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.