January is shaking her head and rolling her eyes at you. You know she is.

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… 

I’ll start–
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.        

10 thoughts on “January is shaking her head and rolling her eyes at you. You know she is.

  1. How much fun.
    I watched my body heal itself after cancer, got my work website up and running and received certification to be a childbirth educator. Oh and I ate lots of fabulous homemade ice cream.

  2. Ah! You have read my mind! I was thinking about this the other day, though I wasn’t planning to blog about it. But now I’ll have to! Thanks…because I know it’ll do me good to write out what I did.

    I, too, gave up making resolutions years ago. I decided that I should just continue doing what I’m doing, which is the best that I can do. And to keep writing and doing the things that make me happy like walking, gardening, reading, etc.

  3. mommazen

    1. Became a yoga teacher; 2. Fixed the washer every time it broke, and what a happy feeling that is; 3. Started blogging, which automatically brings this list to a close.

  4. Marta, do you teach writing?

    Mommazen, love your #3.

    This year I started writing fiction after years of writing (and years of not writing) Other Stuff. I did a bunch of volunteer work…I didn’t even realize how much until your post made me think of what I accomplished this year. Thanks for that boost. Oh, and I started a blog.

  5. I’m happy to hear all the things people accomplished over the last year–so much more upbeat the resolutions which focus on all our problems.

    Well, SBW, I do teach writing, but it’s the very basic kind. I teach ESL writing at the low intermediate level.

    Oh, I’m so glad I started a blog leading me to all of you.

  6. lazym

    It was a busy year. I had to do five!

    1. Survived care-taking of my Mom illnesses, husband’s injury, and my own hit-and-run by a semi.
    2. Wrote drafts of a play and a novel (such as they are) and did art EVERYDAY in August.
    3. Bought a house in New Mexico, where I can be closer to the earth and to my true self.
    4. Helped 126 Austin-area writers win NaNoWriMo
    5. Made a wonderful new friend who has ideas like these!

  7. ESL? I taught ESL for awhile, several years ago. I taught speaking and a little bit of reading, though, not writing. The students were adults and Hmong. Hmong is a language without a history of writing and reading. It’s cliche, but I learned more from teaching than my students did.

  8. SBW, my students are all adults. Most of them want to attend college here and need academic English, and so I teach listening & speaking, reading, grammar, and writing. And the cliche is true–I’ve learned more than they ever have.

    But the best is at the end of a semester when a couple students tell me that before my class, they hated writing, and by the end the class they discovered writing could be fun! Wow. Who knew?

  9. I am belatedly stopping by for a visit. Don’t know why your name was coming up linkless in my comments or I would have been here sooner. Well, I’m here now and glad!

    I like this exercise. Change is hard. Resolutions are not my friends. Here’s the good stuff (I decided to make it all writing stuff) about last year:

    1. I started a blog.
    2. I wrote every day, even when I didn’t post.
    3. I got some pieces published.


  10. I’m late to the party, but here’s my list:

    1. Gave birth to my beautiful, adorable daughter.
    2. Went on a wonderful 2-week auto trip in Washington and along the coast of Oregon with my husband.
    3. Took care of grown-up tasks like making a will and getting life insurance, etc. so as to provide for my child.

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