That has been my mantra for the past half-decade, or so – the no resolution New Year’s. I think, for a good long time, resolutions only added to my own brand of self-loathing, and acted like a loaded gun under the bed, more dangerous than any kind of protection (or inspiration). Resolutions always felt like such a set-up. A long, laundry list of things we want to change about ourselves that need some kind of significant turning of tides and time to set into action. But, don’t get me wrong, I set and let fall many a resolution, anticipating every New Year with breathless anticipation and buckets of hope. I’ve always loved the New Year, the fresh starts, the blank slate to fill. I’ve always been a change-junkie that way, and I’ve always loved writing lists. That said, somewhere along the line they started to hurt to make, and invariably break. They became too loaded with disappointment in myself and too much of a reminder of the dreams I have let slip away.
I put an end to resolutions and just let myself revel in the clean sheet of paper without cluttering it up with to-do’s and to-change’s. I let myself take a deep breath and move forward without too many maps and directions.
Well, as one might guess (especially if you know me and my lousy sense of direction), I got lost.
I got lost in helping everyone around me with their goals and lists and dreams. Always one to take on other people’s projects and desires, believing in them with full-force and persistence, and delighting in helping them make their dreams come true. But, as I’m sure Miss Penny Lane (Almost Famous) would attest, sometimes you have to slip your big sunglasses on, do to Morocco, make up a new name, and make yourself your new project.
I got lost in a job that became a never-ending spiral of stress and hoops of fire to jump through (and often get singed in the process). I got lost in the day-to-day, in my commute, in my kids, in my relationship, and in the weight of financial pressure of being the breadwinner. Even though, the past year has been one of the happiest of my life, I still have found myself losing myself in all of it.I am not complaining. I am lucky in so many ways and have a good life, amazing kids, and a wonderful relationship. But, in the midst of all of it, I forgot that I have dreams, I have things I want to do and accomplish, I have a path to follow, as well.
So, bring back those resolution fanfare, I’ve decided. Break out the permanent markers and the poster boards (the one I grabbed at the local drugstore seems to be some kind of 80’s neon yellow), and give myself a push into this New Year. Maybe this year I will be kinder to myself in these lists of things to accomplish, and perhaps this year I will find the time and energy, and damn persistence, to make some of my dreams come true (or at least move a little bit forward with said dreams).
And, in my own attempt at personal kindness, let’s keep these to ten things only. So, without further ado (ado is such a keen word to say aloud),in no particular order, here are my top ten dreams, schemes, and be-your-own muse resolutions:
1. Write everyday.
2. Work on that idea for a novel (or the other two, never did finish, novels).
3. Write some real, pen-to-paper letters and mail them.
4. Discover new music and share it.
6. Balance – learn to say no and/or delegate at work, decide there are limits and that at least 2 nights a week it is ok to leave on-time and be home at a decent hour. Also, weekends should be weekends, and not portable work days.
7. Eat better and exercise more.
8. Keep a running list of books and films I consume this year.
9. See more live music (and write about it).
10. As Agent Dale Cooper says, “I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Every day, once a day, give yourself a present. Don’t plan it. Don’t wait for it. Just let it happen. It could be a new shirt at the men’s store, a catnap in your office chair, or two cups of good, hot black coffee.” – give myself a little gift, or at least remember myself on the priority list, everyday.
Well, there they are, posted and everything, and here goes nothing (everything)…I will see how it goes.
And now, for a song, because Death Cab and New Year’s Day just fit so well, to me: