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kicking off operation 2012
mapping out my own set of great expectations
by alex b (@Lexistential)

Semantics. Sometimes, it's just a question of semantics.

For this year, I've decided to actually take some time to plan a set of goals to achieve. Some can call these resolutions, but I refuse to call my objectives such. Like a fusspot who never grows to like eating cauliflower (but is okay with having it in mashed form), I simply don't like the word resolution. It seems too serious, too Model United Nations, even pretentious.

Above all, I have the mutant ability to disregard it (and anything else that smacks of overly serious dweebs with political anglings).

Still, in spite of my inability to digest the R-word as a fun or tolerable experience, I am determined to experience 2012 with a set of set objectives. I want the kind of year where I hit my milestones instead of seeing them get dust bunnies; I want to be productive.

Therefore, here goes Operation 2012.

A nice thing about phrasing Operation 2012 as such is that I can see it as a mission to accomplish in a series of steps, rather than treating it as a frantic gesture to undertake after procrastinating. And, to address it like this feels fresh instead of the tried-and-true resolution. I might enjoy pursuing objectives in realistic increments, about planning to reach the end result without maniacally fixating on it. If I don't drive myself crazy in the process, surely, I like to think that I may just make it.

Thankfully, the things I want to change are items that don't have an immediate urgency to get rid of. And, compared to family and relationships, they aren't hugely serious. But, like cheap patrons at a bar, I'm just sick of these things in my life, and I've got the time to coerce them to go:

1. Less Clutter, More Decoration
Long ago, my father told me he never understood how I could organize my life when my bedroom was as cluttered as it was; I piped up, "I know where everything is!" and that was that. But, two decades later, that doesn't quite work. And, while I've learned to maintain a nice enough shared space, I'm pretty sure that my dad would have a series of small conniptions if he saw that I still don't remember to hang up all my sweaters. Especially since I am a slightly hoarding packrat who doesn't readily donate stuff.

But, clothing messiness aside, I've never known how to actually decorate and fill a space. And, while I know where to find and buy things that are budget-friendly, I wouldn't know how to arrange them.

Solution: Declutter throughout winter. Throw out anything I haven't worn in over a year. Give away and donate used things to friends, thrift stores, and libraries. By spring, be ready to repaint and rearrange.

2. Less Real Housewives, More Reading
One decade ago, I didn't own a TV. I didn't care past having one to watch DVDs with, and for the most part, it gathered dust while I was home. Now, I watch far too much of it- from "Top Chef" to "True Blood", from "Dexter" to "No Reservations" episodes. In the interest of not spending too much money outside the house, TV has become my go-to entertainment form instead of a book.

As a result, I know far too much about every "Real Housewife" series Bravo has ever aired. This must change.

Solution: Applying a minimum reading requirement of two books a month. (And, apart from watching "Top Chef" and "Revenge" on Wednesdays, less time parked on the living room couch.)

3. Less Tightfisted Spending, More Fun
This is probably the toughest change to implement, because in the last year, I've been living on a fairly skinny of shoestring budget thanks to a change in jobs and working my way to getting raises. Thankfully, now I'm in a position where I'm more comfortable, and can afford a few little luxuries. On the good side of things, I'm not an extravagant person, and know how to stretch twenty bucks like taffy.

On the not-so-great side, I feel like an overly cheap miser who can't spend $5 without feeling resentful or frivolous.

Solution: Allowing an occasional treat- a yoga class, new book, sushi on Friday, without allowing paranoia to affect that little instance.

4. Less Technology, More Pursuits
As someone with a smartphone, I am absolutely guilty of being glued to it for every reason available under the sun. And, as a person who uses Facebook, Twitter, and email on a daily basis (and prone to scowling if I think someone is hogging the wifi connection), I'm a slave to the Internet. I'm not entirely sure how to change this, because completely giving this up is something I'm not willing to do. But, I know that I can afford to spend less time tweeting, and perhaps more time exercising or on another hobby entirely.

Solution: Totally open to suggestion.

5. Less Asocialism, More Actual Socializing
Last but not least, I'd like to meet new people this year. While I have people to say hello to on a daily basis in my neighborhood and best friends who are only phone calls away, I am once again confronting the question of how to meet new people, and feeling like a possible new girl in school. And, after a year of focusing almost exclusively on sorting out financial issues and family, as well as letting go of outgrown relationships, it's time to meet (and hopefully make) some new friends, and to say yes where I normally turn stuff down.

Surely, this can't be totally difficult.

Solution: Open to suggestion (except for using Craigslist).

Thus, with these planned objectives, I feel ready to take on 2012. Knowing that I've got the year to pursue them in steady increments feels good, like I'm on the start of what will be a fulfilling journey instead of mission impossible.

So, here goes Operation 2012. Wish me luck.


An expert in coloring outside the lines while reading between them, Alex B has a head for business, bod for sin, and weakness for ice cream during all seasons. Apart from watching Bravo marathons and enjoying haute bites here and there, she writes about TV, pop culture, and coloring outside even more lines. She sneaks Tweets via @lexistential.

more about alex b


the unsuperior chinese mother
debunking amy chua's parenting beliefs
by alex b
topic: general
published: 1.19.11

tales from a top chef dinner
how twitter gave me a firsthand taste of my favorite cooking competition
by alex b
topic: general
published: 8.18.10


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