"Not one for New Year’s resolutions, plans in place to stay weird " by: Jessica Shepard

   It’s our first edition of 2019 and I’ve been unsure about what to write about for a few days. 
   Usually, column writers feature their favored work from the previous year or offer some stereotypical New Year’s resolution-centric blurb. 
   Anyone who knows me knows how I’m not too keen on following what everyone else “does.” 
   I suppose you could chalk that up to my mom encouraging my siblings and me to grow up as independent thinkers and encouraged us to find our own niche. 
   Granted, it was hard being the only kid to take a “C” from a science teacher because the bug collection project or dissections were against our beliefs. 
   But, it paved the way for us to embrace our quirks and be the oddballs out. 
   And there’s nothing else I’m more thankful for than that.  
   When I’m on the clock, I curtail most of my weirdness, but, when I’m with family or close friends, I’m all for letting my “uniqueness” out. 
   Last week, a couple of friends and I went out to Mr. Gatti’s in El Campo and spent time catching up over dinner. 
   It’s been years since I’ve been to a Mr. Gatti’s restaurant and it just reinforced how much I missed our local one. 
   The highlight of the night was actually going back to the game room to play Skee-Ball. 
   Granted, we didn’t need the tickets and I’m sure I was the oldest person there without kids, but, we still had fun. 
   We also carved out some time to take commemorative photo booth photos to preserve the night. 
   All in all, it’s something that started out a bit normal but ended on a weird note and I’m proud of it. 
   I’m also eternally grateful to have friends who aren’t afraid to be just as odd as me. 
   Sure, we only got 50 tickets and spent too much money, but the memories are priceless. 
   At the end of the day, I just hope to have a few similar moments in the coming year. 
   I’m not one for resolutions or self-made promises to put on display. 
   Mostly because if you don’t manage to fulfill them, then everyone can see where you fall short and partly because I tend to forget them most of the time. 
   Life moves too fast to keep checking a year-long list every day. 
   But, if I can manage just a fraction of the fun events in great company this year, then I’ll count it as a win. 
   I feel like I’m better managing those sorts of things as more of a spur of the moment type of thing anyway. 
   Unless it’s going to be some huge production that requires too much coordinating, that is. 
   And if that’s the case, I need at least two weeks’ notice in advance. 
   After all, the news never sleeps and sometimes it requires a little more work to carve out some free time in my schedule. 
   Either way, I have high hopes for maintaining my weirdness in the company of great friends and wonderful family members. 
   I hope this New Year gives you the chance to do the same. 
   Happy New Year, everyone – say weird and have fun!

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