or – Why I won’t make 50 New Year’s Resolutions Again.
So here we are on the cusp of December. I am shocked at both how slowly the year went (particularly June, July, and August) and yet, how quickly in retrospect.
December is pretty high on the months for reflection, which I would imagine contributes toward the depression rate. As I’m reflecting on 2011, I chuckle with how many lists I made, most sitting in the recycling bin by this point. Yet, three have served as useful touchstones for this hectic year, and here they are.
First, In early March I made the most depressing list detailing 10 obstacles my husband and I were facing. These covered the lack of just about every material comfort you could want (housing, money, clothes for baby) and went on through more existential career and mood crises we were facing. By October, seven of these are no longer issues, and two of the remaining three are alleviated. That list was made in sadness, but it’s a joy to look at now and see how much we’ve received from others or solved in our own ways.
Second, after I applied myself to Plato and Augustine last year, I was surprised how much wiser and smarter I had become. I learned that really studying, annotating, and cross-referencing something something will cause you to see life in a new way. Yet, philosophy overall isn’t the wind beneath my wings, shall we say. After searching for a new disciplinary field to continue to pursue I chose sociology. This turns out to be more amenable to my personality as a pragmatist. So, when I found a list of classic sociological texts online I was intrigued. Could I read the 100 books listed in the next 10 years?
There are 100 books and I’m will try to read them all in 10 years. So far this year I’ve read 5. No, not in order. Learning about sociology this year has changed some of the ways in which I think, and caused me to be even more inquisitive. It also led me to discover Juliet Schor and the Center for a New American Dream. In these ways I’m rethinking how “making it” might look. (Which is one of those worries from my first list)
Third, I made a prayer card. Although I’ll admit I don’t follow it as much as I (think I) want, this marks a step toward being more intentional as a “pray-er” something crucial for practicing Christians, and something which I had unfortunately been letting slip over the past year.
There were whole categories of lists I made urgently this year, which are fairly insignificant from November 30th’s vantage point. For example, career resolutions, when I am still unsure of what type of career I want. Lists of household goods that I either didn’t need or realized I didn’t need right away with such insistence. The most colossal list I made this year, and honestly thought I was being wise about, was my New Years Resolutions.
Like I said, I made over 50 resolutions. With complete humility, and shaking my head, let me reiterate –
Well, that was Stupid.
Looking back with 11 months of clarity on this list I can see that I focused too much on details, and not enough on the big picture.
That’s why as I start brainstorming New Year’s Resolutions for 2012 I’m capping off at less than 10. I’m hoping with enough thought over the next 31 days I may even make it down to 7.