This Year's Love: New Year's Resolutions and Reflections on 2019

I say it every year, but I love New Year’s. I really do. More than anyone I know. I love reflecting on the year that’s just ended and looking forward to the year to come. I love resolutions. I love beginnings. I love new opportunities to be more, to be different, and better. And the fact that I love those things is something I really like about myself, because as a general matter I don’t consider myself a terribly optimistic person. But in this way at least, more than most people, I am. I believe people can change. I believe things can be better than they are. I believe we can make them better. And I think those are good things to believe in.

On that note, 2019 has been a good year for me. I didn’t accomplish everything I set out to do in it, but I accomplished some. I resolved to watch more foreign and classic films, and I’ve done that. I resolved to read more and I’ve done that. I resolved to find a nice, sensible boyfriend to go out with, and more or less, I’ve done that. There have been some low moments, to be sure, some very low ones. Some sad ones and some scared ones and some insecure ones and some lonely ones. In some ways I’ve moved in the wrong direction (gained weight) and in others I’ve made no progress in the right direction (barely opened Final Draft). I’ve made some bad choices and some lazy ones, and done some things I’m not proud of. But all in all, I’m pleased with how things shook out this year. I’m okay with who I was and with the choices I made. Given the chance, I’d make most of the same ones again.

When I am reflecting around this time of year, as I am wont to do, I often think of what Neil Gaiman once wrote to his fans on New Year’s, and try to measure my previous year using his criteria:

“May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness.

I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful,

and don’t forget to make some art —

write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can.

And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.”

In 2019, I did read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks I’m wonderful. I made some art, not enough, but some, and most significantly, I did surprise myself, which hasn’t happened very often in my life up to this point, but that I hope will happen again, many times over, in the year to come.

So with that, a few final reflections on 2019 before we kiss it goodbye and welcome in a shiny new year and decade.

2019 Highlights

My first TIFF

My second NYFF

My first Gotham Awards

Subscribing to the Criterion Channel and Disney+

Fall Movies

Good TV

Audible

The Cher Show

Travel

Positive Emmy results

Provocative theater

Elizabeth Warren

Venti Strawberry Acai Refreshers with extra lemonade and no ice from Starbucks

AMC Stubbs

Fleabag, Season 2

Florence Pugh

Amazon Prime Now

Italian Food

Thai Food

Laura Dern

Two visits from my mom

Two trips with my best friend

Falling in love

Feeling more secure at work

My brothers’ high school graduations

My sister’s wedding

Cold weather

First full year in my apartment

Paying off credit card debt

Christmas

2019, By the Numbers

Movies watched: 350+

Seasons of TV: 60+

Books read: 60+

Plays seen: 35+

Travel: A week in Egypt, a week in England. Five days in each of China and India. Long weekends in Paris, Toronto and Mexico, short weekends in Austin, Atlantic City and Fire Island. Weddings in Denver and New Orleans. A work retreat in Chappaqua. Thanksgiving in Northern New Jersey. Christmas at home in Louisiana.

2020

My resolutions are mostly personal, and nothing especially notable: Exercise more, eat less, stick to a budget, go to the doctor more regularly, save more, write more, finish a goddamn screenplay. Become more autonomous at work, keep up with my scrapbooks, sleep enough, keep in better touch with the people in my life, spend less time on my phone. Read more history, grow something, practice French, learn Spanish, avoid toxic people, stay organized, volunteer, visit one museum a month. Control myself, take only what I need from it.

I doubt I’ll meaningfully accomplish all or even most of these, but that’s alright. I’d like to make some positive changes, of course, and achieve some goals, but resolutions aren’t necessarily about the achieving for me. They are about the striving. About the conscious, concerted, mindful effort to be better. So here, now, that’s all I really resolve for 2020. Be better than I was in 2019. Try. Believe, as the Counting Crows told me, maybe this year will be better than the last.

And I do believe it. I think 2020 has good things in store. Finally seeing Hamilton for the first time, my first Sundance, my first Valentine’s Day/anniversary with AK. Trips to Thailand, Cambodia, Brazil and Argentina. More art, more travel, more growth.

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Lots to look forward to.

Here’s looking.

xx

JB