New Year, New Resolutions
January first had finally rolled around, bringing a new year with it. Lindy, a Speckled Moehog, sighed as she trudged down the snowy street towards her friend's house. Her breath tumbled out in white puffs that hung for a few moments in the icy air before dissipating into nothing.
"Nothing" was a particularly choice word at that moment, as Lindy was about to compare her list of completed resolutions with Tanya and reveal that she had accomplished... nothing.
Knocking on Tanya's door sent tiny avalanches of snow crashing onto the porch from the house's overhanging. Lindy toyed with the yarn in her scarf as she waited, kicking at clumps of the fallen snow and thinking. Tanya was great at making and going through with resolutions. Every year it was the same deal: Lindy would unfold her list and sigh, naming off everything she had wanted to do and the reason she hadn't been able to. Tanya would "hmm" and "oh," wearing the perfect look of partial interest on her Purple Zafara face, and then brighten as Lindy finished and she was allowed to unfold her own list. Then out came her sparkly purple pen, checking off all the magical and fantastic things she had accomplished that year. Every so often she would cross one out and say,
"Well, I didn't get to that one..."
...and then pick right up with something even better that she had done. After the "Tanya parade," as Lindy sometimes dubbed it in her mind, they would sit down with new pieces of paper and make new resolutions for the year, which were pretty often the same ones.
Tanya was a great friend, that was for sure. Lindy just felt like she wasn't as great sometimes.
The door swung open to reveal the Zafara herself.
"Lindy! You're here! Oh this is going to be SO much fun. I've got fresh baked cookies and milk and everything," Tanya practically sang as she took Lindy's coat, then led her into the kitchen. The cookies and milk sat on the table, just as promised, along with two sparkly purple pens and a fresh pad of paper.
"Awesome! So how did you do this year, Tanya?" Lindy tried to sound cheerful for her friend and hoped that maybe the Zafara would rattle on about her list and forget completely that Lindy had one too.
"Oh, pretty great, I think! How about you?"
"Erm, well... I guess we'll see?" The Moehog knew that her friend could hear the uncertainty and questioning in her voice. Tanya gave a sort of half-hearted giggle, one that wasn't mocking but definitely understanding the situation.
Lindy unfolded her square of paper and began to read off of the list.
"'Become a millionaire.' Well, and that's a big one. I did make a lot of Neopoints, but all these things came up and I had to spend it, so I ended up with... ten thousand less than when I started last year. Oops."
The two Pets giggled. Lindy continued.
"'Own a big guild.' Let's see, there was you and me, and then some people came... and then they went. We had all kinds of fun and safe things to do, but I guess they got tired of working and waiting for more people to come and talk to."
"We kind of got tired too," Tanya admitted.
"Yeah, that was a lot of work. Okay, then I had 'Win a Beauty Contest.' I drew the picture of me, at least I did in pencil, but I kept having to change it, and then I kind of... um... gave up, I guess. You won a Beauty Contest, though, didn't you?"
"Yeah." Tanya brightened just a little. "I worked pretty hard on my picture, and I got kind of tired of having to try again too, but I knew I would get it if I kept trying. So I finished my picture and it wasn't perfect, but it was still good and I tried hard, so I entered. Oh man, I spent all that week talking to people to get them to vote for me! They really liked that I put a lot into it, and I won third place!"
Part of Lindy wished that Tanya would keep talking forever. She had the best stories and the coolest things to talk about, which was a lot more fun than thinking about how much Lindy hadn't been able to do. But, alas, Tanya was finished and now smiling supportively, waiting to hear the last thing on Lindy's list.
"Okay, well, the fourth and final thing was to 'make lots of new good friends.' Um, I met Dia and Marco in March, I introduced them to you, and they were really fun and stuff... but we just hung out less and less, and now I don't really talk to them anymore." Lindy looked at her paper with a small frown. How could the year have been so hard?
"I'm sorry," Tanya said as she patted Lindy's arm to console her. "My second goal, after the Beauty Contest, was to make new friends too! I don't talk much to Dia and Marco anymore either, but Patty and I still hang out sometimes, like we're going to next week. Maybe I can introduce you?"
"I don't know," Lindy sighed, "I'll probably lose her as a friend too. I'm no good at any of this. Why can't I ever do anything?"
"You can," Tanya started, but Lindy was feeling pretty upset.
"No, I can't. It's the same thing every year! I come here, I do mostly nothing, I get nothing done and I fail so much. But you always do all this great stuff and succeed where I fail! How, Tanya? How are you always so good?"
"Lindy, it's not like I'm 'better' or something. I just look at these resolutions and goals kind of differently is all... I think."
"What do you mean?"
"Do you want my honest answer, Lindy? It's really, really honest, and I don't mean to hurt your feelings or anything..."
"Tanya, if it'll make me better at reaching goals, you can be as mean as you want!" Lindy didn't really mean that Tanya should be mean, but she really wanted to know why she and Tanya were different.
"Well, Lindy, first of all, you make goals that are kind of general, like 'Become a millionaire.' That's great and everything, but it's not specific, so you just think about millions of millions of Neopoints, and you get scared. That's the second thing: You get scared when your goals seem too big, and you don't believe you can do it anymore. And that leads to the last thing..."
"Well, you quit too soon. You get scared because your goals seem too big, and then you quit."
"So, what, you're telling me that you wrote 'Make twelve million Neopoints' last year, and so you looked at it and said 'oh that's so great' and then you did it?" Lindy rolled her eyes, but Tanya laughed.
"Of course not! That's so unrealistic."
"You know what I mean," Lindy muttered as she poked her friend in the side.
"Well, what I did write was that I wanted to make one million Neopoints. One and exactly one, so that I knew exactly what I was doing. I know that still seems like a lot, but I figured it's not that bad! All I had to do was save three thousand Neopoints a day, and I had a million by the end of the year! It's in the bank right now, making more Neopoints for me through interest!"
"Just... just three thousand a day?"
"Yup! And you wanted to make 'lots of friends,' but really, where do you draw the line? I decided to try to meet new people, of course, but to make at least just one new friend that I was pretty cool with. That's Patty. You can meet as many people as you want, but to keep friends is work. You talk to them a lot and you keep up the contact and you do fun things. Some people still drift away, but in the end you might find someone to hang out with for a long time!
"Now, I didn't have any resolutions about the guild. I mean, I knew I was going to try to help you, of course, and I guess neither of us made things work like we hoped, but guilds are hard! I don't think we knew that before! It takes a lot of work and effort to go and get new and friendly members and to keep them around. When we went for summer holiday for two weeks, we weren't there to talk to our members and work to get new ones, and so we lost a few of the members that we had. If we have to leave the guild again, maybe we should make sure our members know, and then maybe pick one of them to be in charge until we come back. I don't know, it's just an idea, but it takes a lot of dedication. We know that now."
Lindy sat and thought quietly as she chewed on a cookie. Tanya was right about everything that she had said. Resolutions, which were really just goals, did seem harder when they weren't specific. Lindy always gave up pretty easily too. Either the task would get too hard or she would get sidetracked, and then her new goal just lay there collecting dust.
"Can you help me this year, then?" Lindy asked Tanya with a hopeful look on her face. "The same goals, I think, but maybe you can help me make them specific, like yours, and then you can help me this year by reminding me to keep working? The work really adds up, doesn't it?"
"It absolutely does," Tanya agreed with a smile, "and I would love to help you out!"
So the two Pets got to work on their lists. The afternoon came and went, and after much discussion and many cookies, Lindy was soon ready to go home with some new resolutions and a new attitude towards them.
"Hey, Tanya?" Lindy asked as she stepped out of the front door.
"I had four goals, and I thought I saw four goals on your list too. What was your last goal?"
"To stay best friends with you."
The two Pets grinned and knew, even as they were parting for the day, that they would be friends for quite a long time.