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Letter: New Year's Resolutions

Issue #7 of The Get Some Victory Newsletter went out on Sunday, on the topic of making smarter New Year's Resolutions.

Stefanie Zobus weighted in with a smart reply, and kindly agreed to let me share it here -

Hi Sebastian,

I’d like to add one more thing to what you said. Often times, the resolutions made for the next year are not thought through properly, are quickly and thoughtlessly made, for vague reasons one sometimes doesn’t care about that much, or isn’t aware one cares much. That’s a problem. If one doesn’t think very, very carefully about what really matters, what one wants (!!) to change, and –why- it’s easy to say.. oh well, it doesn’t matter that much anyway. So things aren’t followed through. One needs to know the reasons very concretely, and the consequences of not following through. Instant gratification (gotten by quitting the resolution) is much more powerful than a vague goal stored at some far-end corner of the mind, uttered out loud once or twice during New Years.

Regards,

Why Do We Celebrate Anniversaries?

On The Constance Chronicles

Yesterday I celebrated a one year anniversary with Melissa, my girlfriend. We had a great lunch together in a seedy part of town we both now love. We explored and shopped, had coffee, and spent the day together with the intention of rewarding ourselves for “makin’ it” an entire year. During our delicious eats, she looked up and said, “Relationships are so weird.” See, Melissa says things like this and in the moment, I really have no idea what she’s talking about. I have recently promised myself to inquire more about the thoughts she says out loud rather than giggle, scoff, or nod and smile. She has caught on quite quickly that when I don’t understand something, I dismiss it.

She is right. Relationships ARE weird. Like, why do Melissa and I want to spend as much time together as we do? Why do we celebrate the amount of time we have spent together, officially? What is officially? The reality is, we haven’t known each other for too long and we’ve only been romantically linked for an even shorter amount of time. You don’t decide to be in a relationship with someone because you know them and you are certain the relationship will last forever. You decide to be in a relationship to continue getting to know that person for the rest of your life, if you’re lucky. When people decide not to be in the relationship, they’ve decided, “I don’t want to get to know you anymore. I know enough and I don’t like it.”

Whereas Melissa knows how to identify my dismissive mannerisms she is still trying to figure out why I do it and why I don’t just express that I don’t understand or please explain more. It’s such a habit for me, I can’t even explain it myself. So here we are now, both trying to figure out why instinctual habits like these even exist and if they can even be changed. The answers is: They have to change. Acceptance is an important concept, but a very shallow one. You either find or get acceptance or you don’t. This concept really has no gray area, which means in relationships, your partner either accepts situations, your habits, your behaviors or doesn’t.

Then, there’s this concept that couples celebrate their anniversaries. In the beginning I felt it was stupid, a waste of money, and a way to get recognition, “Hey look, I’ve had someone for this long. What about you? Oh, no one? You are alone?” or “I’ve put up with your bullshit for said years, give me my present.” Later that night, Melissa took me to get some ice cream and said, “We did it, ya know? Got through some tough times, Chung.” She was right, again. It hasn’t been all about having fun. Melissa and I have had our downs, fights, and difficult conversations about our future as a couple.

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