Saturday, January 2, 2010

And So It Begins!

Two thousand and nine is now done and the first day of 2010 has drawn to a close. For no discernable reason, I feel much more optimistic about the year ahead of me than I ever did about last year. Perhaps it is that I have goals I have set and a direction in life which were both sorely lacking at this time last year; perhaps it’s because I like some numbers better than others and ten ranks much higher than nine; perhaps it’s because in hindsight there were some very difficult times in 2009 and I was just glad to see it go. At any rate, the earth has completed another rotation around the sun and for better or worse, we must move with it.

With the end of a month in which I managed to remain healthy and the changing of the year, I find a renewed vigour to attain my goals and so started scouring the web for new sites to bookmark, quotes to save, and ideas to try. Given the time of year, I came across many articles about resolutions—suggestions, ideas, possible resolutions—and I read as many as I could for some trick to help me stick to my plan. I came across a list on Cosmo of Top 10 Resolutions Not to Make This Year. At first glance, there were a few eye rolls but most of the ideas on there seemed like good ones. I walked away from my computer but I kept thinking about this article and I found myself getting angry about certain ideas that were on there. I know that despite Cosmo’s claims of being for the independent, strong, yet fashionable woman, it really does continue to promote a lot of the old clichés and stereotypes of the rolls of men and women. So with that in mind I need to get a few things off my chest about their ‘suggestions’.

1. Quit your job and wait for a dream career opportunity to present itself. Recession shmecession.
Reality check: Suck it up and hang on to your gig for now. Appease yourself by taking a class or picking up a hobby that will make your résumé stand out, like learning a foreign language or starting a blog.
Recession shmecession, quitting your job without a plan of where it will go from there is stupid. Regardless of the current world financial situation, quitting your job to better your life in some way will always be the smart thing to do. Stick to the job you hate and in five years you will hate your life (or at least a huge aspect of it). I know this first hand, and anyone who has properly thought through the pros and cons of quitting their job to pursue other options and comes up with mostly pros should take that plunge.

2. Lose five pounds.
Reality check: Hot chicks like Jessica Biel, Beyoncé, and ScarJo are proof that toned and curvy is the new skinny.
It’s a nice idea that curvy is back in, but there’s a very telling word in the sentence which contradicts the Cosmo stance. The word is ‘toned’. Toned! As in ‘goes to the gym, does cardio, lifts weights’. I agree that five pounds really isn’t something to worry about but if you’re going to tell people not to do it, don’t use examples of people who are actually in very good shape.

3. Finally win back your ex-boyfriend.
Reality check: Move on. We give you permission to engage in some rebound relationship therapy.
Finally, one that I agree with (although maybe not so much the ‘rebound relationship therapy’).

4. Buy into all the latest trends.
Reality check: It's okay to be a slave to fashion...just be a slave to cheap fashion, rather than dropping serious bank on each and every look. Kick yourself later for wearing it, but don't kick yourself for blowing your paycheck on it.
I agree with this one, but the fact that it’s coming from a magazine which makes money off of telling people what to wear... hilarious. Someone in the Cosmo writing staff really should be in stand up.

5. Change your man.
Reality check: While some relationship tweaking is to be expected (hey, few guys are natural-born good kissers), if the words "fixer-upper" and "project" could describe your boyfriend, it's time to get real.
Again, completely agree.

6. Triple the number of friends you have on Facebook.
Reality check: Less time stalking your friends' friends' friends. More time catching up with buddies you actually care about.
Although I am guilty of having people on my facebook I don’t see regularly, don’t have people on there that I wouldn’t gladly chat with if I ran into them on the street. In the same vein, however, I do make an effort to keep in regular contact with the people I care about so if I want to have extra people on facebook, so be it.

7. Don't eat any junk food.
Reality check: Cutting out all unhealthy food from your diet will most likely lead to binge eating, followed by intense guilt, by mid-January.
I agree that cutting out all junk food will eventually lead to binge eating that very item, but why are you not encouraging the readers to be more specific with the resolution. Why not encourage them to resolve to eat no more than one fast food meal a week, or cut a specific type of junk food (or limit it to once a month), or even increase the number of salads they eat? This could have been a great opportunity for a quick lesson on how to make a bad resolution good.

8. Watch less trashy TV.
Reality check: Zoning out and de-stressing for a bit every night with the help of good bad television is harmless.
What if the person making this resolution watches five hours of trashy TV a night? Don’t get me wrong, I love me some trashy TV—have you seen ‘The Jersey Shore’? It’s hilariously sinful times!—but there’s more to life than knowing what’s happening with ‘The Real Housewives of [insert state name here]’. If you don’t like to read, fine, there are plenty of great TV shows which are entertaining and educational, perhaps you could encourage readers to give those a try. Zoning out doesn’t mean it has to be trashy.

9. Save more money.
Reality check: Let's be honest. In this economy, we're just happy to be able to pay our rent, gas, and credit card bill.
In this economy (the same one you are using as an excuse to tell people not to quit a job), shouldn’t trying to save some money be a priority? If money’s tight and you’re struggling to pay the things mentioned above then sit down, figure out your priorities and if part of that is saving money, make it happen. Perhaps stop the daily latte or get rid of those premium cable channels. Even if it wasn’t this economy, encouraging saving money is a good idea. So the fact that this would even be on here is just dumb, dumb, dumb!

10. Keep your number down.
Reality check: Nothin' wrong with notches on your bedpost, as long as you're being safe.
There’s also nothing wrong with making the decision to keep your numbers down. I believe in the sexual revolution and that women have the right to pick who and when, but I also believe that we shouldn’t be encouraging sexual relations just because we can.

In the midst of this list of don’ts are a bunch of additional links, and this one is actually very good. I really enjoyed thinking about the questions and my answers to them. I’ve decided to print them out and write out my answers and then I plan to review them this time next year. As for a list of resolution suggestions that I enjoyed and drew some inspiration from, check out Best Health.


The Happy Ranter said...

Oh, Cosmo. So ridiculous. But consistent. Consistently ridiculous.

And I am all over number 1, the 'reality check' be damned! (Even thought I am actually making a plan before I say sayonara to the drudgery of office life).

ChilkootChubby said...

You're making a plan so I say 'do it'. I agree with the idea that you shouldn't just up and quite your job with no forethought to the consequences no matter how much you want to, but I also think you shouldn't be doing that anytime regardless of the economy. So, to you I say, take your plan, quit your job and live the life you deserve!