14 Things I’m Giving Up in 2014

The past week has been unusually warm in Manhattan. The air feels crisp and inviting, the atmosphere of the streets lively and fresh, and the people – myself included – invigorated for a New Year. I always make resolutions and oddly enough, I do actually keep them. There’s something about January 1 that makes me feel like I get a second chance (or a 26th one…) to improve bad habits or start great ones.

In 2012, I spent a lot of time holding back and not compromising. If my friends wanted to go out, I almost always selfishly insisted on the west side so I’d have an easier commute. If I was asked out on a date by a potentially wonderful man – but he suggested the Lower East Side on a Tuesday – I would have politely declined. But in 2013, I made a vow to say “yes” more – and that’s exactly what I did:

I said “yes” to Mexico in April. I said “yes” to late nights and early mornings. Yes to training for (and completing!) a half-marathon. Yes to kissing a nameless man on the corner of West 4th at 2 a.m. Yes to walking all the way across the park with Lucy in tow to the east side to visit friends. Yes to going all the way to Brooklyn for brunch — and thoroughly enjoying myself. Yes to trips to North Carolina three times, yes to new foods and new drinks, new clothes I normally wouldn’t wear, yes, yes, yes!

But in 2013, I also said “yes” to a lot of negativity.

And even more fear. I said “yes” to those really terrible thoughts that made me feel like everything that could possibly go wrong, did. I said “yes” at the expense of myself, sometimes sacrificing what I really wanted to make someone – anyone – happy. I said “yes” to thinking the absolute worst in every situation, every person, every date that left a bad taste in my mind. I did learn how to take those chances and change my attitude, but in ways that made me stronger.. and weaker, too.

What I want the most out of 2014 is to be happy. And so many things can contribute to happiness: health, friends, career, love, travel, new experiences. I don’t want to limit myself or put pressure on a timeline, but I do want to live better. I want to live with the same kind of passion, that same drive and hopefulness that made me who I am and made me a success in New York. I miss that beat in my step, that faith in my heart, that smart, sharp, kind, enthusiastic spirit that made me feel unstoppable.

And to get that firecracker Tigar back, I need to let go of some very small and very big things that are holding me back or keeping me down. These aren’t quite resolutions – just a little guide to help me along the new journey of 2014. Because really, with some of these out-of-the-way, my resolution to be happy again, might just be a reality.

In no particular order, here are 14 things I’m giving up in 2014:

1- Duck Face
Guilty as charged: if you stalk my Instagram, you’ll see so many duck face examples, it’s quite embarrassing. Sure, it can be cute. If you’re, like, 15, not, ya know, 25.

2- Investing in People Who Don’t Invest in Me
One of the hardest lessons I’ve had to learn as an adult is that friendships change. We all expect relationships to be difficult, life-changing experiences, but friendships are that way too. Even if you’ve been friends for years or just a short period of time, if someone isn’t making your life better by being in it, then get them out. People who are worth your time, will make time to invest in you.

3- Biting My Tongue
Maybe it’s my recently damped self-confidence or just the anxiety of saying the wrong thing, but in my life and in my career, I’ve had a tendency to not say what I really think. But this year, it’s time to lean in. I can’t move up – or move forward – by being silent.

4- Hitting Snooze
I desperately want to be a morning runner but snuggling in bed with Lucy is so much nicer than a 6:30 a.m. wake up call. But think of all the time I’d have to do things post-work if I got that 3-5 miler finished before my morning coffee!

5- Having Another Drink When I Don’t Want One
Sure, Saturday nights are great for having a bit too much. But a random Wednesday? With a guy I know I will never, ever want to go out with again? Forget saving feelings or following the crowd, my liver demands better. And I’d rather have less of those paralyzing hangovers post-25.

6- Judging People For Their Choices
I try my very best to be understanding and considerate, but it’s human nature to raise an eyebrow when a friend (or even a stranger) does something that isn’t quite the route you’d take in the same situation. You can’t change people, you can only be honest and caring, and thus, changing yourself. We’re each climbing our own hill and we’ll all get to the top in our own way.

7- Forgetting to Dream
I put in the hard work to get to New York and once I landed in my little apartment with my big NBC job and my big, popular blog, I sat down. It’s time to get up. I’m not finished yet – I’m merely getting started.

8- Buying Lunch Every Day
I work in Chelsea Market. For New Yorkers, I need not say more. For everyone else: imagine every delicious, decadent, expensive food you could ever imagine – from lobster to truffle tacos – a few steps away from you every. single. day. I could save so much more money (and travel so much more often) if I could plan ahead better.

9- Keeping Up My Routine
I’m a Virgo, and I love, love, love plans. I’m often the person sending out a group e-mail, trying to get my friends on-board to a new idea. But I go back to the same restaurants. I do basically the same thing every weekend. Not anymore though: I already signed up for Italian lessons and philosophy (yes, philosophy!) lessons. Time to switch it up.

10- Using the Word “Should”
It’s a dangerous word, that one. And it creeps it’s way into every worry I have: I should make more money. I should be thinner. I should have a boyfriend by now. I should live alone at this point in my life. I should save this extra $100. I should be more responsible. The only should I’ll say this year is: I should be me, exactly how I am today.

11- Getting Angry Over Things I Can’t Control
Like a long line at Starbucks. Or train delays. Or friends bailing at the last second. Or a guy with an attitude problem. Or people who don’t agree with me. Or the fact I’ll never be a size two (this girl has hips for miles). If I can find peace in every moment, I can find peace in every outcome.

12- Mentioning the Mr’s + Relying On Tinder
I’ve wasted far too much space (in my heart and on this blog) on the Mr’s I used to love. It’s time to let go of what was so I can find what will be. The archives will always be there. On the other hand, I can’t just rely on a dating app that’s basically “hot or not” to provide me with quality dating material. Bye, bye iTunes Store dating. Hello, just getting out of the apartment and into life.

13- Focusing on What’s Hard Instead of What’s Good
If everything was smooth sailing and easy, then would I appreciate the life I’ve built? If I never had to say good-bye to a friend because they moved on their own or because they were forced? If I never had my heart-broken or my dreams crushed? If I never cried out of frustration or desperation? If I never heard really bad, scary news? Life will always have it’s hard parts, but it’s never without goodness. I just have to breathe enough to feel it.

14- Being Afraid To Do It Alone
My friends won’t always want to volunteer at the soup kitchen with me. Or go to that new pub around the corner. Or sign up for a pizza making class or join a running group. But instead of dwelling in the fear of going alone, I choose to dwell in the possibility that something really amazing can come from taking a leap of faith. After all, that’s what I used to do every single day before I developed my life here.

Surely, I can do it again. Surely, I can do it with even more courage. Surely, I can open my heart to the New Year, and the new me, that’s waiting in 2014.

Second-Hand Flowers

Life is funny sometimes.

Last week, I wrote about how my co-worker, J, was sent flowers to work and the jealousy that spewed out of me because of it (FYI- he was sent flowers 3 days in a row…not kidding. Yeah, I know –my jaw dropped too). At the time, I was so annoyed and sad that someone didn’t send me flowers or that no one was thinking of me or just that…there is no one who is even a possibility in my life right now.

And then this week, I was sent second-hand flowers. Now –I’m not complaining in the least. Flowers are flowers and seeing them sit so elegantly on my desk brings a smile to my face, not to mention they smell incredible.

But –I was the second person to receive them. Mr. Unavailable’s grand gesture didn’t sit well with his ex and so she returned the $200 chocolates and the bouquet of beautiful oriential lilies to him. Even though his heart was aching something awful, he sent me a message that said:

“You know how you told me you believe all that’s meant to be will be? Well I think these are ending up right where they were to be: with someone who appreciates and deserves them.

Now, don’t get excited –it’s not a love signal or come-on, but more just a sincere and kind way of giving these items to someone who would like them instead of just throwing them away. I’m positive he didn’t want to look at them anymore and I don’t blame him. They arrived in my office, just as they arrived at her doorstep, and my co-workers enjoyed the champagne truffles (as did I) while I placed the lilies in water.

All flowers represent something, and though he gave her lilies because they are her favorite, they actually mean: “very simple and beautiful, the universal symbol of beauty, an expression of decadence, purity and innocent beauty.”

Central theme? Beauty.

Lilies are also often used at funerals, symbolizing the end of one life and the start of a new one –something I think is very fitting to this program. I’m starting over, in a sense, trying to cultivate a new attitude and loving myself for all the beauty I have (inside and out), and going down a new path.

I’m learning to believe in my own beauty and in what I have to offer, and more importantly, I’m starting to trust in the beauty of destiny or fate, as Mr. Unavailable noted. These flowers were not purchased with me in mind, but they ended up with me. By accident? I don’t really think so.

Without pushing or pulling or wondering or pleading or dreaming –flowers ended up my desk, exactly a week-to-the-day I was steaming with envy about someone else receiving flowers. And I’ve been feeling down about my looks lately and these specific flower represents all things beautiful and pure.

Step 2 is about learning to having faith in a higher power that is capable of getting rid of negativity and self-defeating thoughts and actions. That this higher power can bring me peace and sanity…and love of course.

Yesterday, as I was cleaning up around my desk, I noticed that one of the lilies had bloomed. It was so absolutely gorgeous that I touched it to make sure it was real:  It radiated a fragrance that fills up my little space and I swear it is the whitest flower I’ve ever seen. I was so amazed by the simple bloom that I brought the flowers around to my co-workers, E & J to show them what happened overnight.

These 12-steps aren’t going to happen in 24-hours, in a few weeks, or even a few months –but they will happen.

And with this gorgeous, flourishing, and enchanting flower right in front of me –I know there is someone up there guiding me in the process. There is someone who is helping me to come out of my own comfortable bud and routine, and bloom into the person I was meant to be. This intoxicating and brand-new bloom symbolizes me.

It’s just going to take a little shower of self-love and the glowing light of hope. After all, all things grow with love –even if it’s second-hand gestures and self-admiration. Right?