Happy Newness: A Year in Preview

We are conditioned, aren't we, to always think that newness is good - it is, after all, happy. We don't want to think that the year ahead will be fraught with difficulties we can't control, challenges we can't foresee, and even more cat hair in the couch. We do want to think that we can simply "think positive" and make all our problems disappear.

A thought circles back to me when I am face to face with genuine goal-setting, and it has become an old adage by now, I think: If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always got. (My Grammar Geek forgives this error for the lovely rhythmic flow of the sound byte - still G.G. lives inside my head and won't quite let me get by with it.) I confess that I learned this adage in more or less a corporate pep rally for a company I worked for years ago. I have been conditioned from an early age to disregard most of what I learn in such settings as white noise. Still, there is a ring of truth to this that I have to acknowledge.

If I'm standing on the edge of a new year, a new life, a new decision of whatever sort, and I continue to, in essence, still be me, I will notice a pattern that I may not like. A true New Years Resolution, in my opinion, does not belong on a list. It often remains unspoken, and doesn't even have to come at New Years. It it the kind of internal change which begins with a silent realization, and by the time anyone else knows it, you have already been practicing your new change for a length of time.

I am generally unimpressed by resolutions that start with "go to the gym" or "give to the poor." Unless such a decision comes from a deep place and actually taps into your self worth, and unless it is accompanied by humility, it is probably just another exercise in self-defeat. Typical resolution lists seem to result from little more than an urge to fill in the blank on the "What's Your Resolution" survey at work.

I guess in order to determine a true resolution, I have to know myself. To make things even more complicated, I have different goals, depending on which "me" you're talking about. This Teacher-Parent-Writer-Working Artist-Business Woman- and "born too late hippie-chick" is not easily tied down to a single resolution. Of course I suspected that by the time I got to the end of this blog, I would have cornered myself into announcing one anyway. So I'll choose one with plenty of wiggle room:

To Live Intentionally

It is not as much of a resolution as it is a philosophy, but it is, in fact one which I strive toward. Is this a short-term goal? A long-term one? Yes. This is a thought which, if lived fully, informs my thoughts minute to minute and year to year. It brings the responsibility of choice back to me, although it places a greater value on the effort than the result. It gets me off my to-do list on my fill-in-the-blank style of resolution making, and gets me more into the questions of "How do I get there?" and "How do I live?" And for you fill-in-the-blankers: I can put "I resolve . . ." at the beginning of this and end up with a perfectly nice complete sentence.

So however you solve the question of declaring your resolution, setting your intention, or assessing your goals, I hope something here has value to you, and I hope that in fact, you have a Happy New Year.


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