Last night many of us felt the final collective dry heave that was the end of 2011. It was a big year. Full of laughter, tears, heartache, and worry. A lot changed this year; a lot of plates shifted in the dynamics of our world, our country, ourselves. Here at the house we swung open all our doors and windows and ushered out the old with poorly concealed enthusiasm, and, sitting here tonight, I can't think of a better sounding bedfellow than good old 2012 (Mayan calendar be damned!).
In general, I am a sucker for making resolutions. There is something so liberating about declarative sentences uttered with self-righteous gusto. (I will pay all of my bills on time. And floss my teeth every night. And purchase only locally farmed, organic vegetables.) There is a magical sheen to this time of year, and everything seems to look so shiny and attractive and attainable. Of course, looking back, I didn't accomplish very much on my list for last year. Sure, we purchased a cow (more on that in a future post), and I purged the house of accumulated objects. But I didn't achieve all that I had hoped I would. And that's okay. Because 2011 felt so much like a project in infancy. It was a time for exploration, understanding, and blind stumbling. In the business world they call it R&D, but really, it's just trying to answer that all-important question, "what the f*** am I doing?!"
So, upon further reflection of past lists and resulting achievements, I decided to reframe what it means to create a "resolution". Sure, I've tried the grandiose over-haul of each aspect of my person-hood. But that was a bit overwhelming and much too difficult to measure. I've scaled back and tried writing a series of small, discrete goals, but that felt like a to-do list. Boring, uninspiring. I wanted more, something that was inspirational, without being daunting. Something that would motivate me, but not taunt me mercilessly every time I failed to attain a certain expectation.
So, instead, I focused on some of the moments that happened this year that jolted me into a new train of thought, or reminded me of a long-forgotten passion, or altered my perception of myself and the world in a way that was vital. These moments represent the feelings, or the actions, or the paradigm shifts that I want to realize during the coming year, but rather than force myself to try to attain it all I've decided to simply keep them at the forefront of my brain.
It's an experiment, of course, but then again, isn't that what this is all about?