Satire | Top 10 resolutions you can keep in quarantine

By Alex Dolinger, Senior Staff Columnist

New year, same column. Last year, I wrote a wildly optimistic column about New Year’s resolutions that we all could “actually keep.” But if you look back at that column, you will notice that we haven’t been able to do a lot of those things like petting sweet therapy dogs and blasting Celine Dion in a local bar since March.

Oh, to be a silly little junior in college telling you to experience silly little Pittsburgh. I haven’t experienced anything but my silly little defective oven in a long time. While hope is most certainly on the horizon with the arrival of the coronavirus vaccine, I am done being foolish.

Thus, I have compiled some personal resolutions that will be applicable no matter what episode of “Black Mirror” we are living in. Whether we spend another year inching toward the ever-encroaching void or actually start interacting in public again, here are 10 ways I’m attempting to make 2021 a year to regret less than usual.

  1. Read a book

Personally, I have never had more spare time. I’ve also never wasted it with such fervor. All day long I sit on my phone and wish that I had something to entertain myself with besides lesbians fostering dogs on TikTok. I also lament all the time that I don’t have time to read for fun anymore because I have so much reading to do for class, but we all know that I don’t read for class. There are all kinds of year-long challenges that involve reading several books per month, but I like to aim low, so I’m hoping to read at least one book this year. Literally any book. It will probably be “Twilight”, which sucks, but in the words of Selena Gomez, the heart wants what it wants.

  1. Get organized

Since we’re all going to be cooped up for at least a considerable amount of 2021, it’s time to make the coop a pleasant place to be. I don’t know about you, but there is a pile of receipts waiting for me on my desk when I eventually return to my apartment. They have no discernible purpose. I need to throw them away. I think everyone could benefit from some spring cleaning and reorganization, even if our “home offices” will become garbage heaps by mid-February. If our home offices just become our homes again, it will always be important to know where your checkbook is. I do not know where my checkbook is.

  1. Schedule yourself

Because nothing matters and every day is the same, I often find myself forgetting what day of the week it is. Remember calendars? Mine is still set in July. A new semester is a great way to add structure to your life, even when there is minimal structure to be found. I spent winter break staying up until four in the morning and staring at the wall, so I’m resolving to do other things instead. By this time next year, I will probably be working in a school, so it’s time to channel the ferocity and grit it took to get up at 6 a.m. every day four years ago and start getting up at 10 a.m.

  1. Go outside

If you’re returning to Pittsburgh — and even if you’re not — it is very cold outside. And if you don’t have a dog or a job or a class to go to, you will probably be spending a lot of time in your apartment, dorm or childhood bedroom. Even if we are miraculously released back into the world anytime soon, we’ll probably still spend most of our time indoors. Being outside is good for your health, both mental and physical. A little bit of time outdoors is said to lift your mood and decrease your anxiety, and we live in a nightmare regardless of whether or not there’s a pandemic going on. So, I hope you’ll join me this year and spend a little more time outside, whether it be to take a little stroll or scream at the heavens.

  1. Try something new

Due to the absolute madness that was 2020, I’m sure I can speak for a lot of us when I say that relying on old comforts has kept me from going off the deep end. I’ve watched the entire Twilight saga more than I did when it was coming out, and my Spotify Wrapped informed me that I listened to Taylor Swift’s entire discography for hundreds of hours. I don’t think this is a bad thing, but I’m starting to remember that I am a 21-year-old adult who needs a little more spice in their life. This year, I’m hoping to find joy in new things, such as a different series about different vampires, or a female pop singer who I have not listened to yet. 

  1. Get healthy

I am not here to shove diet culture propaganda down your throat, for I would like to leave the weight-loss talk in 2020. But I know a lot of us haven’t been going to the doctor since the pandemic began, myself included. As the year unfolds and the health care system hopefully becomes less overwhelmed, we all need to start addressing all of the mild medical anomalies that have yet to be checked out. For instance, I rolled my ankle on a run over the summer, and after some rest and ice I decided it probably didn’t need medical attention. It’s most certainly still functional and completely healed, but now it clicks loud enough to be heard on Zoom calls when I cross my legs. It is time to get that looked at.

  1. Unplug

I don’t want to sound like your boomer uncle, but I can say with confidence that a portion of the debilitating existential dread I felt for most of this year would have been less debilitating if I just put my phone away for like, an hour. While I think that social media gave all of us the opportunity to connect in isolation, I am clinically paranoid and all it takes to spiral into doomsday mode is one WebMD article telling me that the headache I have after staring at several bright screens all day could be a rare genetic condition. Hopefully, this year I will spend some time doing the things on this list instead of Googling if the actors in “The West Wing” are friends in real life.

  1. Reduce stress

I say that I am going to do this every single year and then I don’t. I am graduating with a theatre arts degree during a pandemic, so it is unlikely that this is the year. I am also currently addicted to caffeine and we are well into January. Reducing all stress is very difficult, but I’m hoping to at least reduce some stress. For example, I will probably be stressed about this pandemic and the United States government for the entire year, but I can stop worrying about the fact that my bullet journal is ugly and just get a regular planner.

  1. Graduate

Speaking of graduating, I would very much like to do it. This is my final semester at Pitt, and I am hoping to finish my degree without incident. This may seem like a silly resolution, but I think it’s important to keep expectations low. If graduation is less of a certainty in my brain, it’ll feel pretty cool when I actually do it. And I’m going to do it. Definitely. I think.

  1. Get to 2022

In all seriousness, getting through the year is the most important resolution any of us can make. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you make goals that you can’t keep. I will probably still spend the year weeping while watching “Twilight,” and that’s okay. 

Alex Dolinger is a senior theatre arts student with a creative writing minor. They primarily write satire about how the world is ending. You can write to them at [email protected].