Did I Give Up On My New Year’s Resolution?


I have wanted to make a change in my life for a while. That change has always been about location – I feel a serious allegiance and dedication to where I am currently living but ultimately, I’m not happy here. I sometimes feel like my life is waiting to totally start until I’m living somewhere else. But then things happen – conversations, accomplishments, etc.- and I wonder if it’s worth leaving them behind for a change in scenery. Do I just leave that? I’m not sure.

I had pledged an informal New Year’s resolution at the start of 2016 to moving somewhere new and different. For a while, I was really taking it seriously: I set up job listings in a bunch of different cities on LinkedIn and started looking at places to rent on Craigslist. I casually committed to being somewhere new by June. I’d convinced myself it would be easy to just quit the job I had been working for around two years and to leave my month to month apartment. But I really struggled with how to work up to taking the steps to do those things – like give notice to my boss and start packing up my somewhat limited belongings. On the other hand, though, I knew things like that are normal and I’m capable of them so it would just take a little motivation because I wanted to do make this change and there’s never really a ‘right’ time, you know?

And then my roommate unceremoniously asked me to move out. Her friend got a job and they wanted to be roommates in the apartment we shared, displacing me. I’ll be honest – it was awful. It was awful, I’ll be honest. I felt rootless, like after my father sold my childhood home. I didn’t have a home base anymore. And it was another round of setting up a forwarding address and hoping no serious bills got lost in the shuffle.

I settled into my new place that was also close to work, a setup with a close family friend. It was convenient and felt quiet and laid-back. Sure, I was back in the suburbs but at least I was near things I knew. It felt like maybe I was regressing a little, but I just needed to regroup. I’d have time and quite literally a secure place to do that.

So my resolution drifted away. I reasoned that my mental and emotional health couldn’t handle a massive change in the midst of this weird housing chaos. I needed to be close to what was familiar and stable. But I felt even more at the mercy of other people’s decisions and not my own. Should I have just thought, “fuck it”, and moved? Or would that have just been a knee-jerk reaction and not a carefully thought out and planned event? I’m still not really sure.

I’m thinking of renewing my 2016 resolution again for 2017. A carryover might be a way for me to start fresh after some contemplation and a general regroup. After all, over the past few months, I joined a gym and am (hopefully) kicking ass at work. I’ve made strides in those departments, in my own estimation, so maybe it’s the best time to revisit something once forgotten.

I’ve had a weird time trying to figure out if I failed with this past year’s resolution. I made it only to myself and while I did speak about it with friends, I didn’t make every decision this year based on it. I didn’t center everything on this resolution and I think that’s why its uncertainty nags at me. I think I thought that by making this promise, in a sense, things would present themselves because I had committed in a small way to it. But when I reflect on it more, I know that just because I say I’m going to move in 2016 doesn’t mean I will. I have to be the one that does it. Actions speak more volumes than words.

I’ve wondered about trying the opposite with any sort of resolution I make for 2017 and keep it private. And when I do act on and hopefully fulfill it, the victory will be all the sweeter because I alone accomplished it and got to savor it more fully. I won’t say here if that is indeed what I’ll do but I still have some time — 365 days in 2017 to be exact — to work on it.

Katharine Donohoe : lives and works in Virginia. She (sometimes) has very little chill but enjoys the simple things like GChat, Trader Joe’s frozen snacks, and listening to a healthy amount of podcasts.