Someone recently said to me the world would be better if women were more open about what they want and what they didn’t. The observation certainly calls out a fault with current/evolving gender roles and expectations as well as social norms. Our culture frequently supports donning a positive demeanor and being open to others’ requests at the expense of our own selves, like southern hospitality run amok. To ask for things is greedy. To expect that your standard be met by someone is selfish. I realize that many things in relationships need to be a negotiation, but your basic principles need not be. We shouldn’t surrender our own needs to please others, whether they be family, colleagues, friends, or romantic partners. Sometimes displeasing another can ultimately be a service to you both, forcing the readjustment of expectations. To circle back to the initial comment, people can’t really be happy unless they start feeling more comfortable admitting out loud what they want and what they don’t.
In the spirit of committing to being my truest, happiest self this year I’d like to openly think about and consider these categories.
In Life: WANT
- Travel adventures: From European metropolises with cobblestone and old houses that are too close together, to snowy national parks where I can camp under the pine trees. I want to traverse busy streets and watch the northern lights and lounge on gulf beaches and climb pyramid ruins. If I can’t afford to leave the country this year while I work on my credit debt, I’ll plan circuits for national park tours and lodges.
- Fitness: I want to do more than fall in and out of fads and quick fixes. I want to make my fitness strategies a regular routine. Living alone now, no one can interfere with my progress except myself. There are no more scapegoats.
- Continued financial growth: I don’t want to be rich. I’ve never wanted that. My goals for financial growth are to make enough to be comfortable, do the things I want to do, and never have to stress about funds. The ability to put money away for a rainy day would be great too.
- Cultivate experiences: I want to continue what’s been an amazing decade of cultivating happy, memorable experiences, both on my own and with friends or partners. Experiences and happiness over things, always. Say Yes to indulgence.
- Peace of mind: I need to focus on my own happiness, progress, prosperity, and nature. Never get lost in the petty details, and never give excessively of my time to the nefarious siphons of others. Take care of myself.
Pinterest mosaic of my 2018 aesthetics
In Life: DON’T WANT
- Kids: The stresses of childbirth, care-taking, and family building. At least, not this decade while there’s still so much independent life to live. Maybe later ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
- A breached inner sanctum: Poor choices for friends and acquaintances that are toxic, controlling, untrustworthy, or altogether bad influences on my time, priorities, and emotions.
- Uncomfortable workplace environment: It may be easy to win a battle, but it makes the war unbearable. I need to be a team player at all times, avoid shining at the expense of colleagues just to be the one that was “right”, and never try to take someone down. It’s just not worth it and puts my goals in jeopardy.
- Irresponsible habits: As I fight down my debt, I’ve done a great job excising a few old habits that added zero value to my life but monopolized resources. Good riddance, I say, and let’s continue fighting those urges in 2018.
In a Partner: WANT
- Expressive and outgoing: Let’s face it: I’m a lot. I want a partner who can keep up with my energy and spontaneity (dare I say, my capriciousness???)
- Amenable to change: Strong principles are important, and I do value those. But it’s also important not to take your rigid positions to your grave. When new evidence presents itself, one must be willing to adapt one’s perspective to include that evidence and accept a change in perspective.
- Tender: Has feelings and is not afraid to tap into them. This is connected to good listening skills, so I’ll include that here also.
- Responsible: His maturity and independence must reflect his age.
- Live and breathe humor: Life is a comedy; nobody gets out alive. We need to be able to laugh together, always.
- Socially aware and empathetic: His thoughts on immigration should be more educated and critical than a few paltry, black and white talking points that sound like “just come here legally”. He should be thoughtful, empathetic, and open to the concerns of his fellow humans.
- Geeky AF: And, here’s a hill that I’ll die on. At the same time that he’s geeky, he needs to also not be a pretentious gatekeeper about it. How can you love me if you simultaneously question my authenticity; if you think my identity and hobbies are nothing but performance? Let’s share our hobbies and hope we perk the others’ interests in new things! Explore geekdom together! There is room for everyone, and endless new fandoms to discover.
- Lumberjack aesthetic: Not required, but it sure helps.
In a Partner: DON’T WANT
- Narcissism: Now that I’ve developed a radar for this personality type, at least I can avoid it in the future.
- Emotional problems: I can’t get sucked into any more caretaker roles. My personality demands that I give, and boy… do these people take.
- Indoorsy: My interests lately seem to revolve around nature: national parks, regular parks, beaches, and/or roughing it. He needs to want to live this life with me, not just put up with it. Snow, rain, cloudy, or shine–let’s go out in it!
- Triflin’: At the first sign of a conflict-oriented demeanor, I’m out. My lifestyle goals don’t involve petty quarreling and losing ourselves in the details.
- Endless dietary restrictions (and won’t manage their own diets, if they have an issue): I love to cook. Don’t be a pain in my ass. And if you do have a special restriction, manage it for yourself. I’m not your in-home caretaker.
- Religious and serious about it: Being atheist affects everything that I am–my values, my priorities, the way I process experiences, and the way I plan for the future. My outlook on life just doesn’t jive with those susceptible to faith.
- Gender Fluidity: Unfortunately, I was successfully indoctrinated by societal gender norms. I’ve learned through trial and error that I do, in fact, require a man to have more body hair than myself and to wear less makeup than I do. My own jealous nature requires exclusive rights to the feminine features and accouterments. And, as it turns out, I need a man to be more interested in my ass than his own (mild shock).
- Hobbies that c o n s u m e: Hobbies are great. They accent your life and add to your general happiness. They should not consume you to the extent that you go weeks without speaking to your significant other. They should not become your sole identity trait. They should not drive you to think of your friends and loved ones as mere vehicles for praise of your work. And, most poignantly: I should not have to take on your hobby just to get your attention.