1. I promise myself that I will never be an aging artist living in New York, making my only son wear braces when he is too young to be wearing braces. I will not let him be the laughing-stock of his class, nor let his intelligence prevent him from expressing himself like a normal child. I will finally obey my mother's instructions to cut my hair, and keep it a dignified grey bob, instead of insisting on still wearing it long with my red glasses on a lanyard.
2. I promise myself that I will never eat Fage yogurt on the G train. I just won't. I may never tan a day in my life, but I refuse to be that white.
3. I promise myself that I will learn to be a gracious human being and honor each sidewalk evangelist with a real conversation not a lot of hemming and hawing and trying to cover up the fact that I'm laughing from sheer embarrassment, and trying to get away as soon as possible.
4. I promise myself that I will not laugh at sidewalk evangelists. Because they are probably more honest souls than I will ever be.
5. I promise myself that I will not flinch as I walk into the group of cookouts circling the banks of Prospect Park's lake that smell like weed, and sound like loud rap music. I will walk through them, unfazed, and I will not pull out my phone and pretend to call my sister. Yea, though I walk through the weed-soaked cookouts, I will feel no trepidation.
6. I promise that I will not be mean or angry with children ever, but remember that they are children, which means being a human being struggling towards completion in an even more intense and angst-fueled way than I am. To be a child means to be at the mercy of everyone around you, thus I ought to cultivate a spirit of extreme patience, and maintain appropriate perspective in the face of ill behavior, given that this human being has very little agency. This also, however, means not letting them stomp all over you, as angst-ridden human beings often tend to do.
7. I will stop saying "v. amazing" instead of "very amazing", because I am too old for those sorts of undignified abbreviations, and the English language is a dying art in the United States and on the internet. I will stop saying "amaze" instead of amazing, because as much as I try, I will never be as funny as Amy Schumer, and appropriating her habits will not make me a more endearing version of the train-wreck that I am. I will stop saying "amazing" when I mean: "that's the most appalling thing I've ever heard." (This resolution is all a joke. I could never stop doing any of that.)
8. I will learn the appropriate balance between dignity and self-deprecating humor (there might not be one).
9. I will never watch American Psycho or The Wolf of Wall Street ever again in my entire life.
10. I will never stop being astonished or awed by when the train goes above ground. It cuts above the surface, and the starry city is shining all around you. It feels like coming to life again, and I want to drink in every sight that is now shining through the formerly quiet windows, that reflected back nothing but my singular face in the dark of the subway tunnel.