The barista at my corner coffee shop hesitated when he saw me today.
He had the large plastic cup in his hand, but before filling it with my usual order (all the way to the top with ice, then cold-brew coffee with about an inch of room for milk, please, and charge me for a medium because I’m grandfathered in at the old price) he asked me:
“Your same coffee? It’s a new year, I’m not assuming anyone’s order this week.”
I looked at him like, oh, how little you know me.
“Same coffee,” I said. “I never change.”
And then, as I etched a meaningless finger scribble on the iPad’s signature screen, stuffed my dangling right-side earbud back in my ear, and milk-and-splenda’d up my iced coffee, I thought about those words.
I never change.
Is that true?
It sure feels like it at this time of year.
Every January, I start with the same thoughts:
I need to make exponentially more money.
I need to spend exponentially less money.
I need to create big-picture goals, not just wishes.
I need to be more generous.
I need to start loving winter. (Can I train my body to experience cold as pleasurable?)
I need to write a book or a TV pilot.
I need to start getting up early so I can write that book or TV pilot.
I need to stop staying up till 2 am watching Bravo shows on my iPad. (Just typing that makes me want to go watch another Vanderpump Rules on my iPad.)
I need to get stronger, especially my core — so I won’t go apeshit about sitting on a backless stool in a restaurant and have to explain to 3 other people who are perfectly happy to sit anywhere, “I NEED LUMBAR SUPPORT!”
I need to let Steven rearrange the furniture the way he wants, because it makes him happy and maybe not everything has to stay exactly the way it is forever. Except I won’t get work done if my desk is facing away from the window. And the dining table has to stay put, or we won’t be able to watch TV from it when we eat takeout. And I can’t see having just one lounge chair in the living room — where is company supposed to sit when we have more than 4 people over? And if we move the coffee table, how will they be able to reach a bowl of nuts? Never mind.
Same thoughts, year after year after year.
They’re not resolutions. Resolutions would mean I believe I’ll make these things happen. I’m not resolved. I’m wistful. You know why? Because I know this:
I never change.
But wait. Hold that thought. Maybe I do change.
I’m leading a workshop in Italy this year. I said yes to that and a couple of other challenging, out-of-my-cushy-comfort-zone events — even though it’s easier to say no and stick with projects that don’t require bold new thinking or airline tickets or a cute dress that’ll travel well and look good in group photos. That’s change.
I unpack my suitcase the instant we get back from a vacation. Without fail. About 10 years and counting now, and I’m proud as an Olympic Gold Medalist every single time. (I used to let my full bags marinate in a corner for up to three weeks, yanking out favorite jeans from among damp bathing suits and dirty laundry as needed.) That’s change.
I barely drink diet coke anymore. I’m into Pellegrino now, for the past year. That’s change, but I don’t really care about it.
I started meditating. But I start lots of things, so let’s wait till I’ve done it regularly for a year before I say, That’s change.
Will I still be thinking the same New Year’s thoughts in January, 2017?
Probably. But if I can open and unload my suitcase 3 minutes after getting out of a cab from JFK, maybe there’s slight hope otherwise.
Do you ever change? How so? How not? How would you like to?
TELL ME IN THE COMMENTS.
I am so sorry about your Winter “blues” and so happy. Yay! I am not alone. How I dread the Winter year after year. As an added, my birthday usually falls on the coldest day of the year or brings in record snow storms.
Thank you for sharing. I feel so much better and I was beating myself up for not going to the gym yet today and unsubscribing from a never ending emails, I stumbled upon yours and decided to open it. I love them.
Lawrence Fox says
Yes, I change.
I have to (otherwise I feel like I’m starting to ossify). Acquiring new skills, changing attitudes, learning new stuffs (even if they’re minor) is partly what keeps me going. (OTOH, I do confess to often falling back onto “old” bad habits). I’m not sure why, but this year feels like it’s going to be different than the past couple of years. I do sorta have that “going back to school/starting afresh” feeling this year.
(And I do hate winter too.)
Peter Schwartz says
So with you on all of this. Especially the bit about unpacking as soon as I get home. Makes a HUGE difference in how I feel post trip.
To change or not to change. Yes.
Some say that the only way to change is to give up trying to change and just be who you are even if you don’t enjoy all of who you are.
This does NOT mean to engage in new age-y expressions of satisfaction and utter joy at who you are. That would be to deny a piece of who you are, i.e., your dissatisfaction with XYZ about yourself.
Speaking just for myself: Launching an ambitious and successful copywriting course, a writing sojourn in Italy, and writing successful T.V. promos for the stahs would be change enough for me.
Nadia Marshall says
I love you Laura. You made my day. Thank you for helping to reduce my Monday-itis (even though it’s Tuesday… but it is my first day back at work for the year). Please don’t ever change! xxx
An honest reply: So I feel a little blue each winter too — and I stay up late and after I fix breakfast for the kids, I sleep in until noon. I would stay in bed longer but I know that the family returns home in the afternoon, and it should look like I was doing somp’in. I’d love to say I’m living the good life — but I don’t really feel that way.
I don’t know why, but I started putting on weight, so something clicked and I figured I needed to make a big change. As a major game-changer, I food fasted all day — I’ve read that it re-sets your body, immune system, digestion, insulin production etc. I think black and white changes are easier than small incremental ones (I’ll try to cut down on cookies!)
On workouts — I am switching to aerobic exercises — walking and swimming — as opposed to muscle building. I think it’s more important.
I feel energized but the question is, will I be able to go to sleep hungry (I’m almost never able to do it). I’m gonna try smoking more pot than usual.
Realizing my last comment, tho nice, added Zip to the conversation, here is a real excerpt from an email I had Just written to my husband before clicking on this post:
Longish, but tres relevant:
I dealt with Century link bs today. It’s fine now. I’m actually incredibly grateful for how it turned out. I might be learning the importance of putting all of my energy into good outcomes, and only giving bs the absolute minimum focus required. I think this is a clue to how to change things.
I just love you. Can’t wait to work with you. You had me at ( insert little wacky surf/dance move in a Marie Forleo intro of copy cure)
Gina (still pupa)
LOL-ing at ‘the year of the spiritual loofah’ and everything else in this post. Also I, too, need to strengthen my core. On reflex, I tightened my ab muscles when I read that sentence.
I have had the same start to the year! I change but I rarely notice until I reflect back and sometimes its intentional but alot of times its contextual of what life throws at me!
Emma Fry says
Puffy coats in the winter suck! I’m so glad someone brought this to my attention, I avoid winter at all costs and refuse to own a coat, which, I must admit has left me a little cold on occasions when I’ve had to visit the UK but still….lets untie and say hell no to puffy coats and yes please to only living in parts of the world where avocados grow, hurrah for their loveliness!