Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Resolute, 2012 Edition

Every year, I post last year's New Year's resolutions with a short analysis of how well I think I succeeded at them, and then I post this year's. So, here are last year's (in greater detail here): 

1. Slim down in terms of possessions. I had no idea in the world how necessary this resolution would turn out to be, since I didn't know in January that I would be moving from a two-bedroom house in Maryland to a one-bedroom apartment in California. However, I'm still only calling this a partial success, because while I got rid of a lot of stuff, I didn't do it especially thoughtfully, nor would I have gotten rid of so much without the cattle prod in my back. Due to necessity instead of due to self-improvement = a cheat.

2. With my newfound financial circumspection, toss more money into my debts. Fail. Big fail. For various reasons. I'm only sort of blaming myself for this one; I got surprised a few times this year in terms of money and no disasters resulted from failing.

3. In terms of writing, put into practice all the things that have worked for me in 2011 (Keep Blogging, Just Do It, and Set Deadlines). I found varying degrees of success with the three parts of this goal. I wrote exponentially more this year than I did in 2011, and the quality of the writing grew enormously, so I call that a success. But I flunked at setting a deadline at least once and Just Do It didn't always go perfectly. Not that I expect it to always go perfectly.

4. Be fearless. Partial success. Greatest success in this area was found via clothes and accessories, even though that sounds shallow and lame. There were proud times when I went fearlessly into whatever I was supposed to do, and there were times when I cowered and hung back and needed Matt's help to convince me to come out of the cave.

5. Detach. Um. A wash? I kept detachment in mind fairly often when I found myself hanging on too hard or getting too invested in something, but I often failed actually to detach. If the goal of New Year's resolutions, regardless of success or failure, is to be more thoughtful and aware of the things you make resolutions about (and I tend to think it is), then I think this was potentially a success.

And now, all the things I want to be and feel and do in 2013:

1. Buy less. This sounds ordinary, but it's not. This will be hard and worthwhile and necessary.

2. Be reticent. One of the great lessons my husband has taught me (by example) about life is that you don't have to say everything you think. Not even when a conversation is going on around you and contributing to it seems to be the thing to do. Not even when people ask you direct questions. You have the choice to stand there and say nothing, for whatever reason you choose. The same is true on Facebook, on people's blogs, in phone conversations. I can choose to think my own thoughts and not release them, and I lose nothing. I've been learning this lesson gradually for four or so years now, but this is the year I'm ready to think of it every time I'm interacting with people. Some terrific examples of how it benefited me to stay quiet in 2012 are helping me toward this goal.

3. Learn to apologize less. The number of applications of this resolution is much larger than I have space for here. I don't mean the kind of apology where you bumped into somebody and made them drop their stuff (you should always apologize for that), I mean the kind of apology where I take something seriously and am vaguely aware that other people don't and I feel the need to be ashamed that I'm a nerd or a devotee. It's stupid and self-harmful to be sorry about such things.

4. Keep reading. Keep watching movies. Keep going to operas. Keep writing notes to loved ones. Keep donating to Kickstarters. Keep going on dates with Matt. Keep loving California. Keep living. Don't get dead.

5. When writing, live in beginner's mind. Beginner's mind is where you accept that you know nothing, and imagine yourself doing whatever you're doing for the first time, and hence live in a state of wonder. I am happy about all I've learned this year re: writing, but if I keep assuming that I know nothing and will know more tomorrow, I won't get caught in despair that I don't know enough, nor will I feel cocky and my work feel stale.

6. In friendship, roll with the punches better. Not everything can be as tightly controlled as my own reactions, and it's easy to forget this.

7. Finish KUFC and write another book. That's kind of a crazy goal, to write another book on top, but hey, I'm dreamin' big.

I think I'll stick with these seven. I was going to make a resolution about body acceptance, but eh.

Some of my very good friends have had record-breakingly bad 2012s, and I am hoping hard for them that 2013 is better. I've had a wonderful year, but I'm glad to see it go, to make room for the new. Whoever you are, reading this, you have twelve months in front of you - what are you going to make from them?


Chad said...

I think the apologies one is excellent. As I was once told, work hard to not do stuff that you'd need to apologize for. And if you haven't done anything that you need to apologize for, don't knuckle under and apologize just because somebody wants you to.

Best wishes for 2013 for you and yours, Katharine!

Katharine Coldiron said...

Thank you! Same to you! Having a teenager will make for a fun year, I'm sure.

Chad said...

Um, yeah. It's started already.

twinklysparkles said...

Happy New Year Katharine!

I love this and it inspires me. Perhaps I will do one of my own, but I didn't have any resolutions last year. I could start where I am.....


Katharine Coldiron said...

That's always a very good place to start!

Thanks for the compliment.

Anonymous said...

Number 3 should simply be retitled to "attain self esteem"