Friday, December 28, 2007

Looking To The New Year

Kathie Shoop

I almost like the week between Christmas and New Years as much as everything that leads up to the 25th. I love that the excitement of Christmas is dialed back during the week following, but it’s still not a normal week. For those seven days I’m insulated from heavy Pittsburgh grayness, dashed expectations, rejections from publishers, and the rush of everyday life. I just relax and take advantage of the slowness.

I often use this week to think about life and what is missing and I write resolutions. The bigger picture --make the world a better place, be one with the universe, etc--gets lost in my list these days. I realized that my resolutions are really a long-term to-do list. I'm not sure there's anything wrong with that, but I do know at one time, my goals were loftier than they are now.

For instance, I wrote that I will:

• finish my WIP
• send it to my agent with fingers crossed
• start new book
• publish articles/essays
• write with my kids at least twice a week
• be a better housekeeper (gag)
• get organized
• lose weight
• eat healthier, not to lose weight but to be healthier
• get back to running—not just walking
* yoga

Guess which ones are no brainers for me.

Yes, anything related to writing. Really, that’s just my work, but at one time, the writing was a dream. The things related to writing are more like a to-do list at this point than they are lofty resolutions. Seeing that is huge for me and leaves me feeling at peace—that I’ve made the right career decision in the face of chronic illness and life with small children. At one time, the healthy, skinny body was reality--easy to achieve. Life got in the way and the areas of writing and “healthy bodyness” have completely replaced one another in their achievability.

I’m partly stunned because these two areas of being don’t encapsulate who I am, yet they show up consistently as resolutions making me seem very one dimensional. Maybe they define me more than I think. The other thing that stops me is that the list was easily drawn out to include thirty items—without stopping, I listed dozens of things that need improvement or simply need to be done in my life. And, sitting here the week after Christmas in my holiday haze, thirty-five things actually seems reasonable. That makes me crazy and irritating, but remember I'll be sympathetic as I don't succeed in ticking off every item on my list (see weight loss and Yoga).

The making of resolutions can be useless in many ways, but it can be a gauge of how things are going. Perhaps padding it with enough achievable items prevents me from screaming” I’ll never make another list of stinking resolutions as long as I live!” How are your lists looking so far?

Happy New Year to my fellow Working Stiffs and I hope to see you all at least five times (at various meetings) in the coming year as is in detailed in number thirteen of 2008’s resolutions.

Cheers to you all and thank you for your endless stores of support and enthusiasm—I appreciate it very much!



Annette said...

Kathie, my list isn't all that different than yours (including the "gag" following the better housekeeper item).

This is definitely a time of year for introspection. It's like we get a clean slate ahead of us to fix all the mistakes and shortcomings that have befallen us during the last 12 months. Time to start anew and leave all the baggage behind.

Sounds good in theory at least.

kathie said...

Yay, I found a computer and internet on my travels--I agree the theory of starting anew, Annette, is wonderful. Here's hoping we can keep that feeling alive all year. Where/how would you recommend starting with yoga? A video or class?

Cathy said...

Those moments of epiphany fall where they may, and not necessarily at our new year. And maybe we might consider enjoying more this year and living in the moment and stop at that. What more is there, really?

I'd love to write more, but I've got lots to do. I'm just as goal oriented as the rest of us. Happy new year and thanks for your interesting post, Kathie.

Martha Reed said...

I love this week between Christmas and New Years'; it's the pause that helps me focus on my projected goals.

I'm feeling very positive about 2008 - mostly, I think because I'm halfway thru the new novel! I'd like to get thru a short story, too, and of course, the conventions. Jeez! I got busy...