Stop Squashing Everyone Else’s New Years Resolutions

Photography by Daniel Collopy with additional Photography by Orlando Soria

nyr-1Dear Hommemakers,

It’s been a while since we corresponded. Don’t worry, I’m not going to be one of those bloggers who shows up after months and makes excuses for why I was gone. I know that ultimately that always ends up sounding like when you run into your friend and she talks about how she’s so busy and hasn’t had time to respond to your texts and in your head you’re like “BUT I’M BUSY TOO! DO YOU JUST THINK I’M SITTING AROUND TEXTING YOU AND LIKING EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOUR STUPID INSTAGRAMS? NO, I TAKE IMPORTANT TIME OUT FROM BEING TEXTED BY OTHER PEOPLE AND HAVING OTHER PEOPLE LIKE MY INSTAGRAMS TO CALL YOU. MY TIME IS VALUABLE!” I genuinely wish that people could say they were busy and there wasn’t baggage around it, but I guess that’s impossible. So I’m not gonna say that. I’m just gonna be like “hi!” and get one with it.

Anyway, the only reason I even bought up that I haven’t written in a while is that writing and resurrecting Hommemaker is one of my New Years Resolutions. I’ve always loved new years rezzies, but I’ve noticed a lot of resolution-hating going on this year, both on social media in different editorials (see New Years Resolutions Are Stupid and New Years Resolutions Are Stupid and Here’s Why). The two aforementioned articles seem a little tired and baseless (also, wasn’t Business Insider, like a real publication at some point? I feel like all they publish is clickbait these days). On the other hand, some of the posts making fun of resolutions have been brilliant. My favorite was written by Leah Eades, which lampoons heartfelt (but semi-self-righteous) pieces by Tobias van Schneider and Kelly Fitzgerald about how giving up alcohol changed their lives and made them better than everyone else.

There seems to be, at this time of year (right after all the traditions and icons of the holidays), a rebellion against contrivance. People don’t want to be asked the same questions over and over again. “What did you do for Christmas? Are you ready to be back at work? Did you make any New Year’s resolutions?” I can kind of understand why someone would be totally bored by these questions. But at the same time what else are you supposed to ask casual acquaintances when you see them for the first time after being gone from work for ten days?

Regardless of whether they work, I’m into New Year’s resolutions. Firstly, because it makes sense right after the most decadent time of the year to be like “Alright, let’s press the reset button and start fresh.” Also, like ninety-nine percent of resolutions are health-related. Being that we just spent the past month and a half trying to get as obese as possible, a healthy start to the year isn’t a bad idea. Plus, it’s a lot easier to eat healthy when you don’t have to go to holiday parties or drink at home alone because you weren’t invited to any (I did both this year). January finally brings a minute to spend some time not eating garbage food. Why not use the motivation that’s built into New Year’s Resolution peer pressure?

Anyway, to make a long story short, I see no reason to look down on other people and their resolutions. Yes, statistically speaking most of us will fail, but there is inherent value in at least trying, taking a moment to figure out what we think is important. In that spirit, I’ve come up with my own list of resolutions. Here we go:

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Stop Assuming Bad Things Are Happening

I have a tendency to always assume something horrible is either happening or about to happen. I wake up at night, freaking out about some bill I have to pay or something I said two weeks ago. My life is filled with dread. I kind of hate it when people complain about stress, it seems like first world whining, so I’ve always sort of downplayed my own stress. But a few years ago I got pretty decimated by shingles (which normally occurs in people 60+ and is usually a sign of intense stress or compromised immunity in younger people) and I realized I had a major issue with anxiety. What I realized is that acknowledging your own stress doesn’t mean running around asking other people for validation about why you’re stressed, it’s more a private conversation with yourself about where your anxiety stems from, whether it’s a logical fear, and if it is what the solutions is.

One aspect of life which I think is inexorably linked with stress is money, and I see this in friends at all different levels of socio economic means. It is incredibly stressful to live paycheck to paycheck, or to get behind on bills. At the higher end, it’s incredibly stressful to worry you’ve made terrible investments or that your money is going to somehow disappear because of medical issues, etc. I learned an exercise when I was mega-poor and getting telephone calls every single hour from credit card companies and other bills I couldn’t pay (after being laid off in the great recession in the worst economy since the Great Depression). The exercise was to just remind myself that money didn’t define me. Money is a tool society uses to make sense of chaos and keep everything in order. It shouldn’t be a barrier to your happiness. Of course, it’s hard to keep this in mind when you’re really financially stressed, but reminding yourself how abstract and artificial it really is can be comforting, as well as reminding yourself of the resources you do have. Maybe it’s a great family or strong creative abilities. There are assets you’ve got that no one else does, you just have to take time to remember them.

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Write This Blog

This blog not only allows me to correspond with the people who are kind enough to read it, it allows me to explore my ideas, document my life, and use my creativity. It’s also a great way for me to share what I’m up to at Homepolish. This year I’m hoping for a less-is-more type publishing schedule, aiming to publish once a week posts that are meaningful, open-hearted, design-inspirational, artistic, or all of the above. I’ll be doing quite a bit of writing for Homepolish and Emily Henderson, so I’ll make sure to post links to those here as well. Most excitingly, I’m developing a web series for Homepolish, which which also be available here.

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Write A Book

I’ve had a few publishers reach out to me about writing a book. This is something I’ve always wanted to do but have worried that I don’t have time. I don’t know that I’m ever going to feel like I have time so I think I’m just going to go for it this year. I’m not even sure what it will be yet, but it will be a lifestyle book that is hopefully funny and is filled with 100% original content. I may pick up some discussions I’ve started here on the blog, but the point is to make a design book like no other that makes you laugh and doesn’t take itself too seriously.

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Make Stuff

I studied art for six years, getting a BFA and an MFA. But I never make art anymore. I don’t have a studio space. I have a great job that is super time consuming, a million hobbies, and a metabolism that forces me to workout daily or I transform into a giant Humpty Dumpty. It feels like there’s no room in my life for making stuff, just for the sake of making it. Yet I still dearly miss making things with my hands. I had been eyeing a membership to a pottery studio in West Hollywood, but I never would have actually joined for all the busy-themed reasons I mentioned above. Luckily, Edouard swooped in and got me a membership for Christmas. So I’ll start small by making pottery and small sculptures. And who know, maybe I’ll be a pottery mogul by 2017.

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Restore Lost Relationships

I’ve noticed as I’ve entered into my thirties that keeping up old relationships hasn’t been easy. I went to school in the Northeast, and formed many close bonds there. I don’t have many friends from childhood, I had little in common with most of the people I grew up with, but when I reached college I actually found people I could relate to and it was life-changing. Now that college is ten years behind me and I’ve moved back West, I’ve had a hard time maintaining these relationships. I’m making a resolution to myself to reconnect with people who helped me become the adult I (finally) am.

Additionally, I miss being closer with my family. My mom and I used to be best friends and now sometimes it seems like we barely know each other. There’s this weird thing about growing up where you kind of resent your parents for letting you grow up, and they kind of resent you for growing up. So there’s just this weird resentment for living and growing, that’s really just based in love and desire for closeness. I’m resolving to get over this resentment and enjoy my parents before they die (which is another thing I am constantly in fear of, even though they have like 40 years to live. See my first resolution).

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Lose Weight, Obviez.

I know. I know. This one is so stereotypical. You’d never guess someone like me, who does as many photoshoots as I do and is constantly in front of a camera pretending it’s fun to put a pillow on a sofa, has as many crazy body issues as I do. But someone close to me let me know I’d gained weight over the past two years and it was really painful. Not painful because he hurt my feelings. But painful because I had no idea. I have no perspective on my body because I have always held it in such low esteem. Ever since I can remember, I have always felt fat and disgusting, even when I was thin. Which was sad when I was actually skinny and thought I was fat but kind of useful when I got heavier and didn’t know I was heavier. I have body dysmorphia. And to be honest, I’d rather lose the body dysmorphia than the 20 pounds I’ve gained (but I still wanna lose the 20 pounds I gained).

I recently reached out to my friend Alexis, an integrative nutritional coach who started a great LA-based company called Good Roots. Alexis and I have known each other since high school and she’s the type of friend that ends up being family. She’s started me on a cleanse (I know, so LA) and I’m actually really enjoying it. Her philosophy is that a lot goes into weight issues, so you can’t just look at calories if you want to lose weight. A lot of things go into how your body deals with food including stress, sleep, how many artificial additives you’re consuming, etc. So she starts by targeting those, knowing the more balanced you are nutritionally, the more balanced you’ll become emotionally. So I’m excited to begin the new year by starting afresh. (I’ll let you know how the weight loss/wellness stuff with Good Roots goes).

I have many more mini resolutions which are not worth going into here. My main point is that I don’t see anything wrong with setting up goals for yourself, even if you fail. Trying, being vulnerable, and aspiring, are the only ways we can truly be our best.

Love,

Orlando

27 Comments

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27 Responses to Stop Squashing Everyone Else’s New Years Resolutions

  1. This was great! Why not plan to make changes for yourself? I have made mental resolutions for myself so I applaud you for putting yours out there. I enjoy reading your blog so I’m especially looking forward to your book! Good luck!

  2. Paul B

    You go for it 🙂 I love resolutions, whether they work or not. At least it stems from the positive feeling of hope. I wish I could tell you not to be so daft about your body. To me you look fantastic and in no need of any weight loss. But it sounds trite and it would be insincere because I’ve been no better in my own self talk as a younger thinner me to an older fatter one, I’ve hated how I look. So I completely relate to what your saying. As Im nearly hitting my fifties, I’m thinking of health rather than diet (and yes I want an added bonus of losing weight too). And I hope that is something you are directed more towards as well. Feed your body the best nutrition you can and let your body be as it will. Wishing you a wonderful, fabulous 2016. I look forward to reading your blog posts. P xx

  3. Loved this post Orlando- and super super super jazzed up about your book. Lmk if you need like one rando to read it before everyone else 😉 – I’m your gal

    HNY!
    Monica

  4. I’m a long time lurker, but I have to say: I love this! I agree that there’s so much resolution bashing going on and I agree that New Year’s resolutions can be so motivational. There’s no need to be disappointed if at the end of the year we weren’t “perfect.” It’s about the growth (figuratively- not literally because I can’t afford to gain another 20 lbs).

  5. This is a great entry. I can identify with each of your resolutions and have made similar resolutions for myself. I like making resolutions at the start of the year because it focuses you on what’s important to you. Whether you want to indulge in something you enjoy, correct something you don’t like about yourself, the whole point is it’s a time to focus on you and get a better understanding of who you are as a person. Hopefully your post will inspire others to take a closer look at the reasons why resolutions are a great way to start the year.

  6. Kiwigem

    Glad you’re back. Happy New Year!

  7. Don Richards

    Orlando, never commented before. Found your blog because of Emily, and I think you are mostly hilarious and a pretty damn good designer. 20 lbs? Are you even kidding? If you lost 20 lbs, you’d be a barely drawn stick figure. I think we as gay men are obsessive about this to a weird degree.I’d like to posit the suggestion that maybe your friend is overly critical and mostly wrong. I’m 6’2 and a little over 200lbs. I kind of feel giant, but am settling into the idea of this body. I was always much thinner, but I recently turned 40, and things change. Feeling toned and fit are much better than worrying about a number. I think you look amazing.Make yourself happy, but numbers are just numbers. Best wishes.

  8. It totally made my day to see you pop up in my Feedly! Best of luck on your resolutions and I can’t wait to read your invariably awesome blog posts! 🙂

  9. Amanda

    I love this post! I’m not feeling the resolution haters, either, and it’s nice to read a blog post that is so earnest but still funny and engaging. Looking forward to more posts (and a book!) in 2016.

  10. Bravo! I am a big fan of making goals!! Sure the pursuit is sometimes fruitful, and other times it’s not, but at the end of the day, coming up with ways to improve yourself cannot be bad! In an effort of solidarity, I am trying to be okay with uncertainty. This year I incorporated my education business (also in LA), hired employees, and doubled my workload responsibilities. Regardless of the fact that is was time and I was ready for the change, letting go of control has been incredibly anxiety producing. Like you, I suffer from chronic self-loathing and anxiety as well. Still though, I hope to let go and have faith rather than assume failure and defeat. I want to be able to change and grow, and by gosh, enjoy it! Thanks for exposing how you feel. I see you, and you’re lovely.

  11. Such a great post, I drank up every word. I love you when you are being ridiculously hilarious on Instagram or thoughtful and vulnerable here. I agree about resolutions. Why would we not want to be better versions of ourselves or try new things? What the heck is so bad about that? Anyway, just wanted you to know that I think you are a true gem. And I would invite you to all of my parties!

  12. Julia

    Thank God you’re back!

  13. There’s nothing wrong with a little self-reflection, any time of the year (“the unexamined life is not worth living,” after all…or so Socrates would have us believe). For me, though, it can be hard to resist the urge to be all “I’M GOING TO BE PERFECT FROM NOW ON” come January 1st. So I’m keeping it simple this year: focus on my health. Take care of the body, and the rest will follow. And read your blog, of course, because you are smart and funny and adorable and basically just the best ever. Also, I can absolutely relate to your first resolution and have been making a conscious effort to simply switch off the part of my brain that seems to serve no purpose other than to worry 24 hours a day and give me heart palpitations. “Let go of what doesn’t serve you” and all that jazz. Happy New Year, Orlando!

  14. jen

    I am so excited that we’ll be getting more of your writing this year!! I love your voice, your creativity and your design skills. And you look fantastic btw! Maybe your friend was just being a bitch mentioning the weight gain. 😉 Very much looking forward to all you will share with us this year!

  15. tess

    Lovely post, you are such a good son, your words about your mom brought tears to my eyes,
    so incredibly sweet!
    Regarding your weight, consider that you probably have more (heavier) muscles than you did as a youth. Don’t waste away. 😉

  16. rae

    i’m glad to see you back Orlando!
    I have always liked making goals for myself in the new year, because it feels like such a firm beginning. I don’t share them usually because people can be so judgemental, but I enjoyed reading yours. I need to work on the first one too. I was laid off in the fall, and though we can live pretty comfortably on my husband’s income while I’m finding something, for two months I stressed and worried about it ALL THE TIME. I’m trying to learn that the horrible things I imagine happening almost NEVER do, so I’m wasting so much time (and sleep) obsessing.

  17. Sharon Johnson

    Lovely and thoughtful as usual. Looking forward to more book/blog in 2016. 🙂

  18. gail.

    Hiiiiii. I supprt #3 1000%.

  19. Emily

    These resolutions all sound fantastic! I never comment here, though I love your blog. But I just wanted to say that you might want to look into “cognitive distortions” if you haven’t already! They are used as part of cognitive behavioral therapy, and I have found them SO SO helpful for dealing with anxiety and body dysmorphia-related issues. It’s a way to slowly but surely replace negative thought patterns with ones that are more grounded in reality, and much less stressful. Hope it brings you some peace for 2016!

  20. I’ve so missed your posts and am happy you’re back and making resolutions – all of them good ones. Jonathan Adler – look out!

  21. Anne

    You seem like such a sweetheart, Orlando, and I love reading your stuff. xo

  22. Emily Jane

    I loved the above post but I’m writing now to say -thank goodness you’re okay! Nothing on Instagram for 5 days.!? I actually searched the internet for news about you this morning (found the In Style article -nice!)… I’m not family or an IRL friend, nope -just a fan of yours from the Secrets From A Stylist days with Emily Henderson. Sigh, feeling like quite the goof but so glad you’ve just been out living your lovely life well (your Instagram pics of Yosemite are absolutely stunning!). Thanks for all you do Orlando! best, emily jane

  23. What a lovely post. Thank you for sharing.

  24. Christine

    thank you for the pottery class tip! I’ve been looking for another creative outlet that is near enough to my place where I can walk to it (walk? in LA? I know…)

  25. Melissa H

    You have great voice and a way of communicating through writing that is very thoughtful, funny, and authentic. A book sounds like an interesting opportunity for you, and I would love to read it!

    I understand your feelings about creating something from your mind with your hands – I have a BFA. After college, making art was like a light switch, either on or off. I needed a job to live, and couldn’t think of a way to fit it into my life. Years later I realize that I was holding myself to a standard that took the joy out of creative artistic thinking, idea exploration and the act of making. Art is not all or nothing. Creating for your own self is very private and intimate, very different from the college experience. It can be a way to get out of your own head, or a way to focus so intensely that you forget what’s in your head…like anxiety! Now that my daughter is taking art classes in high school I remember how interesting and fun it is to learn how to make art. I loved ceramics and lately have been considering joining a studio. It was way more spontaneous and meditative than drawing or photography, at least for me. Hope you enjoy it!!!

  26. Someone told you you are fat, seriously? Really? Not a good friend, because you look great!!!!

  27. Mirela

    I am really looking forward to more posts – I would love to see more of your work!
    And, no, you are definately not fat.

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