about an old New Year's resolution

My lucky number is 13. Cliché, I know. But I didn’t choose it—my parents, who met on November 13 and got married on April 13, bequeathed it to me.

Thirteen’s fortuitous nature has followed me my entire life: I got my driver’s license on the thirteenth, I got into college on the thirteenth; throughout high school, I carried myself proudly as a member of the Class of 2013.

New Year’s Eve 2012 came and went in a blur of faux fur coats, fairly lights, and cheap liquor. I had no need for resolutions because 2013 was going to be my time: I figured that the suffix pre-destined it to be the best of my life. 

It probably isn’t surprising that, like many over-hyped expectations, 2013 didn’t quite pan out the way I had expected. I kicked it off by turning down a one-of-a-kind opportunity to spend the summer with my then-boyfriend, only to feel him pulling away with every passing month; I spent my graduation ceremony worrying about whether he wanted me to sit next to him. Three weeks later, he dumped me.

For me, 2013 existed in two extremes: whether he wanted me at that particular moment or didn’t. My first semester of college was peppered with drunken voicemails and empty promises. 

On New Year’s Eve 2013, after months of back-and-forth, we officially ended our relationship. With all moods, extremes, and breaks considered, we had been some form of “together” for exactly thirteen months.

As he walked out the door, leaving me to sit in a room that suddenly felt like a graveyard, I realized how easy it would be to chalk it all up to a spectacular waste of time. The year was a wash, my number had let me down, and I needed to accept that.

But it felt like a betrayal. I decided once again that 2013 would be my year; the effects would just take a little while to set in. 

I scribbled haphazardly in my journal, “2014 resolution: love myself, not him.”

It was the first resolution I ever managed to keep. 2014 may have been the year of self-forgiveness and self-care, of learning how to unclasp my clenched fingers, of remembering that not every night needs to end with a sunset—but it was the events of 2013 that led me to those triumphs. It helped me realized that I am so much more than a person looking for love. Committing myself to that four-word promise was, at that point, my most concrete step towards adulthood and a much-needed transformation.

Many people brush off New Year’s resolutions as misplaced and fruitless; I look at them as quiet revolutions. The calendar may be humankind’s social construct, but the courage to move forward and self-define is very real. If a countdown or a ball-drop helps light the fire under your ass, then all the more reason to don a sparkly dress and bright pink heels.