I did it for years. At some point around this time of year, I’d think back over the past eleven months. Shake my head, ‘tsk tsking’ at all the things I’d wanted to do,
but didn’t. I’d pat myself on the back for whatever I had managed to get done. Being the kind-hearted person I am, I’d forgive myself for my transgressions. Then I’d revel in all my ‘triumphs’.
You know what comes next, don’t ya? I’d start making ‘the list’. The new list. Next year’s.
The list. You know. “This year I’m going to lose twenty pounds. This year I’ll stop smoking. This year I’ll clean out the garage. This year I’ll be a better friend. This year I’ll leave that lying, cheating s.o.b. This year I’ll finally learn to speak Italian. This year I’ll get a better job. This year we’ll finish the basement. This year I’ll save some money. This year I’ll finally take that vacation.”
We’ve all done it. We’ve all made those lists.
But. How many of us can honestly cross each ‘promise’ off our lists? Done. Tick. Done. Tick. Done. Tick. Done. Tick.
Not me. You? You don’t have to tell me, if you don’t want to. Hell, you don’t even have to admit it to yourself. All I’m saying is much of the time, at least in my case, the first and last time I look at the list, is when I’m writing it.
And one day, when I’m cleaning out drawers (always on my list), I find it. Pristine, because it’s been stashed away, in
a drawer, for a year. Never having seen the light of day.
Is it any wonder, then, I finally asked myself, “Why bother?”
Which is when I resolved to stop resolving. No more New Year’s Resolutions for me. And I’ve pretty much stuck to my guns. Until right now. Suddenly I have the urge to ‘commit’ myself to a few things. And I figure if I do it here, publicly, with all of you as my witnesses, I just might be able to cross them off my list next year.
Now wouldn’t that feel good? It could backfire on me, of course. But being the ‘glass half full’ kinda gal I am, it’s not something I’m prepared to worry about.
I’ve thought about this long and hard. The list doesn’t have to be long, you know. In fact, there’s a much better chance of succeeding if it’s short. If you confine it to those ‘tasks’ or dreams or desires you’re most serious about. What’s most important to you. After much deliberation, I’ve narrowed it down to three. Strangely, they are sort of interconnected:
- For more than a year now I’ve been bleating on and on about wanting to volunteer in Africa. At an elephant sanctuary. Or helping village women promote their ‘wares’ online. Or helping entrepreneurs get their businesses started. Using whatever skills I have. I can help them create websites. Write blogs. Market themselves. And then I’d like to write about these experiences.
- Travel more. I don’t mean a week in Cuba or a weekend in New York or even a Mediterranean cruise. I’m looking for ‘an experience’. Similar to what I want to do in Africa. Doesn’t always have to include volunteering, although it’s a nice-to-do. It would be fun to spend a month or two in Paris, in a rented apartment, for example. To live like a resident, not a tourist. Being directionally challenged, I’d like to take the subway (God help me) to a different arrondissement every day, to explore. See where I end up. No set agenda. No fixed address (so to speak). I’ve got several of these types of sojourns in mind. And again, I’d like to write about them.
- Finish my book. At least a really good draft. Something I’m happy enough with, to send to an editor. I need uninterrupted time. Too many distractions here, to get the job done. So I’m thinking it would be grand if I could rent a little cottage somewhere? Cape Cod, or Maine (or even Nova Scotia or Prince Edward Island), in the summer or fall. Belize, Jamaica, or another Caribbean isle in winter. Australia in spring or fall (theirs). I actually found a website where a writer from Australia is offering her beach house (for a nominal fee) to writers who are working on a book and plan to stay for at least a month.
Okay, okay. No, I do not have to hide away on foreign soil to finish the book. I know that. It’s a cool fantasy, though. Maybe I can make it work, maybe not. I have so many airline points, I don’t have to worry about airfare. It is possible to find reasonable housing. What matters, however, is finishing the book. And whether it’s at an exotic location or the Starbucks down the street, remains to be seen.
There you have it. My list. I’m serious about it.
By this time, next year, I want to be able to tell you I have accomplished at least one of these goals. Doesn’t that seem reasonable? Doable?
What about you? Is your list done? Care to share?