As I sit in this coffee shop, I feel the ground shifting beneath my feet. No, unlike many of the writers on this blog, I don’t live on the west coast, so it’s not an earthquake.

It’s change, and a lot of it.

It’s all good change, and it’s really exciting change: there’s a new place to live, new surroundings (even if it’s a familiar city), a new year, in a new decade, and new resolutions.

It’s on the last one, I pause. What resolutions? I mean, how will I improve myself in 2010. . . I can always go with the regular ones – lose weight, be in better shape, read more, manage money better, blah blah blah. Sure, those are all good ones; they never go out of style, but I want to dig deeper.

On a recent late night drunken talk with a group of my best friends, we got into it – the real stuff . . . Life. It was during this hardcore discussion that a question arose that has been rolling around my head ever since. We passed that question around the room.

What do you want?

What do I want?

Sounds easy, right.

Not really.

Sure, go with the easy, obvious answer, but then you’re not getting to the heart of the matter, and you’re cheating yourself in a very valuable exercise.

It took a lot of thought, but after some reflection on the last year, the answer is simple, and yet, it’s gonna be really hard.

I want a new attitude.

I looked through all of the books that I read over the last year most of which dealt with dating, personal growth, and body language. I finished up with Wing Girl Kim’s “Alpha Dog, Get the Bitch You Want” which I will tell you, is really helpful. The reading I have done combined with some other personal experiences led me to one conclusion.

In the end, the only person I really have to please, is me.

I spent so much time contemplating, calculating, trying to figure out what others want from me, that I passed on what I wanted. This wasn’t always a conscious decision, but in retrospect many times I did things based on what I thought would make me more palatable to more people; I wanted to be liked. This isn’t to say I was fake, but I think I was timid for fear that no one would want to follow where I was leading. I was afraid of being alone, being abandoned. That timidity caused me to be very well liked, but not respected, and certainly not boyfriend material.

As a result, I found that I was disappointed, in myself, in my results, in my relationships, in my dating, even in my work, but I was too afraid to take the reigns for fear of failure. This made me, more disappointed and more timid.

It was a sad cycle that had to end.

After I bought my new place, I noticed this new found feeling of independence. All of a sudden, I could see the person I wanted to be starting to emerge. I feel less afraid to go out and try things, and more willing to strike out on my own – captain my own ship.

This is what I think an alpha dog does. Sure they lead a pack, but they only lead because they have the conviction and the internal desire to go their own way. They steer their own ship, and take it wherever they want. Alpha Dogs don’t really worry whether everyone or anyone else follows. They go in the direction they want. Alphas are always in control, and they’re not terribly concerned with what others think. It’s not that alphas are insensitive – they have no intention of hurting anyone, but they only do what they want.

My New Year’s resolution is to steer my own ship, go my own way, and spend a lot less time worrying about whether anyone follows. It’s going to require a lot of internal monitoring, and a lot more work, but I think the results are already beginning to show.

As I sit in this coffee shop, cars whiz by, conversations percolate, and a dog happily chews on his bone while Elliot Smith, M. Ward and The Eels play on the stereo. I am struck by how everything quietly, pleasantly buzzes here in the city. The buzz of the city feels like possibility much like it did when I would venture into downtown Baltimore as a child. I’m on my own here in this coffee shop, doing what I want to be doing, and it feels nice. It feels comfortable, like a captain’s chair. I may not know exactly where I’m going, but from now on I’m steering my ship.

Happy New Year, everyone. 2010 is going to be the best year ever.



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