And what better time to start a self-improvement regime than on January 1 of each year.
Fresh starts, heroic efforts and good intentions aside, odds are I’ll be a kaleidoscopic mixed bag of goodies and baddies this coming year. Just like last year and the year before that. And the year before, before, before. You get the picture. For this is the enigma that makes living sweet and interesting. Irresistible and delicious. Inspiring and auspicious. I could soar with the divine Messengers of God. Or grovel in the mud with the Prince of Darkness himself. Who knows. That’s the intriguing part. The ride. The rock. The roll of this thing called life.
But let’s imagine for a moment, I was big on resolutions. Picture me sitting at my computer on New Year’s Day typing up an entire year’s worth of aspirations, desires and goals.
Categorically they might go something like this:
I’ll be more spiritual. Or not. I may just float this boat into the sea of iniquity. Not intentionally. That’s not me. But I might drift off-course from time to time. I’m human. Shit like that happens. Most days though, I’ll continue with my daily letters to God. I love these intimate conversations. They’re a bit one-sided at times but they do make me feel better. A daily emotional dump into the neatly lined pages of a Hilroy notebook is remarkably cathartic. Good for the Soul. I’ll work on being kinder and more loving to everyone, even those who are difficult to like, much less love. I’ll pray and open the eyes of my heart. I’ll listen with compassion and empathy. I’ll tread lighter on the earth. I’ll work on my awesomeness. Maybe even turn myself into sauce.
I’ll be more physical. Or not. At times I’ll laze around, eat rubbish and binge-watch every season of Sons of Anarchy or Breaking Bad, even though I already did that last year. Some resolutions are worth repeating. There will be other binges as well. Like too much turkey and cranberries at Thanksgiving. Too many bottles of alcohol-free wine. Oh, the shame of it all. But there will be redemption. I will continue with my daily practice of yoga because it still manages to keep me somewhat limber. And without going all Zen on you, it’s a conduit to my higher self. I like that place in me. I’ll walk the winding country road during my lunch breaks. With every twist and bend there’s a brood of hens or flock of sheep that delight me, no matter how many times I see them. Similar to how I feel about my children. I’ll also keep running every morning. Learn new things from the hill. Or maybe not. It might simply be one steep mother of a hill that I have to drag myself up to get home. Sometimes a hill is just a hill.
I’ll spend more time with my family. Or not. It’s entirely possible that they don’t want to spend more time with me. They do have lives of their own. So there’s that. Wonderful lives that have nothing to do with me. Hard to believe I know, but true. But still, I’d like to see more of them. And, this includes my extended family and friends. You and you and you. Sadly, I’m guilty of being socially lazy. I’m the sloth of the soiree. But I can do better. I vow to do better. We’ll meet in places other than Facebook. I’ll get off the couch. Turn off the reruns of SoA or BB and hook up with you dear ones. We can chat over tea in a coffee house. Go to a concert and lose our hearing. Attend a poetry reading at a used bookstore. Dance our asses off in the middle of the street. Sing our own Coke commercial. It doesn’t matter what we do. It’s about the familial connection and glue. I’d love to spend all kinds of crazy-time with you, deepening the bonds of family. What about you?
I’ll work harder. Or not. Maybe I’ll work smarter. Or not. Truthfully, I don’t even understand what that expression means. Sounds like motivational mumbo jumbo. I’m smart. I work. I do my very best. Every day. But most importantly, I show up. That’s critical, I think. Especially when you work with other people who are counting on you. It’s a pretty simple philosophy. One that’s always worked for me. And if you enjoy the work you do, then bonus. And if not, take a look inside. The wisdom dwells there. But first you gotta show up.
I’ll play more. Or not. I have no idea what that means either. Do I go out and frolic in the sun? Run through mud puddles? Roll around in the dirt. Fly a kite? Play Cards Against Humanity? Join an organized sport? Ride a bike or a scooter? These all sound like legitimately fun things to do. I might even give one or two the old College try. But most likely, I’ll carry on doing the things I’ve always done for fun. Write. Read. Play music. Sing in the shower. You may find these activities horribly dull. I guess at the end of the day, or year, we have to define our own fun. And as Nike says, just do it.
I’ll be more wealthy. Or not. Bottom line, I don’t care. I’ve never been driven by the money. Why start now? It gives me heartburn just thinking about it. I prefer to do the things that delight and amuse me. Tickle my fancy. Capture my imagination. Challenge my status quo. Some of those things pay fairly well and keep food on the table. Others don’t pay a cent. But I love doing them just the same. Maybe even more. Like writing this blog, for instance. I’d be a penniless beggar if this was how I made my living. But it brings me enormous pleasure and joy. It’s gratifying beyond my wildest expectations. And if these things, these heavenly intangible things, were currency? I’d be a millionaire. Ten times over. And that’s good enough for me.
There you have it. Words to live by? Could be. Words of wisdom? Possibly. Words worth repeating? Maybe not. You tell me.
Now back to reality. The big reason I don’t do resolutions is that I can’t keep them. Why would I set myself up for failure? I can’t take that kind of pressure. Can you?
So rather than engaging in all forms of frenetic doing, accomplishing, goal setting and achieving, I choose to relax into the year. Let it unfold organically. Bask in the wonder and glory and pleasure of it all. Smell the roses and the coffee and the intoxicating aroma of life. Embrace the git and grime and messiness. Revel in the perfectly miraculous humanness.
No doubt, I’ll trip over myself along the way. But I’ll enjoy the tumble for it’s not the end of the world. A fall is just a fall after all.
I encourage you to do the same. Pursue the things that you find worthwhile. That add meaning to your life and to your tribe. Be mindful that it isn’t always lofty or profound or life-altering. But it is essential. Take time to sit still and do absolutely nothing. For it’s in moments like these that you get to know the wonder of you.
Now go on. Give yourself a big fat passionate hug. Tell yourself you’re beautiful. Glorious. Loving. Full of awesome sauce. There’s no one else in the universe quite like you.
Then resolve to tell someone else to do the same.