This post is a little late and not because I’ve been busy, though I have been actually, but because I didn’t think I would make any new year’s resolutions this year.
As the new year came upon me, I listened to my friends’ resolutions and read much advice from online magazines, newspapers, and websites, most being passed around and shared on facebook.
But nothing seemed to fit. Sure, I could get out and exercise a bit more, but whatever, it’s not enough for me to make a resolution about. I could also eat better but chances are, once school starts again, I won’t and I don’t need to feel guilty about not fulfilling a resolution I knew wouldn’t be possible or wouldn’t be something I cared enough to do.
Of course, I thought about being a better mother, taking the kids to do fun stuff more often, but hell, I think about that all the time, so again–no need to make a resolution about it.
So I settled on making no resolutions. Letting this be the year of “my resolution is not to make one.”
But I failed in that case as well because I have, in fact, made two resolutions I greatly care about. Two that I do hope to accomplish in 2014.
The first one came to me when I received an email from wordpress.com letting me know my 2013 stats. Sadly, I had only posted 9 new posts for the past year. Going from 365 posts a few years ago to 9 seemed unfathomable, and yet…there it was: Only 9 posts. When I received this email, I had been sitting down to rewrite a portion of a book I wrote this fall. Amidst all the work and chaos of fall, I did have this complete urgency to write, and so I took a few minutes here and there, a few hours alone in my office when I didn’t have grading to do, some late nights sitting in my bed, and wrote–in about one month–a draft of a new novel. And it’s a story I really like. Something that has potential. I want to publish this. I’m proud of my draft, every chapter hand written.
During the fall, I also had time to type the first 7 chapters (about half the book), making revisions as I typed, and send it to my friends Melanie and Neal to read. They both had great revisions for me to make, and I didn’t feel discouraged. But then, during the holiday break, I found myself trying to type up Chapter 8, but the revisions weren’t coming to me. I essentially got writer’s block even though I had already written the book. Maybe what I really got was revision block. Anyway, sitting at my computer typing words onto a word document that I didn’t really like, I got the email from wordpress about how little I had written in the past year. I know that the key to writing is just sitting down and doing it. I teach this everyday to students, but it’s become apparent that despite my sudden burst of creativity, I can fall into the dredges of not wanting to write anything because I’m not inspired when the truth is I’m not writing because I’m out of practice.
Thus, Resolution #1: Write more often.
My second resolution came from a conversation between Kirby and I as we were getting ready to go out on New Year’s Eve.
We weren’t discussing resolutions, but Kirby was talking about some girl he met–something not really that important in the bigger scheme of things, as in it was just a normal, boring conversation–when he said: “Listen, I’m 34 years old, and I just realized I’m beginning to go bald. When did that happen? And I don’t really care about my age, but I know that every day I get to live on this planet I’m going to live it according to my rules and not what others think of me. I don’t know when I’m going to die or when I’m going to be totally bald, but I do know that I’m going to live each day to the fullest.”
O.K., so that’s what I recall he said, though it certainly wasn’t that verbatim. But in that moment, it kind of hit me: that’s how I’ve been living recently. I have stopped caring about what other people think of me because I know I’m a good person who makes mistakes and lives with them and tries to be better and sometimes succeeds and sometimes fails–in general, I’m a normal person. But all the pressure from what people think about my decisions, I’ve generally let go of. As in: I don’t give a shit and I just want to live my life. Now to live each day to the fullest is a complete bullshit, yolo idea and I’m actually pretty sure Kirby didn’t use that cliche exactly, but it amounts to the idea of what he was saying. And I know I won’t live each day to the fullest because no matter how bright my outlook may be each morning, by the end of many, many days, I know I’ll be mired down in work, and kids, and schedules, and I’ll be so exhausted that to think of “how I lived my day to the fullest” will sound like the cruelest of sentiments (even if I can rationalize that doing all my day to day stuff IS living my day to the fullest). But in the free moments I have, in the moments where I can be alone or go out or sit down with my kids or take them to the park or eat a family dinner, I can promise myself that I will live according to my terms, and my terms do include taking in consideration my children’s needs because they are essentially appendages of me and my life.
Resolution #2: I will live each day according to my rules (and I must point out that I do not mean this in any kind of Nietzsche-an “ubermensch” way, but rather in the way that makes me and my family happy while still living in a world with confines and rules, though not necessarily allowing myself to be governed by what others think or by what society tells me I should be doing).
So Happy New Year to everyone. And to myself. 2014 is already shaping up to be an amazing year.