Happy New Year!

Okay, so I’m nearly a month late with a sentiment that’s hardly original. And darn! One of the New Year’s resolutions I was toying with making was to be more on time. Well, you see how that’s going.

Actually, I was thinking a lot about this new decade and the idea of resolutions. Every year, I resolve not to make any stupid resolutions, and every year they seem to sneak into my brain anyway. Even though I don’t tell anyone my New Year’s resolutions any more, I still privately make them and then get publicly depressed when I don’t manage to keep them. Of course, they’re never things like: “be kinder to yourself”, or “have more fun.” No, no, part of the thing about New Year’s resolutions, it seems to me, is that they come out of some perverse need for punishment. They come out of not being happy as I am. So the voice in my head goes: “Lose 50 pounds!” or “Exercise every day!” or, my particular favorite,  “Stop being so hard on yourself and by god, if you don’t, I’ll REALLY beat you,”—which, come to think of it, is just a new twist on the age-old, “You stop crying right now, or I’ll give you something to cry about!”

Clearly, my inner drill sergeant has some mother issues.

But be that as it may, as I was ruminating about what I could resolve to do to make my life better, I got to thinking about the past decade. According to all the news magazines and radio heads—or anyway, Time and NPR which are my only sources of news, the decade between 2000 and 2010 was just horrific, epically disastrous on nearly every level. And I have to agree. Between 9/11, Katrina, Iraq, the BP oil spill, the Indonesian tidal wave, Darfur, etc. etc., not to mention the insidious rise of people like Paris Hilton, Sarah Palin and Justin Beiber, the whole decade seemed like one prolonged nightmare.

Except that mine wasn’t. 

Oh—it could have been.  I’m amazed, looking back, that it wasn’t a conflagration of the sort that the rest of the world was experiencing. Let me tell you how the decade began.

At the time, my husband and I were having an absolutely crappy time in our relationship. We felt completely disconnected from one another, each steeped our own separate misery. The holidays of 1999 had been lousy—we’d had 32 people over to Thanksgiving dinner that year, and the turkey was so big that the oven wouldn’t close, the result being that the turkey never actually got done. Was that also the year Albert and his mom had a fight during dinner? Maybe. We went to New York over the holidays, where my husband fell into deep regret about his career and sad nostalgia about the time he’d spent in that amazing city; and I fell into a deeper funk about my career or lack thereof. I solved all of this in the time-honored way of semi-alcoholics everywhere: I drank copious amounts of alcohol. I told myself it was only social drinking. Which it was if being home alone and killing off a bottle of chardonnay night after night is considered social. Good times.

Then came New Year’s Eve. We were spending it with friends in Santa Barbara who had an estate. They asked us to invite a bunch of friends up from Los Angeles, saying that our (actor) friends would make an interesting mix with their business friends. So a whole gaggle of us were up there for the weekend, just pretty much partying non-stop.  And my husband ended up…

…well, I won’t bore you with the details (although many of those details are salacious as hell and wouldn’t likely bore you—but—well, it all gets a little unseemly.)

The upshot was that my husband and I got to enjoy the opportunity to re-evaluate every single thing about our marriage. Which, as you know if you’ve ever been married, is just as much fun as repeatedly and deliberately slamming your fingers in  a car door. And not just any car. A big ol’ Buick.

During the aftermath of that tumultuous millennial weekend I remember saying to Albert: “The thing is, we’re both actors! We’re both totally addicted to drama. But—maybe we could find some drama in other things besides drinking too much, acting out and brooding over lost career opportunities. Maybe we could have drama in other ways. Like…maybe we could buy a house. Or travel the world. Or have a baby. Maybe we could get our drama from starting a theatre company or getting better jobs doing what we love. Maybe we could have the drama of having lots of money instead of the drama of always being on the edge.”

And you know what’s weird? We did every single one of those things. In the last decade, we somehow came to the conclusion (resolution) that the drama works better on the stage. Or rather, that you can still have tons of drama in your life that is all focused on stuff that’s actually fun and exciting instead of melancholic and destructive. And then—we made all of those things happen. It wasn’t really that conscious. I hadn’t actually realized it until I thought back about the decade. We’d actually done ALL of our New Year’s resolutions, just by finding our way back to each other and by changing our minds about the nature of drama.

I don’t know if that will work for global warming or for the general craziness of the world. But—I don’t know that it won’t, either.  The need for drama seems to escalate the need for argument, that’s for sure. Wouldn’t it be exciting if the world could re-think drama? Focus on the drama of everyone doing work they love for fair pay? But I digress…

So this year, my resolution is just to come up with more ideas of what will be fun. What will be exciting and dramatic for me? I’m making a list. And in 2020, I’ll bet a ton of it will have come true without me even resolving to do anything except keep moving in the direction of what I really love.

So go ahead, make your list. Just, for god’s sake, keep the crazy-making drama out of it! Aim for comedy, that’s my new motto. Or at least dramedy.  Here’s to fun drama. May we all create a whole decade—make that lifetime—of it.

This entry was posted on Saturday, January 22nd, 2011 at 6:44 pm and is filed under Blog. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


One Response to “Happy New Year!”

  1. Kelly Peters Says:

    Well, more words of brilliance Sonja… Whenever I am in a funk about anything anymore, it really comes down to not having enough fun. Always, always…always. Thanks for the boost!

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