Well. I read in my local paper today that most people make sweeping resolutions that they abandon within weeks. They are going to lose 100 pounds, train for a marathon, get out of debt, find a career that satisfies them... Okay, problem number one: I'm reading that list and nodding, even taking notes (ohhh...a marathon, good one). And then the part about how impossible those resolutions are, and the likelihood of failure and abandonment fills three or four inches of column space.
Sometimes, and by that I mean freaking often, I am annoyed by the fact that anytime people dream big, they're told that they are being escapist. Not really. We dream big, I think, because the level of our discontent has never been so high. And it's not - NOT - because of thwarted consumer desires that we are reaching for more. Nope.
A friend and I, each of us raised in relatively (?) religious homes, talk often about the visible levels of panicky consumerism, the crazed casting about for stuff that we see in our neighbors, our families, ourselves. He and I talk often about questions of faith. We aren't wholehearted fans of blind faith...or maybe we're just not able to grasp it. But lately, those talks circle back to what we see substituting for the faith of earlier generations. We are desperate to make meaning of the world, to find meaning, and not simply to subsist. We are told, often and charmingly and sometimes quite loudly, that meaning might be found in a bigger house, or a better sofa, new car, a sexier computer or...you get my drift. Sometimes, for a moment, we do find happiness in objects. There is pleasure and appreciation in finely made objects, in lovely possessions, and in beautiful spaces. But it is fleeting, and the cost is often high (and interest-laden). And most importantly - it doesn't stand in for the greater pleasures, the deeper pleasures - being elsewhere - and that is the quest.
I think our resolutions are often about this frenzied quest - so I say dream BIG. Put the marathon on the damned list. Put debt free on there. Put "new life's work" on there. And then go make them happen. Break them down, attack them, but don't start by turning your dream into a shadow of itself. The world is likely to do that, but you don't need to help it in the effort.
My list? Yeah, here we go:
* Lose 10% of my current weight. My diet is excellent - no resolutions there. (Bite me, no numbers will be offered)
* Walk or workout most days each week.
* Snowshoe weekend with the chicks I love. Bike 1/2 century ride with those same women.
* See more of my family. I suck at that. They can't find Idaho on a map, either. :)
* Volunteer as a court appointed special advocate. This is the year.
* Finish the three stories necessary to complete my first book of stories.
* Submit the four finished stories everywhere in the known universe for publication.
* Change my job. More time - I need more free time, more flexible time.
* Keep my center. Always. Big love goes out to the one who helped me find my center this year. Your faith gave me faith.
So, that's it. And it IS doable. I'll prove it.