I don’t do New Year’s resolutions. I know that any goal I set for myself is going to be met first with resistance and a dedication that actualizes itself only in fits and starts before, eventually, becoming habit. It’s the habits, the “being” not the doing that I’m aiming for, and so I make resolutions, yes, but I give myself the whole year to master them, even to revise them, because that list I make in January is always a little too ambitious.
This last year was a doozy. I’d rather not repeat it. Ever.
Have you ever been in a relationship that you just allowed to happen? There was no real reason not to give it a shot, but you knew at the beginning it just wasn’t going to work? It entered your life, and you just said, “What the hell!” and allowed it, and yet you knew…you just knew that it wouldn’t work out, that it wasn’t a good fit for you, could never make you happy. And then…at the end, when you put no work into it, you never committed yourself truly, you just stood by and allowed it to be what it would…and it all fell apart…then you blame yourself for the failure? That was this last year for me. 2016 was a failed relationship that I just allowed to happen. To be honest, I’ve known what was coming for a long time. But even a failure you allow to happen is far messier than one you plan.
I like plans. I like lists and goals and organization. 2017 will not be a repeat of last year, and I mean to make sure of that.
So I’ve made some plans! Call them resolutions if you like:
Goal no. 1) Absinthe Moon will be published. The poor, dear thing just sits on my “desktop” waiting for the final edits, begging to be carried into a second volume, and praying this will be the year I introduce it to readers.
The problem is… I’ve not truly written in a long time. I just haven’t been able to. Personal insecurities and demons, weaknesses entertained, the breakup of my marriage…my father’s battles (yes, that’s plural) with cancer, some personal dramas and disappointments, have all completely paralyzed me from any kind of literary productivity. By the end of 2016 I realized that I either need to regain control of my writing career or give it up entirely. I’m done giving things up, compromising. I am a writer, and good one, and I need to continue on this path. I need to fight for it. So fight for it I will.
I spent seven months away from home last year, in a small town near a place called “Scatter Creek”, caring for my dad while he went through chemo, and after he had 85% of his stomach removed. I’m grateful for the opportunity to care for him, and to spend time with him, but it meant being away from my kids, away from the people I love, and Virginia is home to me now. During that time I did The Artist’s Way for the second time (an experience I will blog about in the near future) but one of the things Julia Cameron says is that we cannot be creatively productive while we are hanging onto fear and anger. I am one part hope at present, and nine parts fear and anger. And so…
Goal no. 2) I will move through fear into self-actualization, healing and happiness. Carl Jung teaches that only by moving through fear do we overcome neuroses and find healing.
Goal no 3) I will forgive and let go.
And by way of doing that…
Goal no 4) I will write something new.
While I was taking care of my father, I absorbed a lot of information, using my free time (since I couldn’t effectively write or edit) to read everything I could, to learn everything I could about relationships and overcoming neuroses (we all have at least one, and thank God we do!), about dealing with emotions and finding peace. I felt like the Universe was simply dumping information into my lap–all I needed and could possibly require–and it all related. It all seemed to be saying to me, that these experiences were for my ultimate benefit and would lead me full circle back to myself. Only I haven’t really had an opportunity to synthesize and absorb and put into use all that I learned, and so I think what I need to do is write about it. I’ll tell my story, the circumstances, the daily failures and personal shortcomings that came together to bring down a twenty year marriage and bring me to my knees as a human being, searching for some kind of meaning in it all and hoping for a chance to start again. I may not publish it. In fact I probably won’t. It won’t be an expose’. It won’t be a work of vindictiveness. The man I married was and is a wonderful man. It just didn’t work. We both ensured, in our naivete, ever seeking to preserve our own emotional safety first, that it wouldn’t and couldn’t be what it should have been. It was an agreement we both silently, tacitly made each other from the early years of the relationship. It was I who broke that agreement. It was I who changed the terms. I made other mistakes, many of them. And I hope…I pray…that my efforts to honestly examine where I went wrong will allow me to let go, to move on, to forgive…myself and others, and to move forward knowing better and determined to give my all to living a full and meaningful life in the future. Maybe I’ll meet someone new. Maybe I already have. Maybe I’ll spend the rest of my life alone. And that’s ok.
Goal no 5) I’m going to travel more. I’m going to do something new and fun every month. I already have plans for Oregon, Washington, Arizona, and possibly Pennsylvania. I’m going to go see Bastille live. I’m going to visit the apple orchards, once in spring, again in autumn. I’m going to the beach and to the mountains, and…I’d really love to see England and France again. But we’ll see where the year takes me.
Goal no 6) I’m going to finish my house, so I will be free to find a new one. The living room and dining room have recently been finished. I’ll post before and after pictures soon, so stay tuned.
Goal no 7) I’m going to create one beautiful thing a month. I’m going to try, at any rate. If I could have my wish, I’d live off of my writing and supplement it by creating beautiful things and consult others on how to make their own spaces beautiful. I’d be good at that, and I would find it fulfilling. That’s the whole point, isn’t it? To live a life that is fulfilling. What would be the point otherwise?
And in the spirit of moving that goal forward…
Goal no 8) I will write every day. And I may (or may not) share it with you.
In the meantime I wish you a joyful and prosperous 2017!