I thought 2015 was going to be my year. Here’s how it really went.

Kara McCartney

I never liked New Years Eve.

I don’t like the lines, the sparkly clothes, and the obscene cover charges. I hate thinking about my crowded gym in the weeks to come.

Last night, I went shopping with Herald for outfits. I tried on three different dresses and wasn’t thrilled by any one. While standing in line at Macy’s, all I could say was, “I hate nights with expectations.”

The past year was not easy for me.

One day, I’ll write the entire story, but here are a few highlights: I lived in three different states (my taxes are going to be a nightmare to file). I furnished two apartments. I dropped one thousand dollars my first night in DC to have my new apartment exterminated for bed bugs.

A few months ago, my friend Keena and I clinked champagne glasses in her apartment when she asked, “Kara, do you ever congratulate yourself on how you landed on your feet?”

I didn’t. “No. I just choose not to think about it,” I responded.

Which is impressive in and of itself, because I am the queen of overthinking.

I started job searching toward the end of 2014. By early January, I found myself torn between two job offers. I tried visualizing myself in each position—debating which would make me feel more accomplished, happy, successful; whatever. I called my aunt for advice, and after I rattled off my two possible scenarios her only response was, “Kara, nothing you’re saying is even real.”

Isn’t that crazy?

We spend so much of our day thinking about things that never happened and may never happen in the future.

When we finish a project at work, we predict our boss’s reaction before we e-mail the file. We anticipate arguments with coworkers, roommates, and friends before anyone vocalizes a complaint. When we go on vacation, or receive a visit from friends/family, we hype ourselves up and become disappointed when things don’t go as planned.

When it’s New Years Eve, we buy expensive dresses and drop money on bottle service anticipating an extraordinary night, when it could very well be a bust.

I had a lot of expectations for 2015. Nothing (I mean, nothing) went as planned.

If, a year ago, you had told me I would sit in a coffee shop in DC typing this, I never would have believed you. Just as my aunt warned me, nothing I visualized for the upcoming year was real.

My New Year’s resolution is to not have expectations. Not because I plan to cut myself slack or stop fighting for the life I want—but because I have enough on my plate already. I want to deal with situations that are actually real, and when something unexpected happens, I’ll handle it. There is no way I could have predicted how 2015 laid out, and no matter how carefully and precisely I try, 2016 won’t turn out the way I plan either.

I don’t want to have expectations so I can appreciate things as they come. With the exception of a massive bill from Uhaul on my Discover card, and a closet full of wrinkly clothes from the 80 loads of laundry I did to get rid of bed bugs, this year turned out ok. For once, rather than tell myself I’ll have a six-pack by February, or do two-a-days at the gym, or write in my blog every single day, I want to think about what is going on around me right now. Right now, I can spend $3 on a coffee, host a pregame in my cute apartment, and look half decent in a dress. Those are all real things.

I resolved to not have expectations because no matter how hard you plan, things never turn out the way you expect.

Have a great New Year, Kara

1 Comment
  1. Well said. I hate New Year’s Eve too, for many of the same reasons. We always put so many expectations on events that are “notable” (Why? For example, why are we supposed to ring in a fresh new year absolutely trashed? I’ll pass) that they can never live up to, even under the best circumstances. I hope I can be more like you in 2016: ready to tackle whatever comes my way and making the best of all of it. Happy new year, buddy!

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