The #1 Rule For Becoming a New You (Hint: It involves Mall Bangs, a Flux Capacitor, and a reference to Clueless)

This past weekend I spent two glorious days getting a jumpstart on my annual New Year’s tradtion: Decluttering All The Things + making new goals for the upcoming year.

You know how they say that you should figure out A) what it is that you’d be happy doing for days, and then B) find someone to pay you for it?

Somebody, please pay me to declutter all the things.

And pay me to watch reality TV.

Also, pretty please pay me to talk about myself and make out with boys and put on a record of Whitney Houston’s greatest hits right before the office is locked for a big meeting so that the set crew full of boys has to listen to the record in its entirely while they work.

Inevitably, whenever I perform this little ritual, I run across old goal lists and productivity plans and “MISSION STATEMENT & OVER-ARCHING PLAN FOR ACHIEVING WORLDWIDE DOMINATION SO TO BETTER RUIN THE LIVES OF THOSE WHO HAVE WRONGED US” zip files. It’s kind of like running across a bitter flame on Facebook. “Oh, It’s YOU again,” I inwardly sneer, becoming all Tywin to my Tyrion.

There’s something that happens when we try to create something new for ourselves: We inevitably find ourself slagging on The Us of Old.

We all do it, even in the most innocent, innocuous of ways. For instance: Mall Bangs. If you are of the generation that went to school when that was A Thing, you’ve definitely spent a minute or two laughing about how dumb you were to think that was ever cool. But of course you fucking did. We didn’t have anyone telling us, “Hey, in a few years, you’re going to look at this picture of yourselves and laugh your asses off at how stupid you look.”


So maybe some of us did.

His name was Dave Carter, and he lived in the future.

And we do this when we embark on a new diet or fitness routine, or when we date someone new, or when we discover that we’ve been settling for grocery-store donuts when Mojo Monkey has been there THIS WHOLE TIME (what have we been doing with our lives?! How did our friends not love us enough to tell us this before?!)

Reviewing old goals can be hard for me…like a flashback on The Young & Restless, all misty-lensed and haunting piano melodies, I can still remember how wonderful it all seemed in the beginning. I was going to do this! And then I was going to do this! Oh, and since I was already doing that, now I’m also going to do this!

I tend to heap the goals on myself and then either self-sabotage myself on all of them or I go on a trip somewhere and then decide to change everything about myself and my life path.

It’s something I’m working on.

And creating new organizational systems or decluttering…sometimes I wanna set my Flux Capacitor a year or two back to warn myself against all the time I spent creating systems that only added more time sucks. You can write a whole book with the time you’ll spend tracking this system! I would beseech me. Just do what you’re already doing! And don’t sleep with that ex-boyfriend, either! 

The point is, it’s really easy to want to kick yourself in your own nards when you review all your old good intentions that didn’t exactly materialize into cash money or overwhelming public love and admiration.

But fuck that noise. Being way harsh to The You That Was Then is a really shitty way of dishonoring The You That Is Now. You wouldn’t have gotten so sharp, smartie, if it hadn’t been for the road your old self chose to hitchhike on. Talking down to your past self is also a stealthy block to self-acceptance…because if you’re gonna love and accept yourself, if you’re really gonna do it this time!, then you gotta do that for all of yourself. Even the past You that wasted days watching Gilmore Girls (uh, GUILTY. Have you seen that show? You should be giving your past self the highest of hi-5’s for bringing that joy into your life!) or said a thoughtless thing or was a little extra mean to that neighbor kid that one time when you were in the 6th grade (seriously, you gotta let that go already).

It’s pretty incredible, the amount of things we’re willing to forgive others for, yet still keep berating ourselves about.

So stop that shit.

How do you become a shiner new you without throwing shade at the rusted version? Easy. Slap the super hot ass of your old self as you pass…you…in the hallway of life, and just keep those bright and shining eyes locked forward. At every point in life, we’re all just doing the best with what we have. And, like with Mall Bangs, at the time that we’re making our choices, they always seem pretty damn fly. It’s easy to forget that when hindsight is 20/20, but now you know more, don’t you, cutie? And the smarter, wiser you would know better than to be a dick about it.

Even when it comes to sleeping with that ex-boyfriend. It’s not your fault that you didn’t actually have a Flux Capacitor or a Marty McFly Self to warn you about that! Everyone needs to get their pipes cleaned, friend. Sometimes it seems best to do that with a plumber whose work you already know! And now that you know it’s actually not best to do that, now you can move on to working with new referrals. See? THE PAST INFORMS THE FUTURE!

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About Amber L.

Hi! I'm Amber. I've been telling stories with books and blogs since 2004. I also spent 10 years working as a behavior therapist, which I now put to proper use by publishing thought pieces and dissertations on '80s pop music and the defining TV shows of our current times ('The Bachelor', 'Vanderpump Rules', etc). I can also be credited with single-handedly ruining the city of Portland, OR just by moving here.

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