Friday, January 1, 2016

Happy New Year!

I love this time of the year—it’s just so full of possibility, the new gray sky the cleanest of slates.

Each year, I find professional projects ending with the calendar, and then there’s the rush of holiday shopping, the need to get it done in time, because Santa does not issue extensions. It leaves me ripe for introspection by the lights of the Christmas tree I’m too tired to take down. My thoughts turn inward, toward all the ways I can do and be in the future. It’s still true—truer than ever—that I can be anyone I want to be. If I tell you to call me Bubbles, you have to do that, if you expect me to answer. I call the shots on my own life.

The trick is the when. For everything we resolve to do, there is a starting point—a time when the new thing begins. January 1 is a convenient date to communicate to ourselves and to people who may help to hold us to our intentions. For that matter, I’ve made many birthday resolutions. (Conveniently, my birthday is in late January, so that’s mostly a situation where I spit-shine my New Year’s resolutions and remind myself of what it is I want to be about.) But I’ve also made spring, summer, fall, and winter resolutions, and Lent and Advent resolutions, and November resolutions, first-day-of-school resolutions, after-vacation resolutions, and random-day resolutions, usually at the end of a writing project.

I’m a gal who likes to resolve, and I’m also someone who thrives on change, so resolutions are hard to stick to for long. I change, and sometimes they lose their relevance. Sometimes I lose interest in them, or I set my sights on a different view of myself.

The act of reimagining myself, or maybe re-envisioning myself, at the start of a new year is the most spiritually relevant thing I do throughout the year. It feels like a holy occasion. Resolutions are fun to make, even for someone like me who takes them very seriously. But they are nothing less than an expression of my deepest self. They’re incredibly revealing; if I share them with someone, that person knows where I find myself wanting. He or she knows my weak point. In sharing my promises to myself, I expose myself. I am never more open or more vulnerable.

I take it personally when people deride resolutions. The snide remark is usually that if one really wants to change, it’s not necessary to wait for a holiday. Resolutions, then, are for the weak minded and the weak in spirit. More evolved people don’t need them—that’s the gist of the complaint.

But doesn’t change require a starting point? Artists know. They’re always resolving—always deciding that they’re going to take on this project, write in that persona, set aside this chunk of time, explore that genre. Writing happens because we decide we’re going to write this poem or work on that story. The poem, or the idea of the poem, doesn’t even exist, really, until the pen is in hand or the fingers are on the keyboard. Each poem, then, or story or essay or novel, represents a resolution. Without the promise to the self, we’re not even staring at a blank page. Without the promise, there is no page.

New Year’s Day is a chance to do something amazing, or something small, or something new. I embrace it with joy and fear and a sense of play, but also with utter seriousness of intent. I don’t have time for the naysayers. I’ve got things to do. I’ve got people to be. I’ve got something brand new I need to write.


  1. I love the idea of resolutions throughout the year. New ones to look forward to; reevaluating the ones in progress. Fab!

    1. I love a little resolve in my life! There are tons of good occasions to invite it in. :)