I’ve never been one to blindly follow convention. In fact, more often than not, I find myself defying it... blindly. So this year, rather than launch into some logic-driven diatribe about how New Year’s is a mere construction and people should view every day as an opportunity to evaluate their lives, make goals and take stock of the important things in life, I decided to take a step back and make New Year’s meaningful for myself... just like everyone else. Which brings me to my first resolution: See myself more in others:
Rather than focus on ways I’m different than other people, I want to embrace the things we have in common. I think it’s a natural part of growing up to identify oneself first by who one is NOT, before discovering who one is, but sometimes we don’t shake the habit without a concerted effort. I often find myself wanting to be different, or judging others for the things I don’t accept in myself, and besides being utterly dishonest, it’s just frickin’ exhausting. At the end of the day, we’re all human beings. We’re all looking for joy, love and a sense of purpose. Some people have seen more or done more than others. Some have achieved more, traveled more, partied more, earned more. Some have lost more, cried more, suffered more, loved more. But underneath all those qualities and external markers, there is an experience that is uniquely human, and that is something we all share. This year I want to celebrate that experience and accept everything that comes with it--both in myself and others.
In a way, the rest of my resolutions are a subset of the first... Kind of the measurable practices I can do to achieve a deeper sense of human being-ness.
Make exercise a habit:
Big surprise, right? But there’s more to it than just the physical gain (or loss, as it were). Just as I defy my “commonness,” I also struggle with routine, and while I can get away with quick spurts of inspiration every now and then, true growth and achievement requires persistence. Physical goals are great in this regard because they’re so measurable - probably another reason I avoid them so much. I’m going to start by walking every day, even if it’s just a little, and work my way up to running a race. As it stands, I hate running, but I think what I hate more than actually running is that I suck at it. So here’s to physical fitness! And doing things even if you suck!
For several months now I’ve been writing for at least fifteen minutes a day. It’s been great in forming the habit, but I want to develop a more refined practice and work on substantial pieces that I can publish, either on my blog or in magazines. I’ve said it before, but I really want my blog to reflect not just what I think and feel, but how I evolve. Weekly posts will be my first goal. Questions and topics of interest welcome.
“Phone a friend” more:
I’m a bad friend, I’ll admit it. Not because I don’t show up if someone needs me, but because I don’t show up when they don’t. I’ve always found it easy to meet people and make friends, but proactively pursuing a relationship with someone is not something I’ve practiced. Just like my physical fitness, I’ve taken my friendships for granted and not put in the time and effort to build the relationships I want. This year I want to be a more active friend. I know a lot of people in a lot of places and sometimes just a quick email or phone call can mean the world to someone; I know it can for me. It's never that I don't care, in some ways it's just the opposite. I let my fears get in the way of reaching out, when in times of struggle, that's exactly what I need to do the most. So watch out friends, new and old, I'm coming for ya!
Learn some shit:
Like with running, I have an allergy to doing things I don’t feel mildly competent in. This worked fine when I was a teenager because I was pretty talented and it allowed my to try lots of different things, but those talents don’t evolve unless you push past the discomfort of failing. As an adult, being able to kickflip or play Nirvana songs on the guitar aren’t going to get me very far. So this year I’m going to do something I’ve pretty much never done: practice. I have a few areas of interest--guitar, spanish, design, dance--but the important part is the act of practicing. Daily. Something. Anything.
I think that about covers it. I hope that by this time next year I can look back on my current self and shake my head at my ignorance... with compassion of course.
I wish all of you a year of kindness, compassion, failure and growth! :-)