Anker: Self-reflection is necessary year-round

Marcie Anker

Marcie AnkerAh, welcome back my loyal readers. I bet you thought you’d seen, or read, the last of me.

I hope all of your breaks have been as unproductive and uneventful as mine. I’d like to say that I have something of interest to share with you, but unfortunately, that is not the case. I’ve slept until noon, eaten far too many burritos and read the collected works of Jennifer Egan. I could say that I’ve made a resolution to correct these character flaws, but I think New Year’s resolutions are pointless.

If anything, 2013 is already a hassle for me because I have to make the switch from writing 2012 on all my papers to writing 2013. But typically, the new year means new “resolutions” for the more ambitious creatures among us – but not me. To me, 2013 means another year of refusing to give in to Twitter – #overmydeadbody. I mean, sure, I’ve tried doing the whole New Year’s resolution thing. I’m going to go to the gym five times a week, I’m going to stop eating mac and cheese every night, I’m going to give up food for a month, I’m going read more books, I’m going to learn how to read, I’m going to finally learn the difference between communism and socialism and I’m going to learn whether or not “New Year’s resolution” is capitalized. We’ve all been there.

But, I’ve decided to be more realistic with myself this year. If there is one thing I’m going to resolve to do, it’s this: I resolve to no longer pass harsh judgment on those unfortunate souls who use Instagram to take artistic shots of their morning coffee. It’s not their fault, it’s society’s. There. I said it.

Why do we have to wait for a new year to make changes in our lives? And most of the time, they aren’t even useful changes; they’re ridiculous life-altering changes like “I’m going to lose 200 pounds in three weeks,” or “I’m going to make myself unrecognizable to the world in my pursuit to become Scarlett Johansson.”

Junior theater major, JT Murtagh, shares my sentiments.

“As far as setting New Year’s resolutions, I don’t think they are worth it. I believe it’s setting someone up for failure. Most people choose ridiculous resolutions like losing an enormous amount of weight or changing something else drastic about their personality or life,” Murtagh said. “When it comes to resolutions I don’t usually make any. When a friend asked me if I was planning on any resolutions, I said, ‘Being the same badass I was this past year.’”

That’s my kind of resolution.

The other night at dinner, my mother, after a few glasses of wine, insisted that we go around the table and share what each of our resolutions were for the new year, citing that hers was to learn Gaelic. After gently suggesting that perhaps she amend that resolution to enjoying one glass of wine at dinner instead of three, the conversation turned sour. How can I be expected to keep a straight face when my mother, in all seriousness, tells me she has resolved to learn Gaelic? Is that still even a language?

My point is, that is how I feel when I read Facebook status updates where people detail their newly minted plans to save the world or revive Latin. Choosing small, doable, and necessary changes are far more beneficial. Which is why, on top of my Instagram resolution, I further resolve to – drumroll, please – turn my column in on time.

You’re probably wondering why I’m not mentioning any theater-related resolutions. After all, that’s what I do, right? Right. But theater resolutions are obvious: audition more, read more plays, write more, network more – more, more, more. I should be doing all of these things regardless of resolutions. However, I can understand why some people like to make resolutions. Especially in theater, resolutions often manifest into challenges that actors set for themselves.

Senior theater major Anna Lou Hearn has set a challenge, rather than a goal, for herself.

“I want to conquer comedy for the first time in my next show. I’ve really only ever played the ‘injured young woman’ part and I’m excited to overcome the obstacle in this new challenge,” Hearn said.

Hearn will be appearing in the Temple theater department’s upcoming production of “The Liar” by David Ives this February. And, whether she knows it or not, Hearn is already quite a funny gal, especially when she gets angry and hits me.

Junior theater major Emily R. Johnson is far more eloquent than I in describing her relationship with resolutions.

“New Year’s resolutions are necessary. I make them every day of the New Year. Self-reflection ought to be practiced often. What gets tricky is when people stop continuing to improve themselves because they start their resolutions late or break them early on,” she said.

I couldn’t agree more. We shouldn’t only practice self-reflection once a year, it should be a continuous process.

As far as Johnson’s own personal resolutions go, she said, “I spend most of my time exercising my mind and preparing it to withstand the experiences that my characters’ lives demand me to experience. However, I am not confident that my body can handle sense memory and emotional recall the way that my mind can. Therefore, I’m going to work on my health, hydration and fitness so I won’t be held back by physical weakness.”

I should probably follow Johnson’s lead with resolutions that better me and my craft; but, alas, my resolution quota is full for 2013.

So, whatever your own resolutions may be, it’s important to remember these two things: I’m still poor, and I’m still hungry. Resolve that.

Good day.

Marcie Anker can be reached at martha.anker@temple.edu.

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