New Year’s Resolution(s)


Happy New Year!

For those that don’t know, I’m an avid believer of New Year, New Me. I really believe in the mantra, and it makes for cute hashtags. And honestly, if you’re not challenging yourself, you come out with a shitty year. Also, your favorite celebrities die. It’s really all your fault.

I’ve met people who’ve experienced epiphanies and made transformations. Like this one big chick who started going to the gym a few months after I did. She apparently kept up when I had a brief two-month hiatus to work Haunt. Homegirl was still getting it and she was slimming out. For those who are curious, no. I’ve never talked to her. And yes, I do see the regulars and I make stories about them in my head. So, in my head, I imagined that she looked in the mirror one day and said, “fuck this.”

I also know people who don’t believe in New Year, New Me yet still manage to churn out a productive year because (a) the work ethic is right and (b) they’re positive people. And who doesn’t want to be that?

In 2016, I’ve taken a few tumbles — some of which seemed to rock my world, but now in retrospect, they were only superficial. As 2017 approaches, I’m coming through stronger and with new goals.

Weight Loss – My weight has always been an issue. At one point, I was teetering 200, but I thankfully never made it to that benchmark. I’ve slowly managed to lower to an OK, but still heavy weight for my height. April through September were my prime months because it seemed like I ate, sleep, and breathed 24 Hour Fitness. I almost Instagram’d a motivating quote in a bold, sans-serif font against an Arnold Schwarzenegger background at one point.

Nevermind the fact that I didn’t know what the hell I was doing when I stepped foot inside the gym! But thanks to insane amounts of pre-workout, I put myself in such a state of mind (insanity) that any piece of equipment became my bitch. I really need to come back swinging, because from my experience, an exercising Neil was always a happy Neil. And to quote the fabulous Elle Woods, Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands. They just don’t!

Go Out More – A coworker of mine told me that not hanging out — even at small functions — were missed opportunities at making memories. Looking back, 2016 was me going to work, going to the gym, and then falling asleep to repeat the vicious gray cycle. I also realize that as I go through my Facebook feed, a lot of my friends are actually pretty cool people. It’s like you guys have personalities! Meanwhile, if anyone talks to me, I stutter. I fall over words constantly, and I find myself over-explaining. That’s what happens when you lack social skills. I bought a book earlier this year called, “It’s How You Say It,” because I know deep down inside that I actually know how to talk… but I needed to verify it!


There are a lot of friends that I’ve left wondering if we even were friends. These are people who I’ve made awesome memories with, and I’m sad that I didn’t even have the energy to make it out to see them. I think that for me, when I’m stuck in such a boring bubble for such a long time, getting in the car and driving out seems particularly daunting. Especially if I have to parallel park. I need to get over that. I miss you, friends.

Regulate – I am a quiet person. And in some instances, I throw subtle notes of shade which are equal parts passive aggressive and also petty. These little jabs make themselves apparent later on in time. Like when the closers at my Panera start finding little love notes serving as reminders to restock forks and knives. Or when the kids that frequent the center aren’t allowed to borrow the Xbox anymore because it’s “broken for unknown reasons.” Or when my mom starts getting emails of my Best Buy receipts to let her know that her son spent a whopping $300 to appease the father figure. They are subtle, passive aggressive, and indeed petty. But at the time these actions were made, they were made with anger and vengeance.

Bitch, the shit should’ve been restocked so the minute I open the bakery, I won’t have to go back and forth in between customers grabbing forks, the Xbox wouldn’t have been “mysteriously broken” had you not rolled your skateboards over the damn wires so damn much, and greh! The Christmas present better be equal or greater than this pricetag!

I’m particularly NOT SO VOCAL when I need to correct behavior. Perhaps it’s social anxiety? I even joined an Amino community to help correct this, but it turns out, we’re kind of just huddled in a protective circle to reaffirm that the shit is human. I have a coworker at the Teen Center who gives absolutely no fucks and will put you down if you deserve it. I aspire to be that way. He means well, I know he does. But I’m also sure that working there for years can really rub out the tolerance.

Step the Hell Out of Baldwin Park – Sometimes a bitch just needs to dip and recenter himself. I’d used to go to Eaton Canyon in Altadena just so I could get some peace of mind. And by finding peace of mind, I mean challenging my threshold and seeing if I can walk through bushes and sand, then skipping on river rocks. The pay off was this waterfall at the end of the trail. I usually sit, take a selfie, and then move on with my life. Mainly because by the time I get there, I’m at 13 percent battery, and I need to make my way back or I’ll somehow manage to get lost.

Baldwin Park is a budding city, don’t get me wrong. But Anna Wintour’s big on travel because it forces you to experience things. And I absolutely adore Anna Wintour, so I guess that means I’m big on it too.

This year, working two jobs really opened up a lot of possibilities for me. A few weeks ago, I looked up flights to Japan. Y’all. Despite my minimum wage-making ass, I could’ve booked a flight and just saved up for the costs of being there. And on a more national level, I could’ve booked a flight to New York if I’m not down for the language barrier. I’ve always been curious about Washington too. Or Oregon. Like is Portland really stuck in the 90’s? I love The Cardigans!

The point is, I’ve always stopped myself from booking trips because there was always this voice in the back of my head telling me that I needed to work. I surprisingly have bills to pay all of a sudden. But again, my life’s been a constant boring cycle of sleep, work, eat, sleep. I need to step out of Baldwin Park. Even if it is just the Bay area. Or even San Diego. Hell, put me in a nice hotel in West Covina and I’ll make do. I’m playing. I need to get out of California, period. Even for a week.

Be Consistent – I’m one to start things and get the ball rolling. And then eventually, it dies down. Months later, I’ve forgotten all about whatever I started and I’m onto something else. Then it happens again.

Case in point: this blog.

Just recently, I went on Amazon and bought myself a planner. It was more than $10. I’m assuming people who buy these things don’t play around, and Amazon caught on and raised the prices. I mean, they give this shit out at colleges for free so what the fuck! But I digress, I think consistently penning my year out instead of entering it on a cellphone is more effective. On a phone, you can clear all traces of you attempting to be organized. Like, I’ll literally sit there and “DELETE ALL FOR FUTURE EVENTS” on the calendar app. On a planner, you’re forced to look at the damn thing. Then you’ll open it up and see that you got the thing started, but never followed through. Guilt hits. Then you’re back at it again. I like to think this is some sort of psychology trick.

I think it’s kind of like getting a membership to the gym. They give you an on online look of how consistent you’ve been. Then you start seeing a sudden trend of how much you suck. Guilt comes into play, then suddenly you’re back in there doing bicep curls with 5 lb dumbbells. Yes, I get weak that fast.

Another thing I have to be consistent with: being a good employee. I have to wake up by 3:30 a.m. so I can get ready for work by 5. Then I have to perform well throughout the day because as an opener, you’re expected to lead the cashiers to a good shift. That means, making sure everything’s stocked, ensuring everything is up to “Panera” standards, and just having everything squared away the minute those doors open. Right now, I’m probably one of the whack workers they talk about who’s constantly on their phone.


My other job forces me to be super organized. I’m planning things out for the community after all. And nobody likes a sloppy city worker. It’s a bad look. And I know some of y’all making snarky remarks about Baldwin Park ratchetness, but I’m sure you have your nose ass-deep in an In-N-Out burger so hush your mouth. We made that. We’re capable of good too.

Be Extra – The people I’ve always admired are too much. They’ve got a mouth on them, and when they do something — anything for that matter — there’s always that extra oomph. They’re natural attention grabbers even when they’re being cunts. There’s just this air of confidence to them that I’m drawn to. I should probably mention that these people who I truly respect have a history of meth abuse. So there’s that. But don’t you worry about a damn thing. I wouldn’t touch meth knowing that it took me six years to get my teeth right together.

Earlier this month, I purchased a fur coat. It’s fake, but it’s borderline Joanne the Scammer. Lord knows when I’ll ever wear the thing (actually, I already know when I’m going to wear it, but just for the sake of this blog…), but somewhere in 2017, if I stick with my resolutions, I might just be cocky enough to pull it off. Hell, I put down a hefty sum on it. Might as well turn the bitch out!

Everything I do — actually, scratch that — everything I actually care about, I’ll give it that extra kick. I’ve been told I’m already over dramatic, so why not push that to its limits? Who doesn’t love THEE-YA-TUH, DAH’LING?

Stop Fucking Caring So Much – This really goes hand in hand with being extra. Because if you’re going to be extra, you can’t give two shits about what people are going to say about you. Being a gay man, I’m already at a disadvantage of speaking about dudes. To have that confidence to not have to tell people you’re gay, but through your actions in ITSELF (see fur coat), and to not give a shit? That’s a challenge. Going to any place that’s not gay-friendly in a fur fucking coat? All while sporting shorts and dock martin boots? Yes, bitch. That’s the outfit I’ve got planned. That’s a challenge. And I need to be able to stand to it.

I don’t see why I’ve been so self-conscious about how I look to people. It stops me from being, well, me. I think in retrospect, looking at my resolutions, I see now how it’s really limited my freedom. And I hate it.

Going into 2017, the future might not be so bright. All these newfound bigots have found their footing now with Donald Trump stepping into the president seat. But to that I say, fuck it. If I’m going to get called out for being a queer Asian, I might as well give them good reason to believe it.

But of course, resolutions don’t get themselves started. The best way to adhere to your goals is simply working towards them. And so, away I go!


Do you have a New Year’s resolution? Share it with me!







About neilprotacio

Freelance journalist who just so happens to know what goes well with certain breads.
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