New Year's Wishes

Today is the day before New Year's Eve, at the end of the year 2007, and I'm thinking about my New Year's wishes for this year. That's right—New Year's wishes, not New Year's resolutions.

If New Year's resolutions work for you, that's fine. Go for it. But they're not for me. I've never been one to do New Year's resolutions. They weren't a big deal with my family when I was growing up, and none of my temporary life partners did them, either. As for my personal feelings about them, well, if I want to accomplish something, I just set my mind to it and do it. I don't need to make a resolution to give myself extra motivation. In fact, resolutions would be counterproductive for me. I've already got enough pressures in my life; I don't need to turn the screws any tighter than they already are.

But New Year's wishes—that's a different thing entirely. I started doing New Year's wishes four New Year's ago. At the time, I was in the process of climbing out of a deep depression I had fallen into after my sex reassignment surgery, and life was beginning to look hopeful to me again. Earlier that year, I had joined a 12-step program, and it gave me the tools and support I needed to recover my mental and spiritual health. As the New Year rolled around, I saw an opportunity to use the occasion to help my recovery. But I knew that New Year's resolutions wouldn't work. In Step 1 of my program, I admitted that I was powerless, and my life had become unmanageable. In Step 3, I made a decision to turn my will and my life over to a Higher Power. So what good could a New Year's resolution do? My own best thinking and strongest willpower had made me nothing but a lonely, depressed drunk. I needed to let my Higher Power call the shots in my life.

I also wasn't going tyr to tell my Higher Power what I needed. I had to trust her to know what was best for me. But I could make wishes, I decided. I could tell my HP what I thought I wanted, as long as I was totally willing to accept the plan and results she sent my way. I was forming an intent about where I wanted my life to go, and maybe those wishes were, in fact, my HP's way of talking to me. That's the tricky part, knowing what my HP's will for me is. But I know I have to trust that she's working that out for me as well. It may sound silly and circular, but the funny thing is, it was working for me. My life was getting better.

So I would make some New Year's wishes. They had to be, I decided, positive wishes. If I started wishing that this didn't happen and that didn't happen—that I didn't get sick, that my car didn't break down, that there wasn't an earthquake—I could go on forever. No, my wishes had to be for something positive I wanted. In addition, they had to be for something new. I could wish all day long that the good things I already had in my life would continue or improve, but those were more like hopes. My wishes had to be for new things to come into my life.

I made three New Year's wishes on that New Year's day of 2005. But before I say what those wishes were, let me tell you about a couple of other things I had going on in my life at the time.

One big thing in my life was that I had a housemate. A year and a half earlier, soon after my surgery, I'd grown tired of living alone in my big old quiet house, so I got a cat. Adopting Cali from the animal shelter was a big deal for me, because I'd never been responsible for a pet before. But I liked having the little fur-face around the house, and a year later, I felt ready to kick it up a notch and get a human housemate as well. I knew a nice fellow from church who was down on his luck and living in a recreational vehicle parked in another church member's driveway, so I invited him to move into my spare bedroom. He was just starting a new job after a lengthy period of unemployment, and I figured I would help him get back on his feet. He turned out to be a pretty good housemate, and my constant, oppressive feeling of loneliness began to lift.

Another thing I had going on as 2004 drew to an end is that I was back in school. After my own two years of unemployment, I'd decided to change my career from engineer to technical writer, and I enrolled in a nine-month program at De Anza college to earn a technical communications certificate. I was working my ass off! The program involved a lot of writing homework, as you might guess.

So when New Year's rolled around, I was feeling pretty hopeful that my life was getting on track. Just a few things seemed to be missing, and those things are what I wished for that New Year's day. I wished for a good job. I wished for a boyfriend. And I wished for an orgasm—since my surgery, I'd been terribly disappointed by an inability to achieve any kind of sexual arousal.

As 2005 unfolded, I finished school and, after a few months of discouraging job-seeking, I found a terrific job writing for a small technical marketing service company. I had a brilliant and supportive female boss who mentored me, an incredibly talented graphic designer who fixed up my stuff and taught me a lot, and a bunch of nice people to be my friends.

Come New Year's eve, I decided that one wish so thoroughly granted was a pretty good score for that year. So I thanked my Higher Power and had no resentment about only getting one out of my three wishes. But I renewed my other two wishes that New Year's day. Again I wished for a boyfriend and an orgasm, not necessarily in that order.

The year 2006 didn't fulfill either of those wishes, but that was okay. In fact, I'd had such bad luck with my Internet-based dating that I'd given up on actively trying to find a boyfriend or have sex. I'd made some good friends, still had my housemate, and had social contact at work every day, so I really wasn't lonely anymore. In fact, my life was so busy, I didn't think I had time for a boyfriend, even if one came along. And with no boyfriends and no prospects—and no sex drive—orgasms didn't seem very important anymore either.

Nevertheless, on New Year's day 2007, I once again renewed my two wishes. I didn't feel like I really needed a boyfriend or an orgasm, or even had room for them in my life. But they still seemed like pretty good ideas, and I could let old HP work out the details. She was doing a pretty good job for me so far.

Lo and behold, miracle of miracles, a boyfriend did wander into my life the next summer! He was exactly what I wasn't looking for. I thought I wanted a "normal" straight guy, but I got a queer. My guy was transitioning from male to female, just as I had done a few years earlier. I thought I wanted a confident, assertive individual who would relieve me of the burden of choice. I got a sweet, insecure guy who froze up in the bread aisle of the supermarket, unable to choose a loaf. I wanted a virile stud who would ravage me and bring me to multiple orgasms, I got a dude on anti-androgens, who couldn't perform if he wanted to. I wanted someone smart, educated, funny, generous, tall, cute, financially secure, and who appreciated all my wonderful qualities. Well, I got all of those, and that was plenty good enough for me! As Mick said, "You can't always get what you want, but if you try, sometimes you get what you need."

For a short time, I thought I had a case of "The good Lord giveth, and the good Lord taketh away," because in the Fall, my company went out of business and I lost my great job. But with very little trouble at all, I was soon working again and the new job seemed to be as good—or even better—than the old one. At least the commute was a heck of a lot shorter.

So here I am at the end of 2007, with two out of my three New Year's wishes fulfilled. What will I wish for this year? I can think of very little. Oh, I still have my hopes. I hope my relationship with my boyfriend stays strong and our love continues to grow, even as he becomes my girlfriend. I hope his transition goes smoothly. I hope my new job works out well, and that my company doesn't go out of business or get acquired. I've even got plans: The big one for this year is that I plan for my housemate (he's still here) to move on, and for my boyfriend and I to start living together. But what new, wonderful things do I wish to come into my life? I don't need more money, a better car, or a bigger house. I don't want to move to a new area—not right now; maybe in a few years. I might like to have some children in my life, but I don't feel that this is the time just yet for that either.

One thing I still feel I'm missing is a strong sense of purpose in my life. How do I wish for that? It's so nebulous. I guess what I'll wish for is the opportunity to become involved in something meaningful, some organization or movement that helps people and makes a difference in the world, and where I can make a difference, and that seems right for me. I've been reaching out and trying this and that, but nothing has really felt like home to me yet. So that's what I'm going to wish for this New Year's day.

I guess I'll wish for that orgasm again, too. Why not?

And finally, dear readers, I wish that all your New Year's wishes come true!

—Lannie Rose, 12/2007