Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Since I Could Write

For as long as I can remember, my parents, or church or someone required that I make New Year's resolutions. Often reluctantly, because someone was standing over me, I'd sit down and make a list. It usually went something like this:

1. Get better grades
2. Exercise (starting around middle school)
3. Lose weight (starting around middle school and one that shouldn't have been on the list but was for all sorts of hideous and ridiculous reasons)
4. Don't gossip
5. Be nicer to my brother (this is when I appreciated having a big family)
6. Be nicer to my sisters (some years I dedicated a line to all three)
7. Be nicer to my mom
8. Be nicer to my dad
9. Write more letters
10. Practice piano and violin more

Then once I got out on my own, leaving the home of my parents and religion behind, instead of ditching the lists, I started writing pages of detailed, elaborate and totally unrealistic resolutions. I will be a good person. I will. I will. I will prove them wrong, I think, was my thinking.

I kept writing lists, on and on, one for each new year until a few years ago. "Fuck it," I said. "Who needs resolutions?" People don't keep them anyway. And I went nearly two resolution-free years until last year when I made one: to get out more.

Getting out more has been good. It's made me feel like I exist somewhere beyond the world of three young children and motherhood. I've seen things, heard music, had conversations that I wouldn't have had otherwise. I feel human.

And perhaps this is why I've decided to make a resolution to write resolutions again. Not the stupid ones from childhood (o.k, maybe there is a little crossover). Not 10-page books of ways to betterfy and beautify (crossover again). But plain Jane, simple resolutions. The kind that might actually make my life different, or someone else's.

2008 New Year's Resolutions

1. Take a photo every day (or almost every day)
2. Write letters: specifically: Jason, John, my grandma, my aunt, Olivia, Issac and Grace
3. Deal with shit as immediately as possible--this applies to literal and metaphorical messes
4. Go outside, get walking, take notice
5. Let people know that I love them (I get to be creative with this)
6. Use less

I'm still not sure that I believe in writing resolutions. But it's difficult not to. Each year when the calendar rolls over, I find myself thinking about them and what they should be. This year I didn't fight it. I gave in. Which makes me think that adding a seventh is in order. There are times for fighting and railing against the establishment (my establishment). And there are times for quietly and peacefully giving in. This is one of those times.

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