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New Year's Resolutions

I am a klutz.

I was at a Christmas party last Monday and I was “that guy.” Yes, I walked right through a sliding screen door as I was heading out to the backyard. Most embarrassingly, I had only been at the party for about 15-minutes and was barely two sips into my eggnog, meaning- I wasn’t even slightly buzzed yet.

The door came right off its hinges, I caught it, and awkwardly walked with it, until someone took it out of my hands. I was the talk of the party. At least I can say that I certainly made the evening a memorable one.

Now that we are just days away from a new year, I am resolving to be less of a klutz. Well, the actual resolution is slowing down, taking a few more moments each day to enjoy life, and not sweating the little things. I believe that if I take these steps- I’ll be more likely to be paying attention next time I approach a door and not walk into it (or not trip on a step, or walk into a display case stocked with wine bottles at the grocery store, etc.).

So let’s discuss New Year’s resolutions.

It’s common at this time of year for us to begin to pick out all of the things we dislike about our lives and wish and hope once that magic day – January 1. Every year, we vow that on this first day of the new year we will change. It’s a nice thought, but how many of us actually keep our resolutions? For me, January 1 is a day I look forward to, but once it actually comes, the excuses follow.

January 1: Today is a holiday. I’m just relaxing today. I’ll start the resolutions tomorrow.

January 2: Well, I don’t go back to work until January 4, so… maybe it’s best I start once I get back into my “routine.”

January 4: It was so busy at work today. I couldn’t focus on my resolutions. I’ll just use this week to get back into the swing of things, and then will start next Monday.

January 11: You know, I started off this month on the wrong note - let’s just try this again on February 1.

February 1: Resolutions? What resolutions? There’s always next year.

Because I know myself and am aware of the fact that the excuse cycle described above will likely be my fate again this coming year, I’ve decided to really limit my resolutions to just one, the being less klutzy, slowing down resolution. I believe that if I just take life one breath at a time, I’ll be a happier person, and able to focus more on myself; which means other changes will follow in time.

As gay men, we are inundated almost daily with images that make us feel inferior. Gay media, especially in the form of advertisements, often portrays gay men as needing to have buff, ripped bodies, super white teeth, perfect skin, primped hair, designer clothes, mineral creams, night creams, day creams, anti-aging creams, skin peels, microdermabrasion, plastic surgeries, injections, and all kinds of other things to put on, over, or in our bodies to make us look a certain way. Beyond this, gay men are often portrayed as only having beautiful friends, beautiful cars, and taking beautiful trips (when do they have time to work to afford all these things?).

Many of my friends have expressed resolutions to me that seem related to these things: “I am going to get my teeth whitened in the new year”… “I am going to get Botox this year”… “I want to have a perfect chest by Pride”… While there is nothing wrong with taking care of yourself and looking beautiful (I use my share of makeup, creams, and teeth whitening solutions), it is not what defines us. When making your resolutions, remember to think about yourself first and do something that makes you feel good and grow as a person. Then grow your chest and cheeks!

Happy New Year.