It’s the start of a new year and thank goodness I no longer have to endure “best of” or “worst of” lists for 2014, New Year’s resolutions, “top stories of the year” and Facebook selfie slide shows. After that crystal ball dropped in Times Square, nothing appreciably changed in my world. I’m not a better person, or a worse one, for that matter. I’m a few days older, but probably not any wiser. I still face all of the same conundrums that demand solutions on December 31st. I’m so relieved not to be wished a Happy New Year everywhere I go.
Do I sound like a Grinch? If so, I don’t mean to be. I’m always a glass three quarters full kinda gal. It’s just that I think personal reflection, goal setting and planning steps toward my goals should happen every day of my life and not just once a year. The other lists — best of, worst of, top stories, favorite movies, etc. etc. etc. — were just ways to procrastinate from my own work, rarely (if ever) proving to be paradigm shifting.
And what, exactly, is the work?
I’m working on it.
It’s not a J O B. I’m very happily free from the constraints of a 9 to 5 gig, or in my case a 7:30 to whenever gig as a teacher/tutor/mentor. It’s not chores, although of course those will still need to be done. It shouldn’t be “a” chore, or I’m not doing it right. It’s the work of making tangible the aspirations that I have — for myself and for others.
What I hope is that I fill my cup as full as I can with experiences that make me think, melt in appreciation of their depth, glow in response to their beauty, feel intensely, laugh until my belly hurts, act with integrity, and perhaps, just perhaps, help someone else to do the same.
This is my time to develop a vision — not resolutions — and to act upon it, whether through my writing, my travels, my relationships, my yoga, my cooking, my photography, my reading, my stewardship of land and home, my sharing of myself with others known and unknown.
So these are my hopes for 2015 and beyond:
1) I hope, through my blogs– one a “lifestyle” blog and the other for longer form pieces — to communicate the joy of living a conscious life of modest means but big thoughts. I think and write about things ranging from whether to paint or refinish my heart pine floors or how to preserve summer produce to how best to explain white privilege or confront abuse and torture, whether domestic or institutional.
2) I hope, through my memoir work to leave a legacy not just for my children and their children, but also for anyone who might be interested in a life story that combines pluck, luck and coming of age in a specific moment in time.
3) I hope to keep challenging myself (and those around me) to examine the role we play in the larger plot lines of our time, and to choose deliberately as we build our characters and move through the larger story.
4) I hope to never become immune to the pain of others.
5) I hope to enrich my life further through spiritual and physical habits that make me more open, flexible, balanced and strong.
There are many things I wish for other people, but in 65 years I have learned that wishing is gratuitous; doing something to make the wish a reality is the work that counts.
I, and you, and the United States, and the world will face many trials in 2015, be they annoyingly mundane or crushingly, maddeningly, sorrowfully difficult. In this new year let’s acknowledge our challenges, our capacities and, as the psalm says, “make a joyful noise” as we do the work of living fully and helping others to do the same.