Wednesday, December 28, 2005

All I want for New Years

I never make self-denying or self-correcting New Years' Resolutions (well at least not for the past 20 years). Saying "I will stop watching Trailer Park Boys on TV" or "I will take my vitamins every day" is a recipe for disappointment in self, like a behavioural bandaid that just won't work because it's based on the assumption that I'm doing something wrong, or at least not living up to some arbitrary minimal expectation of virtue.

Instead, I try every year at some time (last year it was November, but I haven't got around to it this year) I try to think of something new that I will decide to do that will enrich my life. That's so much more interesting and utimately do-able than deciding to give up something or to take on a load of difficult but good-for-me or good-for-the-world behaviour.

This is not to say that I think I am too good for improvement. Like everyone else, I am constantly and consciously evolving. It's just that I choose to orient myself to positive and nourishing action. I like to pick something that will reveal new vistas. Maybe it's my background in early childhood education. Maybe I'm a young soul. Maybe I just like to have fun. I believe that we learn and grow through play, so I make play my vehicle of expression and road to achievement as much as possible.

Last year's "resolutions" were:

  • To leave time unscheduled and available for spontaneous choices.
  • To listen to music recommended by my friends and decide what I like and why I like it.
Number one was maybe too much in the denial category, because I haven't been successful in making a substantial change in this direction. There's always way too much to be done, and I find myself fully committed and scheduled almost all of the time. It's a consolation that I am enjoying almost everything that I do, and that there aren't many things I wish I could be doing instead. I'm very busy, but don't feel trapped by it. Luckily I don't need too much sleep. I also have a great degree of control over how I spend my time, so the stress level is minimized. Still, I'd like to be able to say "Hey family, let's pack our bags right now and head over to the island for the weekend." I guess there'll be time when we can do that. Probably not practical right now.

Number two has been a joy and a revelation and a total success. I started out by blogging my musical discoveries every couple of weeks, but that's fallen off. I am listening to all kinds of everything these days, mostly in the car. I'm still borrowing cds from friends and from the library, and buying them when I can afford it, or if I specially love something. In my car right now are Madeleine Peyroux, and by connection Billie Holiday to whom she has been compared but who is, of course incomparable. I'm still liking Red Hot Chili Peppers and also Nirvana and I am hooked on the soundtrack to O Brother Where Art Thou? I think this is because the voices sound like my Ohio Uncles - those soft rrrrrr sounds and lazy vowels feel like home. I have not reached any conclusion about "what I like" because it seems that I like just about everything I listen to. I have decided that I like dramatic expression, acoustic sound and good lyrics and a sense of history or connectedness - either to some other music or art or human experience. It's hard to put into words but it's important.

I haven't settled on what to do for 2006. It's not urgent that I do so by January 1. Something will nudge its way into my decision-making machinery, or not. In the meantime, I'm listening and thinking about other people's ideas for new pages to turn in the new year. Whatever each of us chooses, let's hope the story's a good one.

question: what will you do for the new year?

mompoet - living a very good story


Lazy Daisy said...

Loved your post on being gentle with your are a good story by friend. BTW your warning labels were a hoot.

Wishing you vistas of self-discovery!

Lazy Daisy

mompoet said...

Thanks Kathy. You too.