January begs for resolutions and lists and makeovers and promises. She stands at our door or over desk and taps her foot, waiting for the insight and reflection, and I suspect the older we get the more she rolls her eyes and sighs at all our big announcements and revelations. Perhaps she keeps coming round because she feels sorry for us, poor humans stumbling blurry-eyed from the holiday celebrations, blinded by sparkle, light, and gifts–why, of course we think we can do anything. Nothing like razzle-dazzle to fill the soul with optimism–as any con artist can tell you.
If January is the one asking the best of us, December may be the one having a good laugh at our expense, fairly sure she’ll see us again when we are older but not thinner or richer or wiser…
But I’m not a pessimist. Really. I gave up proper resolutions long ago. I made resolutions that would make me happy–and I respectfully suggest you give it a try. Every year I resolve to eat plenty of ice cream. Have always succeeded. I used to resolve not to see any movie with Sylvester Stallone, but that’s become unnecessary these days. Now I resolve not to let George Bush appear on my TV, and I’ve done well with that. I don’t resolve to exercise more, although I do resolve to park further away from entrances and take stairs up a flight or two.
Writing is where perspective is lost. Maybe this is the case with all passions and addictions. Those of us who resolve to drink else, eat less, cheat less or exercise more, care more, give more–these things are often so tightly woven into our selves (who am I if don’t fill-in-your-addiction/issue-here ?) we feel as if we’re coming unraveled when we try to remove them. That’s my bit of pop psychology anyway. I can say I will write more, write better, finish this, submit that and maybe I will and maybe I won’t. Will I finish this latest novel? Will I get an agent? Will I waste less time? Will I ignore Angst and Block?
January sighs and shakes her head and welcomes me to the New Year all the same. I think she’s happy to see we each made it around again and she resignedly notes who didn’t. And maybe she wishes we’d stop focusing on all the things we ought to do and should do and stop half-joking about what we’ll fail to do, and instead take some time to focus on what we have accomplished.
So, don’t tell me what you will do this year, tell me what you did last year. Not confessions, mind you. This is an unashamedly feel-good exercise. When you look back on 2007, what did you do that makes you happy today? No good deed is too small to take note of. Surely you can think of at least three good things…
1. I got two students to enjoy writing class.
2. I reunited a lost dog with its owner.
3. I wrote more nights than I didn’t.
Now you try and let me know.