laps twice a week.

    And at the VERY end of the year I bought (to try out today for the first time) a good bathing suit one-piece that does NOT have a freaking skirt or any sort of “tucking” device installed. Awesome! :)

  21. You mean aside from giving up dieting and moving towards HAES and a little less (ok, hopefully a LOT less) self-hatred?

    Let’s see…I travelled overseas for the first time (2 weeks in Greece, squee!) and I took up photography as a hobby through a new picture-a-day blog that I started in October (which has been going for 70 days straight now!). Not too shabby a year. :)

  22. Well this may be kind of personal/TMI, but what the hell. I went crazy and was put in the hospital for it in February. I had to take a medical leave from school and move home. I think I can say honestly that it was the worst time of my life. Being forced to really deal with my mental health, though, was a good thing, I think. I’ve since transferred schools and I’m feeling much better. I’m still on a lot of medications, but I suppose that’s just my life for right now. The important thing is that I’ve (at least somewhat) been forced to reassess my life (blahblah, sounds like Oprah-talk, I know) and stop pushing myself through things that are unhealthy for me.

    All of that mess has pretty much consumed my life recently, unfortunately, so I don’t have any pithy and witty words of wisdom.

  23. 2008 blew large, steaming chunks for the most part, but I did become a much better knitter, got more compassionate as a result of time spent in a nursing home, and started blogging more regularly. It also taught me to appreciate mobility and being able to walk without pain by taking that away from me.

  24. A very smart man taught me the say-hello game. You can play it with yourself without telling anyone.

    It seems silly, but the goal you set for yourself is to greet as many people as possible (not every random person on the street, just people you know or interact with) by looking them in the eye and saying hello. The catch is that you have to do it FIRST, before they can say hello to you.
    Extra points for doing this with the people that make me insecure or that I fear are looking down on me.

    I don’t know why this is so effective, but I felt like a new and improved person. More confident. Taller. People liked me more. It’s almost like the fantasy of being thin, except more fun and no actual starving myself, so I think everyone should try this first.

  25. Great post!

    2008 was not a good year in so many ways, but I did take some positive steps: I decided to apply to grad school in a new field (and it’s almost deadline time!), I got my doggies who are the sunshine of my life, I got my finances together and was able to save a bit of much needed cash for school, I began volunteering, I started writing a novel, my sister and I improved our relationship, I worked out with my weights more regularly, I finished crocheting something instead of just starting…

    Really, though there was quite a bit of struggle, heartbreak, and the like in 2008, it was the first time in my adult life I didn’t feel like a failure of a person. I won’t say I’ve reached total body acceptance, because that would be a lie, but I finally allowed myself to stop thinking I was worthless just because my jean size isn’t Maxim approved.

  26. This year, I got an A- in one of my classes and did not have a panic attack/consider quitting my master’s program. I consider this exceptional progress.

    My resolution this year is to eat more vegetables, which I love. The only reason I don’t eat all the veggies I want is because they’re more expensive, but I have the money to buy them, so I should.

  27. In 2008 I bought a house, then I survived the first three months after buying a house. :-)

    I spent the last few days of 2008 emptying the last of the boxes out of my office. And then I made some jewelry! Yay!

  28. I finished a book proposal, got an agent who got us a book deal, wrote half a book, published two essays in anthologies, got the Broadsheet gig, and got married with about 8 hours’ notice. That’s more good things than I’ve done in about the last 10 years combined, so I think I’m taking 2009 off.

    (Though I will vow here to do one push-up this year, because I love that idea, despite this not being a thread for resolutions. I would ditto the one pull-up vow, except I honestly think I could manage not to honor that one, since it requires equipment. A push-up, I could do right now. But I shan’t, because then I won’t have a goal for 2009.)

  29. Mia, I am TOTALLY going to make that my new year’s resolution! I fear/dislike a few key people at work, and this sounds like a much better way to deal with it than skulking into my office as I’ve been doing. Thanks so much.

    What I accomplished this year: got rid of a toxic ex who was sapping my emotional energy, moved to my own place after always having roommates, bought a new computer (after 6 years on the old one!) and, after long years of failure, figured out how to use liquid eyeliner. On New Year’s Eve, so not a moment too soon to qualify for this great meme : )

  30. In 2008 steeled myself and went to physical therapy for the knee/leg problems that made walking & driving difficult. I have continued to do the strength training and walking – and walking? Doesn’t. Hurt. Anymore.

    I also started a fat blog about living with a 400lb body, largely inspired by Shapely Prose and Fatshionista :)

  31. I would ditto the one pull-up vow

    I fuckin’ wouldn’t, I’ve got at least 100 lbs on the friend who made the vow. I will happily pull her up, but pulling me up takes massive guns.

  32. Totally awesome thread.

    Kudos to everyone for making changes, big and small.

    I brought my business back from the brink of total financial ruination! Whew.

    I took up Bikram Yoga in November 2008 – -and am LOVING it.

    I saw my kickass Buddhist therapist to address some issues I was experiencing in my marriage and have seen very tanglible and positive results! Not that I am attached to said results, of course.

    Keep ‘em coming!

  33. I flew alone for the first time.

    I bought a dress that is pretty, fits me, is comfortable and then I wore it lots.

    I rode my bike lots.

    I bought an mp3 player with enough space for lots of my favorite music *and* enough space for a whole audiobook, and have used it lots. Also, it has a clock. This means I want it with me always, and thus have a harder time missing the bus.

    I discovered the Getting Things Done system, looked at a lot of it and decided it wasn’t useful. Then I took the useful bits and made myself a little paperback notebook that fits in my purse and goes everywhere with me for the useful parts. Turns out the useful parts are *very* useful, and I’m now able to look at my notes for things like books I wanted from the library and I always have the grocery list with me. Still need to put my fitting measurements in it, so I have an easier time buying yarn for a whole sweater or fabric for clothes.

    And I’ve already had a success for this year. I found two pairs of shoes that fit well, are pretty and should be comfortable for long stretches of walking. I bought one pair and am wearing them right now.

  34. 2008 was kind of putrid on many levels, but now that there’s some distance between me and the year, I see some good things.

    I started my own FA blog and I’m pretty pleased with how it’s gone, and others seem to get some goodness from it, so that pleases me.

    I traveled to New Zealand to see about a fellow – that bit didn’t go all that well, but I went to New friggin’ ZEALAND, a place that I said “eh, maybe one day”. I may have had my ass kicked (yet again) when it came to giving my heart to someone, but I went to New Zealand, one of the most beautiful places ever. And had plenty of LOTR nerding moments. At least when I left, my leaving made that fellow cry. That’s some mighty power right there.

  35. I completed my MA, moved across the country to a new city all by myself, and completed NaNoWriMo, which gave me the kick in the butt I needed to start writing fiction again AND introduced me to a bunch of great people in my new city.

  36. In 2008:
    1. I became a vegetarian, a goal that took 12 years to achieve (much of that because I lived at home with veg-intolerant people).
    2. I made a conscious effort to quit hating my body
    3. I completely my M.A., got a job, and got a raise at said job

    2008 was a pretty good year for me.

    My goal for 2009 is to learn sign language. It just seems fun.

  37. I completed my MA, moved across the country to a new city all by myself, and completed NaNoWriMo, which gave me the kick in the butt I needed to start writing fiction again AND introduced me to a bunch of great people in my new city.

    Diana, are you sure you’re not impersonating me? Because I also finished my M.A., moved to a new city for my job, and made new friends as a result of NaNo. You must be my NY political scientists doppelganger.

  38. I bought a house, was in a play, made some new friends, got to LVL 70 and I voted.

    I think this year I have already started my Quarter Life Crisis. So, that’s gonna be fun fun fun. I’m hoping to make some kind of motion that will further my career, find my boyfriend a job, and either start running or doing Tai Chi.

  39. I went to an island in the tropics for vacation. While there I took care of myself the way I want to do every day. I left work and the mess in my apartment behind. I exercised every day because that’s what I wanted to do. I ate interesting meals when I was hungry for them. I got a massage. I drank a little. I danced. I read and knit a lot.

    I brought some of that home with me, and when work calms down after inauguration, I’m going to bring more of it into my life. These things are easy to do at an all-inclusive resort, but involve more time, planning, and effort when I have to do it all for myself and go to my day job, too.

  40. -I cut back credit card spending and now 99% use cash for purchases.

    -I finally got health insurance, even if it’s the one for people “at risk,” (i.e. gross ol’ fatties and anyone else traditional insurance thinks is too diseased to actually benefit from their coverage, like diabetics, smokers, and practically anyone with some type of medical condition).

    -I know that being the dreaded 300 lbs does not automatically mean “keel over and die” and “confined to your bed for life” despite what the Discovery Health Channel and various asshats around the globe think.

  41. Oh yeah, voted! I did that, too!

    voluptuous robot, I love bikram, and now that I have an income I’m really hoping to do it again. Yoga isn’t cheap!

    philosopherkrista, are you saying that it’s possible to go a WHOLE YEAR in grad school without almost quitting?? Okay, you beat my 7.5 years of school right there, hands down.

  42. I started seeing a nutritional therapist who has solidly put my feet on intuitive eating, and who has already helped me tremendously with seeing where some of my food issues come from. Because of this, I’ve started eating a more varied diet.

  43. I went back to school to finish my bachelor’s degree. This is a big, big deal for me. I have two years left and I’m already plotting grad school.

  44. I found shoes that let me be moderately active again a year and a half post-back-injury.

    I discovered FA! And I started not one, but two blogs (bald-soprano.blogspot.com and haes-gyms.blogspot.com)

    I totally reorganized my MA thesis so that it has one single argument.

    I started my first translation for someone else from German to English (still need to go back and polish it…)

    I discovered that I can read French. (seriously, I’ve never studied it)

    I got myself to go outside on my own just a few days after a possible-stalker-incident. Twice. (same scary guy following me around the grocery store)

    To anyone who’s taking up crochet: I swear by Crocheting in Plain English for learning how to do stitches and read patterns.

  45. I like this!!

    I moved to a bigger apartment IN town (my last place was about 2/3 this size, and was 9 miles out of town), I started drinking wine on occasion instead of always drinking hard liquor, and I transferred to a different department at work that’s a lot lower key.

  46. 2008 was a pretty sucky year for me. I had my thyroid removed, had to terminate an unplanned and extremely inopportune pregnancy, and spent a good chunk of the year mopey and depressed, doing my best hermit on the mountain impression I could do, given that I live in Michigan, where there are no mountains.

    Then again, I like Resolutions, but I tend to take a different tack with them. My resolutions this year were:
    * To be more proactive in my career
    * To be more interested in my own life
    * To be more communicative with my friends.

    I like to think of resolutions as broad statements that can lead to multiple, more specific goals, and then on to projects and tasks. They are postive statements that serve as launch pads for positive changes and aspirations.

    Statements like “I’m going to lose 50 pounds” or “This is the year I visit Korea” are a bit… Foolish? Not well thought out? Any number of things (like, oh, reality?) can stop these statements from ever coming true, and making the whole goal time limited without having a real grasp of the time needed for individual steps and projects to be completed is asking to fail.

    I realize I’m sounding like an annoying self help guru. The point is that sometimes the previous year sucked so hard that resolutions are the only hope a girl has ;)

  47. I survived last year. It was the best thing I could’ve done. My dad committed suicide in April. I survived to tell the tale. I’m still grieving, obviously. But by god I proved to myself that I was a fighter.

  48. Awesome thread. And there are some very impressive accomplishments above me. Yay, everyone!

    Two accomplishments for the year: 1) I’m a PhD candidate! (completed my candidacy exam in December, without driving my husband completely crazy) and 2) I started and completed the couch-to-5K program. I can run 5-freaking-kilometers, even with my asthmatic lungs. Go me!

  49. I got a slightly better job, which let me move from a town I hated to a city that I love.

    I reconnected with friends and met more friends through them.

    I introduced a friend to someone who then hired him into his dream job (major karma points earned!)

    I bought a charming little money pit of a townhouse.

    I survived the aftermath of a major hurricane with whatever degree of grace any of us could muster at the time. But definitely with a lot of dark humor, my favorite flavor.

    I converted from lipstick to lipgloss.

  50. And Rebecca, you have my sympathies as well. Sometimes survival is the best any of us can do, and good for you.

  51. After a blurry lifetime of coke-bottle lenses, I got my eyes lasered. Easily the GREATEST thing I’ve ever done!
    I finally got to vote for a candidate I where I didn’t have to hold my nose and force myself to go for the least awful alternative. AND, he won.
    I started with 2 push ups, because I always have been dis-satisfied with my upper body strength, and it took a long time, but now I can do 30. It makes downward dog and inversions easier and I feel more powerful (v. goofy, I know).
    My mom had really stopped changing and pushing herself at all by the time she was my age (unless circumstances forced her), and now I know for sure that it doesn’t have to be that way.

  52. The years just keep getting better…not that there aren’t sucky parts, but overall they are so much more enjoyable than the teenager/young adult that I was ever thought they could be. In 2008:

    I got a job offer, accepted it, wrote my dissertation, got married, bought a house, and moved to my new job all in about 4 months. I also learned to crochet around Thanksgiving, and made 12 scarves by Christmas for family and friends. I also learned what a snow rake is and how to use it :)

    This weekend I learn how to ski!

  53. Got back in touch with my spirituality.

    Started my blog.

    Got back into feminism.

    Tried out for JET program and grad school.

    Found academic focus.

    Gained much in self-esteem.

    Promoted sparkleshine unicorns to the masses.

    REJOICE!

  54. Oh, monkeysee.com has great crocheting tutorials. I can’t really figure stuff out very well from books alone, but the tutorials really helped.

  55. Last year I started to do a few pilates style exercises in the morning – before I even get out of bed! I want to journal a bit and write down some goals for myself, but I refuse to do it in a “resolution-y” way. I don’t want any false expectations of perfection to completely derail me.

  56. I vowed at the start of 2008 that I was going to be nice to myself. I revowed to just not be my own worst enemy this year, because 2008 was a pretty good success.

    In 2008, I:
    Got a new job — had more than one offer, and had people actually disappointed when I turned them down. Love the new job.
    Moved across the country.
    Started a whole new phase of my life.
    Took a Chinese (language) class.
    Got to know all my neighbors.
    Started making travel plans — and in 2009, I’m going to Tennessee, China, and to my 10 year college reunion.
    Joined a gym and so far like it.
    Went to a dermatologist for the acne.

    It was a good year.

  57. I completed my first semester of library school, and only wanted to quit every time I had a large assignment due.

    I made peace with the fact that my boss and I are from different planets and will never ever get along.

    I hosted several awesome parties which were attended by my awesome friends, and they all seemed to have a good time, which makes me very very happy.

    I made an appointment to talk to a specialist about my ADD, because trying harder just wasn’t cutting it anymore.

  58. I learned how to make lampwork glass beads (playing with molten glass is fun!), I took up jewellery making and sold a fair bit of what I made, I got involved in historical reenactment and spent a few weekends pretending to be a viking, I was offered 2 jobs and said yes to both and I inherited a dog from friends who had to leave Australia and go back to Germany.

    2008 was a pretty good year for me and I’m looking forward to 2009.

  59. Can I just add that reading about how many of you found new jobs in the past year is filling me with ridiculous, soaring hope? I’ve started searching for a new job (because the “kind of” job I mentioned earlier just doesn’t cut it) and all the news about jobs and the economy has been bleak, bleak, bleak.

    But as I suspected, people ARE finding jobs, they ARE out there, and it’s not the number of openings, it’s being the right match. You guys are awesome.

  60. I finally got the back surgery I desperately needed even though my surgeon is a dick and the first words out of his mouth to my mother and husband when the surgery was over were “She really needs to loose weight.”

    I survived Hurricane Ike, which hit the DAY after my release from the hospital from said surgery, so the beginning of my recovery started in my mom’s house without power for 10 days and having to go to the grocery store every day for supplies.

    I also am continuing to learn the best and worst things you can do for a child with Autism. It’s not an easy task, but one as a mother that I will gladly take upon my shoulders.

  61. i got back into a routine of regular exercise and yoga for the first time since i had a baby. in may i completed my first triathlon!

  62. I got glasses that are cute and flattering, because my goal is no longer to appear invisible. I gave up dieting and weighing myself, and by doing so, found myself enjoying exercise more than I did before. I got exempted from our shitty thesis proposal-writing class (and thus will likely finish my proposal this semester).

  63. *sends hugs and chocolate to all the other Shapelings who had a craptastic 2008*

    It did seem to suck brass donkey balls for a lot of people, eh?

    Let’s see, what good things happened last year:

    1) I bought a new bed. It’s huge, white, 4 poster (not with the canopy though). Along with a new mattress and box spring. Now I need a larger bedroom so I can put my bedroom set all in one room.

    b) New-to-me car! After I kicked the ass of a salesman who tried to sell me a lemon of a Nissan Sentra (sweet car, it just needed several thousand $$ work) I bought a used Corolla. Safe, fuel-efficient and pretty blue!

    iii) Found Shapely Prose! ;) And Adipositivity and all the other fantastic FA sites out there on the web that I now read, all of which have helped me make more progress in 7 months than I had in the previous 7 years of feeling an unfocused sense that “something here ain’t right” with the culture and the OMG OBESITY EPIDEMIC, etc.

    And of course, for the flaming liberals like me, there’s those three little words: President-elect Obama. *g*

    In 2009 I want to practice my knitting more so I can make something other than scarves and blankets, try my hand at making bread occasionally, and I’m going to a workshop on stained glass in February. I couldn’t go last fall due to the surgery, but dammit, I will not be deterred!

    And as always, hope to win the lottery. :)

    DRST

  64. Rebecca, you got through the year, and that’s what counts. I’m a survivor of parental suicide as well, and I know how hard that is. Hugs to you if you want them, and contact info is on my blog if you ever feel like you need an e-penpal.

  65. I got REALLY into yoga, and even though I’ve fallen out of the habit after a busy holiday, the foundation from all that work remains and my lower back issues are suddenly extremely manageable.

    I also started getting daily exercise since we fostered (then adopted) a beautiful greyhound.

    I got through my first official ‘snow-in’.

    I moved from the UK to the US (unexpectedly).

    I started taking ASL classes, and love them!

    I got married and moved cross-country.

    I finally made an appointment to see a therapist.

  66. I got a cat after decades without one. Actually, I agreed to take him from my friend (who has four, two of whom fight constantly one of which is mine now!) around Christmas and actually brought him home last Sunday.

    He’s still kind of freaked out and hasn’t left the bedroom yet, but will come out of hiding for lots of rough head rubs.

    I’m falling in love!!

  67. Karen at 11:37, check the Shapely Prose community site! We’re planning a Houston meetup, maybe for Valentines weekend!

  68. I got a new job. I started studying for a maths degree while still working full time (not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing!).

    I aced my first maths class with 97%, decided to take on 2 units in the next semester, and then had a complete breakdown after the calculus exam and considered giving up (yes, I do this too! so nice to know I’m not the only one!). Turns out I didn’t do too bad in second semester either, 80% and 88%, which is ok but not that great for me! My goal is to graduate with a 90% average.

    I went to counselling for the first time, twice! Once for marriage issues which seem to be working out pretty well now, once to overcome a needle-phobia. I had my first needle in about 14 years! (Ok that’s kind of lame but it’s a big deal for me!)

    I bought new bathers for the first time in 5 years ($300 eeep!) and went to Indonesia for a week for my 5th (omg) wedding anniversary (in the bathers!). It rocked.

  69. Oh, and I took up yoga! And quit weighing myself twice a day (it took the overseas holiday to break this habit, since there was no scale there!).

  70. Fillyjonk! Re: pull-up, improbability thereof,

    You might surprise yourself! Pull-ups are part of my own personal fitness goals, even though I’m about 100 pounds heavier than one might think someone who is able to do a pull-up “should” be.

    What I’ve found is that it’s pretty much like most other physical things – consistent practice leads to gradual improvement.

    And also, it’s interesting – even though my arm strength has really improved over the course of a year, to the point where I barely need any spotting at all to do a pull up, my arms have not gotten any bigger. I still look the same.

    Not that anyone needs to do a pull-up to be a complete person! But it does kind of make me feel like a badass to have gotten to the point that I can almost do one.

    And thank you for this post. It makes me happy to read the comments! The best things I did in 2008: finished and performed a full-length solo show, got married to a beautiful human being, and got rid of some chronic pain.

  71. I had a good year in 2008 . . . I got married! Although there was job-related drama and other less savories, I’ll always remember it because of that. Duh.

    What I will be changing in 2009: well, I’m 99% done with my law school applications (yes, I know they’re hideously late, but my last recommendation letter came in, oh, Dec. 28th) . . . so we’ll be moving (even if I end up at my safety school across town).

    My official resolution was to have more sex. :)

  72. What a great post! I made several positive changes in 2008: I changed careers from one I hated to one I love; I bought a great little place of my own; I did a lot of volunteer work; I reconnected with tons of old friends.

    Nevertheless, I’ve been seeing 2008 as a failure because I didn’t do the ONE THING that’s supposedly the be-all and end-all of my life and a measure of my worth. No, not weight loss, but finding a significant other (which must happen OMG NOW because I’m about to hit the age, in the words of one particularly helpful soul, where I’m more likely to get killed in a helicopter crash than ever get married). I didn’t realize how much I’d bought into this crap until I realized I’d been moping about how I missed my chance…and I didn’t think critically about what a pile of complete BS this was until I read this post! So thanks, Shapely Prose!

  73. I taught myself crochet a couple of years ago using Crocheting for Dummies, because I liked their left-handed illustrations. Make sure, FJ, that if you are using S&B that you either have an updated and corrected edition, or that you’ve downloaded the errata that S&B has on their site. Their patterns were discovered to have some glitches here and there after the book went to press.

    Last year, what did I do? I wrote 40 pages of a book and a proposal, and my main goal for this year is to stop being such a wuss and market them for real.

    But the big thing, the most pivotal thing that happened to me last year was that I discovered neurodiversity (which is very much like fat acceptance in terms of how it’s misunderstood by much of the public) and found out that about 95% of my self-induced difficulties were due to the fact that I constantly compared myself unfairly with neurotypical people. Because I was diagnosed so late, and in fact the Asperger’s diagnosis didn’t even exist until I was nearly 30, I had spent too many years clobbering myself for not being able to do things easily that I thought I “should” be able to do given my intelligence, and for people not liking and accepting me better (in situations where it had nothing to do with fat).

    I subsequently wound up back on antidepressants because I went into a horrible depression knowing that I would never become the person I had envisioned being, and now I catch myself in the act of doing the unfair-comparison thing. I even put a sign up next to my computer saying, “You need to let yourself off the hook for not being neurotypical. YOU NEED TO DO THIS RIGHT NOW.”

    I still wish that one of the therapists or psychiatrists I saw in the 15 years before my current therapist who diagnosed me had noticed this in me before now, so I wouldn’t have wasted so much time on useless and stupid self-flagellation over something I couldn’t do a damn thing about. But that’s one of the potential dangers of being able to “pass” — people are less likely to think you need the help. And better I should know late than not at all, which is how it went down for my must-have-been-aspie grandfather.

  74. In 2008, I got married and started my masters degree! I organized a community outreach program that serviced 27 different families with various construction-type projects. I got my hair cut short (I was afraid to because I thought it would make my face look fat, but actually it makes my face look rockin’) and I got two kittens, despite being a dog person, and learned to love them. Oh, and I started yoga and learned that exercise doesn’t have to be about hating your body, but loving it.

    For 2009: I want to plant a garden and learn to kayak. I’ve got 12 months to get that done, so I’m feelin’ optimistic!

  75. Nevertheless, I’ve been seeing 2008 as a failure because I didn’t do the ONE THING that’s supposedly the be-all and end-all of my life and a measure of my worth. No, not weight loss, but finding a significant other

    I feel you on that, AnotherKate. I think the Fantasy of Being in a Relationship has replaced a lot of the Fantasy of Being Thing for me these days, which I’m not happy about.

  76. I earned my bachelor’s in English.

    I started taking Lexapro, which has been life-changing for me.

    I reconnected with my family and friends.

    I started working again.

    I got married.

  77. AnotherKate:

    I read a book that blew apart the math on that study, I’m not 100% sure but I think it was Marriage Shock by Dalma Heyn.
    Either way, it’s a good book. Good luck.

  78. LilahMorgan, WORD. I’m not fat, but I’ve always had that “my life will begin if and only if” thing about finding “the one.” I hadn’t thought about it as FOBT, but it’s really the same kind of thing…

    Bellacoker, I think I remember someone talking about that study being a crock on an 80s TV show! Designing Women, perhaps. But alas, crap like that NEVER goes away.

  79. Dude I would LOVE to be able to do a pull-up. I remember when I finally got over the wall at Outdoor Ed in 8th (?) grade after failing and being utterly humiliated in 5th grade (think this but with 11-year-olds). I feel like doing a pull-up would be the same deal. Thanks for the encouragement, jessica!

    (Kind of hilariously, my day so far has involved a lot of planning of new exercise programs with some of my girl friends… we don’t see each other enough and we’re all looking for new interesting pastimes, so we’re plotting pool visits and a bad workout video club. Sounds like what a lot of people are probably doing this week… but without the filigree of “because we’re bad, flabby people” hanging over it.)

    Rebecca, I’m so sorry to hear about your loss… I can’t begin to imagine what this year has been like for you. I hope you’re giving yourself all the credit you deserve for managing to get through it so far.

  80. Oooh fillyjonk, if you’re looking for new exercise to do with girlfriends, you should totally look at pole dancing! If there’s somewhere near you that does it of course.

    A couple of years ago all the girls from my work decided to go to classes together, and it was so much fun. Hard work too! Very entertaining, and it really does make you feel sexy!

  81. There were several struggles for me in 2008.

    But, my accomplishments were:

    I finally came to understand that I am not a failure or loser for quitting a grad program that was not the right choice for me.

    Volunteering several months with a wildlife rescue group so that I learned how to care for a variety of baby animals. (Trying to stay positive on this since I can’t do this anymore due to a disability.)

    The latter experience really helped me to raise a kitten from birth over the summer. She’s now 6months old with a beautiful coat and has been running around my apartment all crazy-like.

    I volunteered with another organization that means so much to me and met people with whom I’ve really connected. I made a meaningful contribution in fundraising and other areas.

    I became more comfortable in social situations. I didn’t reject all invitations (just 2 I can think of).

    My relationship with my husband gets better and better, and I think we became especially strong and close in 2008. I made a conscious effort to be more kind and supportive.

    I was able to completely and truly forgive some people of past transgressions.

    For a second year, after discovering Shapely Prose and some other sites about feminism, I did not hate myself for every second of every day. Best of all, I was able to eat intuitively and without guilt over every morsel of food.

  82. Firstly, congratulations to killedbyllamas for her newfound freedom, and earlgreyrooibos for joining the herbivores.

    My toxic partner got the boot last year, after I finally found a job (TropicalChrome, they do exist! It’s not easy, but god jobs are out there, waiting for you!) and gained a gram of self-esteem. There’s nothing quite like financial independence to introduce you to reality.

    I don’t do the resolution thing. Never even considered it. But I woke up on the 1st of January knowing I was going vegan. So far it’s been dead easy, though I’m not looking forward to doing the cheese bit. Anyone know of any good fake cheese?

  83. Unless the priesthood is now paying priests in an unlimited supply of ice-cream, I mean “good” jobs, not “god” jobs.

  84. Ohhh, the bra fitting. Yes, I did that! It helped, it really did. And it only takes about 3 seconds, so the next time you’re in the lingerie section, do it!

    I also admitted to myself that I’m really unhappy in my current job, moved out of a town I hated (but kept the unhappy job), started practising HAES, bought clothes without feeling guilty about the size I needed, and got engaged even though I was very fearful about money.

    It’s so great to read all the things you all have been doing for yourselves. It’s so easy to forget that even the smallest thing can make a big difference in your happiness and well-being.

  85. Anyone know of any good fake cheese?

    Well, no, but I do have a friend with a killer (vegan) cheese dip recipe that uses beans of some sort. If you’re interested, I can get it from her. Send me an email at avengangle AT yahoo DOT com, if so. Or if anyone else is, really.

  86. I did all kinds of great things to get my finances in shape. I adopted new positive behaviors and really have been more on top of my bills and expenses than ever. I’d like to take it to the next level and put a few more new strategies in place. They seem like such small steps until I look back at where I was when the year started and then I’m impressed I’ve come so far.

    So I would really be in a mess if I simply wiped out what I did last year. It all counts in the overall journey. Even the disasters.

  87. Another Kate and Lilah Morgan –

    Boy, do I hear you on the Fantasy of Being in a Relationship thing. In a way, it’s a little different than the BoBT, because looking for a partner isn’t inherently destructive the way dieting is. It can make tricky – it’s counter intuitive sometimes to both date and tell yourself it’s ok to be single.

    In my personal case, I try to reality check by asking how many people’s *actual* not ideal relationships I’d want for myself.

    And, this is just me of course, but one of my big accomplishments in 2008 was beginning to seriously think about the option of becoming a single parent by choice. I still don’t know if it will be my path, but it’s given me new possible futures to think about and made dating more fun. And I’m making the more sex resolution also.

    Also, what someone else said- that terrorist vs. getting married thing was bullshit.

  88. Fillyjonk, they made you guys climb over a wall? That’s awesome and scary and hardcore. I would have fainted if someone had suggested that to a 12 year old version of myself. The flexed arm hang was about as harcore as our P.E. teacher got.

    Which brings me to my next point: pull-up training tips!

    One good (read: safe and not embarrassing) way to start is with a flexed arm hang. I would go to my local playground and find a bar that was about shoulder height. I would put my hands on the bar, so I was already in a flexed-arm-hang position, and pick my feet off the ground. At first, I could only hold myself for less than a second. I did that a couple of times a week, and after some months, I could hold a flexed arm hang for much longer.

    I would also practice just hanging from a bar, to increase my hand strength. It was the same thing – at the beginning, I could hang for like five seconds, and then my hands gave out. Also, it’s good to practice hanging while pulling your shoulder blades down your back, instead of having your shoulders all shrugged up around your neck. Having them down your back tends to protect your shoulders from injury.

    Right, so the next thing I did was practice lowering myself (starting from a flexed arm hang, and ending up hanging with straight arms) as slowly as possible.

    After that, I began to start from a hang, and then lift myself up, with a friend spotting me. There are a lot of ways to be spotted, but it basically means that a friend takes some of your weight, or gives you a little push up, when you’re at your hardest part.

    I found that all of this was way more fun with a friend.

    Woah. I just wrote a lot. Maybe I’ve turned into a proselytizer!

  89. Thanks for doing this!

    I didn’t make a resolution this year because I agree that I don’t need a whole new me for 2009 but rather I would like to just keep on my path of self-acceptance and love and to continue to enjoy the new life I have built for myself after graduating from college last year. This blog has helped me grow so much over the past year and I just want to continue on that path.

    Thank you to everyone for sharing.

  90. randomquorum, there actually is a pole dance/striptease workout place not far away… I’d prefer to do burlesque, personally, but both are really expensive and we’re looking for cheap stuff (esp. since I spend so much on belly dance already). Good suggestion, though! I’m really psyched about Bad Workout Video Club… I want sweatbands and leotards and legwarmers. And Richard Simmons, who I love. (Well, maybe not Richard Simmons himself, but I genuinely love the videos.)

    Jessica, yeah, it wasn’t regular gym, but a separate outdoor ed program… no idea how they swung this in a public school, but I felt like we were there for like a week (?!) hiking and sleeping in cabins and doing orienteering. There was a whole obstacle course and it fucking sucked. I’m sure it was supposed to be all achievement-oriented but it completely cemented my belief that not only was I completely physically incapable, but I was the only one who was.

  91. I hear you on the expense side of poledancing! The place I went to runs like 6 week courses, and if you’ve already done the course once (expensive!) they only charge you half price to repeat it after that (less expensive!). Which is good, but I’ve still had to stop for a while, since hubby got laid off. Plus I was up to the “extreme” level and they only run that on a Sunday morning… not my favourite day to do something like that!

    I’ve a friend who went to burlesque classes for a while and loved it. Unfortunately I only know of one place here that does it and its about 40-50 minutes from my house, so yeah, not gonna happen!

  92. Buying clothes that fit the body I had had instead of denying myself pretty things because my body was unworthy. Y’all here had TONS to do with that one, so thank you. And starting yoga. The former made me feel better about my body; the latter made my body feel better.

  93. Took up swimming and general frolic in bathing suit.

    Dance class

    Decided to leave my well-paid job for a year studying art

    Realised it was alright to not follow religion I was raised with and that I am not goint to hell for the plethora of things my parents things I am doing wrong. My parents on the other hand haven’t accepted it.

    Started having sex again and generally feeling good about myself.

    With the help of therapy have had many days of truly effortless intuitive eating.

    2009 is gonna be bumpin’, ladies! Watch out!

  94. My goal for this year was to begin to think about doing more exercise, which I believe I completed just by writing it down.

    There is a foil fencing class at the local community center that looks fun, but it is bringing up some feelings of social anxiety and making me think: Am I too fat to fence?!! Bleh. Doing a pull-up this year in the goal that I set on my birthday, I’m working on the 100 push-up challenge (slowly) as a baby-step in that direction.

  95. I also applied to an MFA program, Stephanie! I am trying to be pragmatic about it.
    2008 wasn’t a very good year for me either, Sweet Machine. But it did straighten my priorities out.

  96. I second Emma’s recommendation of Ravelry for your crochet ambitions – though I’m a knitter, the site is infinitely helpful (and addictive) for either craft.

    My favorite reverse resolution of 2008 is how I actually got my ass out of the house and made some friends. Ravelry was helpful in getting in touch with other crafters in the area, but mainly it was stubborness (and a good back-up escape plan) that got me out there every time. My life is so much better for it.

  97. I left this tab open and refreshed it idly – only to find some lovely comments from you lot :) Thank you so much. Suicide sucks, is about the best I can say. The full story, or as much as I’ve let into the interwebs, is on my blog. I am giving myself LOTS of credit. I lost my job as well last year. But I survived. It takes a lot more than that to make me give up.

    (Although, if this year could be less sucky I’d be grateful, you know?)

  98. 2008: This and other FA blogs inspired me to –

    Stop hating myself
    Eat healthier and stop dieting
    Move around more often
    Bought myself a gift: my favorite perfume, which I never ever do.
    Buy cute clothes *now*. Not when I’ve reached that “perfect” size.

    2009:

    Goals:

    Continue to eat healthy and explore new foods

    Explore belly dancing ( total newbie here) I love to watch “shimmy” and wish I could do all of that!

    Continue to eat healthier

    Grow my hair out. I’m 40, and hair dressers tell me that I should cut my hair so I won’t look older. I want long hair so I’m going to grow it anyway.

    I want to get involved in some volunteer work.

    I want to have friends again, and stop being so reclusive.

  99. I learned to knit. I travelled to Thailand and Taiwan by myself (and survived two cases of food poisoning…) I learned how to order a cup of coffee in Cantonese. I completed NaNo. I learned how to make yellow curry.

    I do have some New Year’s Resolutions. I want to teach myself stranded knitting and continue being awesome. Both are extremely doable goals.

  100. Fj, if it made you feel bad, they weren’t doing it right. I ran outdoor programs, and the point of the wall is team building – your group is supposed to help everyone over. We let the people who are really into getting over it themselves go up first to grab the hands of the people below (who get lifted by the folks on the ground). But I guess if it made you feel good in 8th grade, it all worked out.

    Jeez. It boggles the mind, how some people turn fun, empowering activities into boot camp.

  101. Picked up crocheting AND knitting, got totally obsessed, am now cheerfully planning to turn into an old yarn lady with lots of cats. (Not sure what will do with current partner, child, and dog, but I’ll think of something). LOVE Ravelry (so many free, searchable, patterns!, So much good advice!) Am working up the nerve in 2009 to go to a local knit/crochet group, for company and advice. Purling is hard.

    My big advice to those starting crocheting (or knitting) is to start small. If you start with an afghan, you’ll be working a long, long time before you finish anything, which is depressing for beginners. Start with a scarf, or better, a potholder. I love making potholders.

    Or, if you like the cute stuffed animals (for yourself or others), I can’t recommend amigurumi enough — little Japanese-style crocheted stuffed animals. There are several good amigurumi books on Amazon (and they usually include basic crochet instructions too). My first little elephant took 6-8 hrs, I think — very satisfying to start a project and finish it within a week!

  102. I have learned to shop like a hunter instead of a gatherer, which has really made my wardrobe amazing. I guess that may be more than a year, but that’s always my problem with these year-end things; I’m vague on where the boundary is.

    The point is, I used to go the the store and look around and bring home something pretty. Which sometimes I still do. Last night, for instance. But now I’ll often look at my wardrobe with a critical eye and say “need gray cardigan” and go to the store and find a gray cardigan. I feel so much more satisfied by my appearance now!

    I also learned some neat eye makeup tricks. I can do a smokey eye now, and I switched to using eyeshadow as a liner (powder smears less), and I have experimented with colors more. I learned to use makeup brushes.

    And Basket of Kisses has not only taken off, it’s pushed me to grow. We started it in October of 2007 but 2008 has been amazing. We’ve done celeb interviews and I have learned I can call a theater and ask for press passes, which lemme tell you, makes me feel like a ROCK STAR!

  103. Happy New Year to all!

    I left my soul-sucking job after years of being miserable (the money is what kept me there) and totally switched career paths. Now I am employed at a non-profit that works to reduce the suffering of animals at the hands of humans and I feel good about what I do to earn a living.

    I also would like to add that thanks to Shapely Prose, this is the first year in as long as I can remember that I have not made some kind of diet or weight oriented resolution-and it feels great!!!!

  104. This is a wonderful question! Happy New Year, everyone.

    I went off BC pills this year and finally found my way out of the depression that had been a side effect for two years. The difference is amazing and immediate to everyone who’s known me for a few years. I feel awesome. And because I’m happy again, I am more confident in my body and just who I am in general, and I’ve made a lot of new friends in the past few months. It was a good year.

  105. Thanks for the nice comments, y’all. It was far too long coming, really.

    Also, bellacoker, you are definitely not too fat to fence! I briefly fenced in college, and some of the very best people on the team, as well as both of the instructors, were fat.

  106. Also, bellacoker, you are definitely not too fat to fence!

    To be fair, it can be tough to get gear in larger sizes (chest bigger than 48″ or so). And if you’re taking a beginner class where they provide you with gear, there’s often only one large-size jacket and it might not be big enough. That can be embarrassing if you haven’t steeled yourself, though a good teacher of course will be more embarrassed than you are for failing to provide a comfortable environment. On the other hand, I was far from the fattest person in my conference in college, and the fattest one probably wore at least a 24. Sure, you have more target area, but you can make up for that with good game and a strong parry, even if you’re not fast (I’m not particularly fast). (Note: strong parry won’t help you much in foil, to be sure, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.)

    Christ I miss fencing.

  107. Adjusting the chair is not necessarily a small thing. It can be life changing. Back in September I requested an ergonomic assessment of my work area, the expert came, measured various things, observed me sitting in the chair — and then she moved the seat back about two inches. Instant backache cure, no more muscle spasms, goodbye muscle relaxants, pain pills, and referrals for physical therapy.

  108. Fillyjonk, since you fenced too, I have to (off-topic) rant a bit…I seriously loved fencing, until, since our college club teams were open to residents of the community too, they let a freaking 8 year old who wanted to be Luke Skywalker join. And since I was the shortest beginner, the instructors literally always made me bout with him. Basically, I stood there, poked him three times while he flailed at me, and it was over. After several weeks of this, I quit. Bastards. (I should have spoken to the instructors, but I was a college freshman with no backbone.)

  109. To steal the words of a taxidermy-critiquing friend, 2008 “blew carrion chunks.” (Context, don’t ask for it.)

    I bought a house. With money. And I’m still painting/fixing it up, and it looks amazing, but it’s eaten my life.

    Also, I hand-raised three week-old baby kittens a friend rescued and brought to me. The levels of cute were absolutely off the scale.

    Other than that, I’ve done nothing of which I am proud. Unless one is allowed to be proud of oneself for not committing homicide.

  110. killedbyllamas, I was probably 9 or 10 when I started so I have to sympathize with Luke Skywalker kid… not everywhere has children’s fencing classes, and actually kids can gain a lot from fencing with adults (as I’m sure you know, you have to compensate for your lack of reach, which is an interesting challenge). Bullshit that they always made you bout with him, though — they wouldn’t pick one vet who always had to fence with the newbies, because she’d never get a chance to actually improve, and an 8-year-old is like the ultimate newbie. They shoulda spread that around. And honestly, if there’d been children in my college club I’d’ve probably thrown a fit (even though that’s silly because it’s the one place in your life you can fence for FREE… still, one wants one’s college club to be a little more serious and competition-focused).

  111. We had to pay extra for club sports, actually, so that was one reason I got so pissed! Turns out that there is and was a fencing club not too far away from the college that offers kids’ classes too. I really hope his parent eventually found that, as he certainly wasn’t getting any better either.

    And the raisers of wee kittens have my admiration and a big ‘awwwwwwww’.

  112. It wasn’t until I typed this that I realized how much great stuff I’d done in 2008.

    I started a relationship with one boy and kept the relationship with the other boy; I started Flylady’s system (which comes with its own frustrations but they’re dealable), tried NaNoWriMo (didn’t win but I can write!), learned to knit, tossed a lot of clothes that I hated and got a bra fitting, quit an awful job and got a better one, went to GenCon for the first time, and last but not least at all, learned about FA and found this blog.

    2008 was really awesome, turns out. I’m hoping that adding ‘hey, maybe I could try yoga’ to 2009 will help it be a different flavor of awesome.

  113. Lessee…

    I moved out of my transitional living program and into an apartment with a friend and her kid. My girlfriend moved in with us this summer. I went back to school and quit my job (yes, in that order). Speaking of, I also left my job on a really good note. I got all As and Bs in my classes (3.57 GPA! Dean’s list, here I come!). I adopted a kitten, who at 9 months old, is just as adorable and fun as she was the day we got her. I joined my friend’s writing community on LJ (which technically was created on 12-31, but there was talk about it earlier that I participated in, so it counts!). I came out as trans to some extended family members, and they were cool with it :)

  114. Also, I have taken an amazing internship at a hospital (psyching myself up for med-school) and have since ceased smoking (and hope to continue to do so!)

  115. I took a social sabbatical — two months of hibernating to get back in touch with myself and my energy and what I wanted my life to look like. Best thing I did all year!

  116. @The Amazing Kim: thanks for the encouragement and congratulations on the loss of the toxicity!

    @Tabby: Grow my hair out. I’m 40, and hair dressers tell me that I should cut my hair so I won’t look older. I want long hair so I’m going to grow it anyway.

    You GROW, girl! I’m 44, and while I don’t have really long hair, it’s still way longer (and curlier and grayer) than traditional wisdom says is proper for a woman my age. Tough. I think I’ve finally found someone who understands when I say “I need a trim, but leave the length” AND who will trim my bangs short enough at the same time. You’re going to look GREAT with hair the way you want it!

  117. I held my first party in my new apartment, conquering my fear of “but what if nobody comes? And in consequence, am feeling much more inclined to increase my entertaining ventures in 2009!

  118. I went to my doctor to discuss my stress level and finally admitted that I needed help. I started on meds in early December and am finally feeling… good. No, not good. GREAT. I didn’t realize how bad things had gotten for me until I was able to look back and realize how very paralyzed by depression and anxiety I actually was. Getting up the nerve to have that conversation was the best thing I’ve done for myself in a very long time.

  119. AmazingKim, congratulations on going vegan! I’ve been vegan for about 7 years. I know cheese is the sticking point for a lot of people, though I was lucky in that regard. As much as I loved pizza, I didn’t have a big problem. What I would advise is just going off cheese (including fakes) altogether for a period of time. Then, when the flavor and texture of cheese is just starting to fade to a misty memory—I don’t know how long, maybe a month?—try some fakes.

    Follow Your Heart brand is pretty good. It melts, kinda. Amy’s makes a frozen vegan spinach pizza with a rice crust that’s not bad, though it’s a bit oily. There’s also a new gourmet brand of cheez that people are raving over that’s made from nuts. It’s made by a company called Dr. Cow (LOL). There is some good Parmesan subs out there, too. The cookbook author Jo Stepaniak has some good recipes for making your own cheezy sauces and block cheeses.

    OK, since I started a reply, I should say what I did last year that I’m glad about. I began learning and practicing Buddhism, continued studying Korean, learned to make vegetarian kimchi (not very good right now but not totally bad, either), gained just a smidge more equilibrium and wisdom, I think, and in general went through some emotional storms and weathered them.

  120. In 2008 I:

    Shaved my head again, which I’d been talking about doing for 5 years. It looked fucking awesome. (I’m growing it out now, but I’ll shave it again come summer.)

    Went skydiving. OMFG.

    Started taking salsa lessons. In terms of actual life-changey-ness, this was the big one. I’ve always felt that I was unathletic, uncoordinated, and couldn’t dance, but I pick up new steps faster than most of the people on my class. It’s been a huge confidence-booster for me, plus it’s so much fun!

    In 2009 I will:

    Follow through with travel plans. I have a habit of telling my far-away friends that I’ll come visit them, and then flaking out for insufficient reasons. This year I am going to (at the very least) Iowa, New Orleans, Detroit, and Florida. Come hell or high water.

    Take beginning salsa again, this time as a leader instead of a follower. I want to be ambidancetrous!

    Cook a whole meal from scratch, once.

  121. Celeloriel, I just signed up for FlyLady at the end of December, and I confess I can’t make heads or tails out of it. All I do is shine my sink, which I love doing, but I keep seeing the same advice over and over to “read your reminders,” and supposedly there’s some system at work that I’m supposed to follow, but it’s not evident to me. I read the daily emails, which consist only of testimonials, and they all seem to refer to something I’m not getting–i.e., shouldn’t I be getting reminders or something? I’m taking on board bits and pieces I see about setting a timer and picking things up, but I can’t help feeling I slipped through the FlyLady cracks. Any advice?

  122. Oh and also, I was single for the entirety of 2008, and it was fine. I didn’t die of loneliness or sexual frustration or anything. So in 2009, I plan to continue enjoying my own company and that of my friends (and my vibrator), without worrying so much about whether this dude or that lady thinks I’m pretty.

  123. I stopped doing New Year’s Resolutions years ago, simply because I was bored with them. And I had thought 2008 was this awful, awful year, but as this post has made me evaluate it, I did a LOT!

    Moved to Florida.

    Survived being BROKE for 6 weeks.

    Went off Depakote – and am better for it (this is a totally personal thing; for me, the medication was all wrong and ruined my cholesterol numbers).

    Had a life-changing epiphany about what I want to do with my life – teach.

    Got pregnant – even though we thought we couldn’t.

    Got engaged!

    Spent Christmas day at the most beautiful beach I have ever seen.

    Decided to stop dieting – FOREVER – thanks to this site.

    Made strides in feeling good about my body as it is.

    And obviously, with a baby on the way and some kind of wedding on the horizon, 2009 should be the best yet!

  124. You’ve all already read my neurotic saga. I’m proud of myself for actually working up the stones (ovaries?) to take that risk.

    I also applied to grad schools. One of them was Columbia, I didn’t let myself think “why bother, I’ll never get in.” I fucking applied.

    I learned to knit and crochet. Though technically it was 2009 when I started crochet.

    I ran a 5K…OK, so I didn’t run the whole thing, more like I ran half a 5K and walked the other half, but that’s a lot more than I could have done in 2007.

    I’ve developed a lot more confidence this year.

  125. I feel you on that, AnotherKate. I think the Fantasy of Being in a Relationship has replaced a lot of the Fantasy of Being Thing for me these days, which I’m not happy about.

    Wordy McWord to that. Sometimes I worry I traded one for the other without much improvement. :\

    OK, not true. I no longer equate being thin with having a relationship/SO, so there’s some progress.

    DRST

  126. Lu –

    If you didn’t get the beginners’ babysteps, I can see how the entire thing would become esoteric and frustrating.

    Go here to take a look at them: http://flylady.net/pages/begin_babysteps.asp

    I’m on twitter as celeloriel, if you are; direct message me, and we can start an email chain. :)

    (Alternatively, maybe I should actually go check out the ning site for Shapely Prose, and start a thread *there*, but direct messaging will probably be faster in the short term.)

  127. I refuse to make “resolutions” because it seems like such a definite word. If you don’t keep it exactly, then you’ve been deemed a “failure.”
    I make “goals.” And I keep the wording on most of them very open ended. That way I don’t “break” my goals. I just keep working at them.
    For example:
    Be on time more often.
    I know I’m not going to be on time to EVERY meeting, work shift, church service, etc… just more than usual.

    Went skydiving. OMFG

    ooh! ooh! please tell me everything!
    That is one of my (less open ended) goals for 2009.
    I’m a bit concerned for things like… will the straps be long enough and such?

    Also, can I just say how excited I am that so many of us are yarn enthusiasts?
    I’m making a group for us in the ning network Right Now!

  128. O.C. or anyone else who wants to point me in the right direction…where do I go to get to the community site? One thing I haven’t been able to kick start is my brain this year, lol.

  129. Last year, after 13 years of being with my girlfriend, we actually opened a joint account. We also had a budget workshop to start getting out of stupid credit debt.

    This year, I want to do more things to stimulate my dog’s brain — like obedience classes and new jogging routes. I also want to hug my dog who has a bad heart at least two more times a day than I am now. Hugs make her tail wag.

    Does anyone else have a dog who’s tail wags when they get a hug? (It doesn’t seem to be a universal hug response in dogs.)

  130. Hey, thanks, Celeloriel! I did see the baby steps, but they don’t correspond to anything that’s coming in my emails. I think my brain is too disorganized to get FlyLady’s drift. But I’m going to continue with the Baby Steps.

    I’m not on Twitter (and I probably just betrayed my out-of-it-ness by that phraseology), but thanks so much for the offer. If you start a thread on Shapely ning, I’ll definitely check it out.

    FJ, your comment right above reminds me of something I wrote here once about an experience I had at the gym last year. A lady was talking about her weight loss and how great it was, and showing around “before” pictures, and then she turned to me and asked how much weight *I* was trying to lose. Instead of getting upset or insulted, I was pleased to be able to tell her cheerfully, “None,” and mean it, and enjoy leaving it hanging in the air there. :)

  131. Cindy, I have two dogs – unfortunately only one of them has his proper tail, we got the older one before they changed the laws here regarding docking.

    The one who does have his tail wags it tail if you even so much as look at him or walk in his direction! And when you hug him his tail just goes crazy. He also loves to gaze into your eyes.

    They both go crazy when I come home, and the oldest loves his toys – his favourite is a funny looking rabbit thing, and at bed time he will go and find it wherever it is in the house (or garden) and take it upstairs to bed with him.

    I love my dogs! Best. Value. Ever.

  132. 2008 had a huge, huge amount of suckiness for me, too. Nothing that by itself was entirely the worst thing in the world, but an unending string of pretty bad after kind of bad after pretty bad again, if you know what I mean. At first I read this post and decided to avoid it entirely because it would make me too depressed, but reading the comments I feel like if everyone else can, I should be able to cobble together a list of little pearls to extract from the slimy intestinal oyster goop of the year.

    I got on much better terms with my spouse. Still not terrific, but worlds better than the last couple of years.

    I finally spoke my mind (kind of) and got out of a recurring commitment that was eating me alive mentally from the hypocrisy of doing it when I didn’t believe in it any more.

    I’m getting a new GP, and picked a female DO who will hopefully work with me on a few possible problems.

    I got closer to my grandmother, and now that I know she has email I can keep in better touch.

    Not bad, all things considered!

  133. JoaniePop–

    Honestly, depending on how fat you are, it might be uncomfortable. I’m only kinda fat but I have titties for days (36H), and they got all smooshed up under the strap. It definitely hurt some on the way down. So that’s something to be aware of.

    On the other hand, I think it’s worth a little discomfort to jump out of a fucking plane! Our plane was teeny tiny, so you couldn’t stand up and jump, you had to kind of barrel roll out under the wing, which was terrifying. But SO MUCH FUN.

    And if you can, I totally recommend jumping in northern Michigan–you can see forever, and it’s all full of lakes and gorgeousness.

    Good luck, I hope you go through with it!

  134. I started weight training (again, I did it for awhile in 2001-2002 and never started again after a bout with Epstein-Barr virus). I like the “one push-up” resolution–I might have the arms for it by the end of the year. :)

    I also got a passport and visited my friend in Bavaria, after about six years of just meeting him around the States. The furthest I’d been before was Canada. That was so much fun I think I should do it again.

  135. OK, I’m sold on fencing, you all make it sound wonderful. I will though, proactively, see about talking to the instructors about jackety things and sizes. I am a inbetweenie with mega-boobs, so most jackets don’t fit me anyway, and it looks like I could get my own off the internet for like $40.

    Thank y’all!!

  136. Thanks for the joy, Lu – everyone else I know has taken the news like I’m going into the monastery and taking all the puppies with me.

    Personally, I’m very excited.

    Thanks for the cheese advice – I’ll certainly give abstinance a try. Living in a small Australian town, the problem isn’t so much choosing between brands, but finding anything at all (besides blank stares). The farmers’ market here does have a good vegetarian kimchi, though.

    Does anyone else have a dog who’s tail wags when they get a hug?

    Not, but my cat does… before he claws a whole through the closest object (usually me) to escape.

  137. After an indulgent dinner (pheasant! rabbit!!) with a good friend, I’ve decided to revise my antipathy towards resolutions. My resolutions are now – to eat more rich foods, drink more, and have more sex. After all, someone’s got to balance out all the folks resolving to do less of these things, no?

  138. I usually tend to think of years as the year I was ’33’ or ’34’ rather than the calendar year, and I never make resolutions – but having said that, 2008 was a radically different year from any other I’ve ever had; and for the same reason, both totally wonderful and absolutely awful.

    I became a mother :-)

    Which is a totally amazing thing, particularly considering that this 35 year old had never even had a relationship until she was 34, so meeting wonderful husband and getting engaged and married made 2007 all kinds of wonderful.

    I got pregnant in February, and our son was born in October. March to September were basically total hell. Although the pregnancy progressed totally normally, thankfully, and our little one is healthy and gorgeous as can be, my body REALLY did not like being pregnant. Six months of throwing up and constant nausea… just awful.

    So, the experience was awful, but the result was amazing. Having fought and loathed my body for so much of my life, to see it produce this new perfect little guy was incredible.

    I am now trying to deal emotionally with the extra 20 pounds the pregnancy left me with and not let it get me down. It’s hard because after years of yoyoing I had spent the last four years at a consistent weight and got used to that ‘me’. I have had a couple of meltdowns and depressed days but I am trying to focus on the good. I have bought lots of cute clothes to wear *now* and have put away my cute clothes from before until they fit me again (if they ever do) – but I am just eating healthy and will see what happens, and am reminding myself that I am still gorgeous with those extra pounds.

    And I have a son!

  139. I got diagnosed with ADHD. It’s made an enormous difference to my life just to know that I’m not lazy and incompetent, I legitimately have problems with certain things. Now that I have coverage again, I’m going to get some medication for it and that should help out even more.

  140. In 2007 I lost my career, but too busy just surviving to think about it. So in 2008, I had to deal with the mental, emotional aftermath. But, it was great for psychological reasons, because I learned so much about myself and my relationships with other people. Kind of a quarterlife growing up process. And, as of yesterday, I applied to go back to my alma mater to get a 2nd degree in landscape architecture. I don’t know if I can make it happen, but I thrive on taking a chance. I’m hopeful!

  141. Oh, Amazing Kim, I didn’t know you were in Australia. Sorry for dangling only American and rarefied choices before you. I wonder if cookbooks (like The Uncheese Cookbook) might be the best option for you. Do you have access to slightly exotic ingredients like nutritional yeast? That tends to figure into “uncheese” recipes.

  142. I moved in with my lovely boyfriend.

    My RA introduced me to FA via Manolo for the Big Girl

    I learned to embroider: I find it soothing, except when I get obsessive about perfect stitches.

  143. Oh! I didn’t see this before. I want to play.

    In 2008 I:

    *Started believing in FA “for real”, stopped dieting, threw out my scales, and converted my sister, thus ending a ~10-year stretch of disordered eating and hating my body (thanks to SP)
    *Became a feminist (also thanks to SP)
    *Started to realise that academia is not the be-all and end-all of who I am as a person
    *Spent a ridiculously tough 3 months as a 24-hour stage manager and camp counsellor and discovered I’m capable of a lot more than I had thought
    *Went to New York! Saw Broadway shows! Fell in love with [tos]
    *Started seriously thinking about finding a career that’s right for me rather than one that’s on my arbitrary list of Societally Approved Career Choices
    *Learned to knit!
    *Started planning my round-the-world trip in ’10
    *Found not one but two women who like me exactly as I am. They happen to be in a LTR with each other. So also, got confirmation that I am a little bit poly. Heh.
    *Started thinking seriously about the ADD and whether I want to get it diagnosed and just deal with whatever stigma exists (whether for real or in my head), because, as bellacoker put it, trying harder just isn’t cutting it anymore.
    *Finally got some counselling for the trauma my family have/are putting me through. Realised I coped with it so much better than I had any reason to. Got proud of me for surviving.

    Essentially, this was the year I became a person, and started embracing & liking me for exactly who I am instead of constantly criticising myself for who I’m not. I loved it. More of the same please.

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