With the New Year descending upon us like glitter falling in Times Square, we all need to prepare for one thing: New Years Resolutions. Prepare yourselves for newsfeeds, Pinterest boards, and reblogs about everything people want to change about themselves. In this kind of self-improvement storm, it can be easy to get swept away in fixation on every flaw you didn’t even know you had. There will be hundreds of articles on what you need to do to be a better human—but it’s also important to remember the things you’re already doing amazingly at.
1. Giving love to your people.
The hundreds of texts you send to your best friends, the ugly snapchats that leave you laughing well after they’ve disappeared, and the “this is so you” links posted on Facebook are of so much value. People dismiss all these things as not real or valid— but these things make us laugh and feel loved. Being there for your people in whatever way you can is amazing and something you never need to change.
2. Enjoying your faves.
Cookie dough bites, weird jokes on Tumblr, and crunchy leaves to step on—these are a few of my favorite things. Chances are, you have your own distinctive favorite things that make your life more fun everyday. Appreciating the cool factors that make your life something you love is key to being happy.
3. Funny tweets.
Or funny Buzzfeed articles, or funny Vines, or funny people. Laughing is akin to living, and whatever comedy gets you is what you need to keep around. For real.
4. Working towards something.
Articles will tell you you’re not doing enough, or this ten-year old just cured something, or “Twenty Steps: How to Be So Successful You Can Bathe In Money, Nobel Prizes, and Fur Coats.” The world and others may tell you you’re not doing enough, or not doing it in the right order, or—just flat out—will tell you you’re wrong. Chances are you are actually working toward some goal or dream, and are not actually lazy. Keep working towards your summit, and don’t let the standards of others keep you too bogged down—everyone’s path is different and crooked.
5. #Treating yourself.
In the same way that it is important to give love to people, it is also crucial to take care of yourself. It can be easy to think we need to focus on other all the time, but we can’t forget ourselves. If we aren’t feeling good, then we can’t fully give to others either.
6. Trying to understand others.
If you have ever had someone be a straight up jerk to you and tried to understand why they were acting like that—congratulations. You have the rare trait of empathy, and maybe did not even know it. If you can relate to others, you’re one of the forces that moves the world toward being a better place. That is no small feat.
7. Embarrassing yourself.
If you have a story (or, in my case, MANY stories) that could accurately be summarized as “FML,” then you are living correctly. Embarrassments usually come from taking risks, but they always end in a funny story that others can relate to.
I’m going to quote a key movie from the last decade—the moving Another Cinderella Story, starring the beacon of our generation, Hillary Duff: “Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.” (FYI, this is actually a Babe Ruth quote, just so you know). If you aren’t failing, then you aren’t trying as hard as you could be. If you’re not trying—why not?
9. Laughing too much/ inappropriately/ loudly.
Since I was 2, I have had the belly laugh of an overly giddy evil witch. It is both a blessing and a curse. However strange or annoying my laugh may be, I still utilize it to the fullest. If your laugh sounds like a seal, a trash compactor, or like a sneezing mouse—use it. Laugh whenever and wherever*** you can—even if you’re the only one laughing.
***Please don’t laugh at funerals though.
10. Having obsessions.
When I was 12, I had a problem—I was obsessed with Webkinz. I still get (lovingly) made fun of for it. Regardless, back in the day it brought me happiness, and I pursued that. There is probably some strange entity that you, too, are consumed by, and people do not get it. It doesn’t matter. Let yourself be an unabashed fangirl of your obsessions, and let your passion consume you. Everything else is boring as hell.
11. Netflixing an entire series.
This takes commitment. Never let anyone tell you differently—they are just jealous.
12. Wasting time.
Tumblr, reading, goofing off, playing highly elaborate pranks similar to Ashton Kutcher’s Punk’d—pick your poison. As John Lennon said, if you enjoy the time you’re wasting, then you aren’t really wasting it at all.
13. Loving openly.
This one is hard and scary and rife with potential heartache. It is also the only way to really love. If you are giving your heart to people and feel like you love by the love slogan WWTSD: What Would Taylor Swift Do?, then you are doing it right. Giving love to others, even if you do not get it back, will always be a beautiful way to live.
14. Trying new things.
Do you remember when gaucho pants—the elastic-banded, tent-like ancestor of yoga pants—were a big trend back in the day? Yeah, I try to forget them too. Well, junior high me decided it would be a great idea to try the trend. It looked horrendous. However, it was fun to take a risk. If you stepped out of your small comfort box this year, you did some excellent work and should be proud of that.
15. Being yourself.
I hate myself for ending on a cliché, but there is a reason why clichés stick around—they’re contain a lot of truth. All of the items on this list boil down into this one item. The phrase “be true to who you are” is thrown around like a cure-all self-esteem Band-Aid. However, I’m not telling you to “be yourself” for you—I want you to be yourself for me. This advice is entirely selfish. You see, what I learned in 2014 is there are so many incredible humans walking around out in this world. Please don’t deny me, or anyone else you may run into, the distinctive joy of who you are as a person. You have a vast and delightful array of flaws, talents, oddities, and quirks. In 2015, let people know that person—the person who does not really need to change anything.