I used to be one for really complex and ambitious New Year’s resolutions and intentions, complete with color-coded spreadsheets mapping out my year month-by-month. (Yes, it is as insane as it sounds, but it was actually really pretty to look at! My sweetheart suggested I actually should have framed it and passed it off as abstract art. I’m sure someone already has, I said.) That worked, for a year, and then it worked less and less after that, because my life got complicated with variables out of my control and it got kind of boring to fill out. I’m fairly type A and do love a good, specific plan with solid To-Do items, a timetable, a map of execution; it’s my Virgo rising sign, I suppose. And I’ve read too much on creativity and productivity to be able to completely eschew what I learned.
But, I temper it now. And I try different things, because what are New Year’s resolutions if not a beautiful life experiment?
There are tons of great tools available to help chart out a year: Chris Guillebeau does a good review and plan for analytical types. I’ve never done it, but the people I know who have are all hella successful, so there you go! For those who adore soulful questions with bright, joyous colors and drawings, Leonie Allen’s Goddess Guidebook is a pleasure to fill out and mull over. I got one as a gift in 2010 and it was a real treat and fun to do, even if I was a few months late! I read Tara Mohr’s suggestions on New Year’s resolutions (or, not having them, actually) with great interest. Her questions about what you want in a year are really lovely and reverie-provoking.
But this year, I did something different. Oh, of course, I have list of things I want to accomplish (more books, Paris, horses, a lovely new home, more prosperity), but I didn’t want so much to contemplate and think a plan, especially after the big Reverb thing. I mean, I’m good at plans, and To-Do lists, and that kind of thing. It’s like second nature; if I need to call on those superpowers, I can and will. Those muscles are sort of overdeveloped in my life. Instead, I sort of wanted to feel my way to my intentions for my year, to have a little fun and just make a mess. So I cut up all the magazines I accumulated over the year and did a few big massive collages.
I didn’t have a big plan for them, I only wanted images that resonated me. I pulled and pulled images from all these magazines until paper fluttered all over my floor like snow. And then I sorted them out, making groupings. Some images clearly were things, feelings, experiences I wanted; others were related to style; others were related to an emotional state I liked, others were just fancies that appealed to me in an unexplained yet deeply compelling way. I arranged them all on a few pieces of posterboard and put them together. And then I stepped back and, wow: if I could have the year I just laid out for myself, what a beautiful year it would be.
And then I realized: Voila! My dream/mood boards for 2012! (There are bits and pieces of them above — the whole big mess is a bit personal — this is the Internets, after all!) Like a real-life Pinterest!
The other thing I did in terms of New Year’s resolutions-type stuff is: I chose a word for the year, a theme. At least, I think it is the word for the year; I will give it some time to breathe a bit. Doing the whole Reverb challenge made me realize that what fascinates me as I pass through the years is how they begin to braid and lead into one another, how strands of one year persist into the next, and how you pick up new thoughts, ideas, experiences and weave them into larger experience of life as well. I like a sense of time passing to have cohesion, to feel like there’s a deeper story at work. I like pieces of the puzzle to fit. I do like the idea of a simple, clarifying compass. In the midst of all these goals, intentions, resolutions, it is nice to be able to look at something, ask yourself if it aligns with your compass, and then if it does, use it to head towards true north. True north, that’s where I’d like to be headed.
I’m going to keep track of more prosaic things here in the small ending space, I decided. Finished re-reading A Visit to the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan; loved it as much as the first time. I took time to really appreciate the interlocking structure, and found the helplessness of humanity in the face of the inexorability of time to be deeply true. Took my niece and nephews to see the Alvin and the Chipmunks movie (don’t judge; kids seem to love it!) and also watched Downton Abbey. I see why people are into that show! I loved all those Edwardian dresses. Right now I picked up the Ashley Judd memoir from the library; I’m not sure why, I don’t have any strong feelings for or against her, but I opened her book up and read a page and was intrigued. I’ll let you know how it goes; so far it is intelligent, deeply earnest and unexpectedly moving, and I actually texted a friend who suffered from serious emotional neglect as a child to read it.
Tags: New Year's resolutions