Monday, January 2, 2012

Resolute, 2011 Edition

Happy New Year!

At my former, anonymous blog, I got into the tradition of posting last year's New Year's resolutions and their result, and then making new ones in the same post. It was a useful tool to gauge how my year went, so I see no reason to stop it. Here are last year's:

1. Don’t lose sight of my health. Although in practical terms I flossed a lot less than I should have, and December of 2011 will always be remembered by me as the Month of Neverending Desserts, I still think I succeeded at this in a way I couldn't have known about when I made the resolution. My digestive health was becoming rather seriously bad in the months before I quit full-time work, and now I'm healthy again for the most part.

2. Remember the Bikram lesson. This lesson is sort of a long story, but the short version is that there is just no quick fix for my life. It doesn’t benefit me to run full speed into a perceived solution, because generally that solution ends up feeling an awful lot like a wall. I think I succeeded at remembering this. Kind of. I still want a single solution to drop into my life - the lottery, a fat book advance, a penalty-free writedown of our mortgage, etc. I haven't gotten much better at not hoping for such things, even though I learned a lot this year about how patience and inching toward my goals really does benefit me.

3. Stop worrying about “normal”. ENTIRELY. A wise person explained to me in 2010 that as long as your behavior doesn’t do anyone any harm, there is no reason to compare it to others’ and feel bad that it’s not the same. I made a lot of progress in this direction this year, but I still worry that I'm not...I don't know...keeping up? In certain ways? My house isn't as clean as the neighbors', I don't have as strong and solid of a life plan as my classmates'. Stuff like that. Whether the way I behave is normal or not, I care a lot less about that now, so I guess that's success.

4. Reeeeeead mooooooore boooooooooooooks. Yeah, I did. A lot more. Yay me.

5. Be better about my budget. Success. I'm a good deal more circumspect than I was in 2010, and not artificially via guilt. Which is great.

6. Relax about turning 30. I failed at this in terms of a resolution, as I was not at all relaxed over the course of the year (or on the actual birthday) about turning 30. But I turned 30 and the world didn't end. It's much nicer to be 30 than it was to be 23, I'll say that much. But in terms of not being worried about aging, that's a big FAIL FAIL FAIL.

7. Find a direction. Success. I want to be a novelist. Time will tell if it's a direction that works.

This was a much better year for resolutions than most of them have been. [pats self on back] And this year's resolutions:

1. Slim down in terms of possessions. It's not necessary for me to own the equivalent of a video store, for example, or a whole stable of items that I might find a use for someday. I need to be still more ruthless about getting rid of things. I'm a recovering pack-rat (which is rather like being a recovering alcoholic - you're never really cured), and there is lots more to do.

2. With my newfound financial circumspection, toss more money into my debts. This is actually a specific thing I need to do, not just a "pay off debt" resolution. It's hard to explain practically, but it's a pretty simple financial-habits issue.

3. In terms of writing, put into practice all the things that have worked for me in 2011. Specifically: 1) Keep blogging. It helps me find my voice. 2) Just Do It. Put words on the page; it all comes from there. 3) Set a time-limit goal and stick to it. For example, my absolute deadline for the horror novel is June (failing some kind of insane life circumstance). I will be done with a first draft by June, or I'm fired.

4. Be fearless. Prior years' resolutions were about getting rid of guilt or embarrassment, or about decreasing fear to sustainable levels. This year I'm going for broke: fearlessness. About my writing, about my teaching, about being around other human beings, about going confidently in whatever direction my life wants to take me.

5. Detach. Stop fretting over the outcome and how it affects you and whether what happened reflects badly on you. Just live and do your best.

I think I had some more small ones floating around in my mind, but after 24 hours of trying to remember them, I can't. Maybe I'll update later, or maybe I'll just try to do these five as best I can.

I hope wherever and whoever you are, 2012 is your year.

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