There are people who hate new year’s resolutions and then there are people like me whose whole lives are colored by them. We were the kids who loved all those fresh new notebooks every September. The sense of possibility and promise of a new year is irresistible. I am a new year’s resolution partisan. It’s like getting a free trip to the lifestore where I can wander through the aisles and see what’s on the shelves and take home all the shiny stuff that appeals.
I have written down these lists for many years in an old Filofax I keep now just for the purpose. I review last year’s list and do an accounting of the ones I accomplished and the ones I didn’t before I make the new one. I also note other things not envisaged back in January but accomplished anyway. Very few of the failures get carried over. Some do but never for more than two years. I figure if after two years I still haven’t done a thing I wrote down intending to do, then I probably never much wanted to do it in the first place. Cursing was on there for one such two-year period. But the thing is, I enjoy cursing. I like the feel of a bad word in my mouth. I like the way a word can astonish or make an exhilarating point. I don’t know why I ever thought to give it up.
The annual stock taking and accounting is the concrete framework for my year. Last week I had a dream about something that felt Big and Important and I realized the second I woke up it was probably in anticipation of the list. Apparently even my subconscious is in on it.
This resolution thing seems a little out of character for someone who seems to live in constant spontaneity. My newer friends are always surprised when somehow in December or January it comes up and I reveal that I do it. In fact have done it now for years and years. Our move to Vermont was hidden inside a list of resolutions in 1994 nine years before we actually moved. The line item was “live somewhere beautiful … like Vermont” Lots of things got in the way …”buy a business” took over for a while. As did ‘ sell the business”. Then it morphed into “find a bigger house” “move closer to the kid’s schools”, and then came back in 2002 as “move to a beautiful place and live closer to the natural world…Vermont?” The grand themes are only obvious in retrospect. The patterns emerge as the years roll by. We moved to Vermont in 2003. And I am telling you– it was the list.
Lots of our family life events are here. If you look also at the year-in-review lists practically our whole lives are recorded. You can easily see where life intervened and new plans took urgent precedent over old ones. “Cancer” for example was most of one year in review. The next year “forget about the cancer” was number one.
The coming year there may be big rumbling changes afoot. You can almost smell the ozone in the air like just before the storm. Clearly it is time for a new list.