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A resolution of sorts

Coffee with Mom on New Year's Day.
Coffee with Mom on New Year's Day. One of the moments I'm glad I have time to soak in now, without worrying about meeting the next deadline.
I have a confession.

I’ve always sort of looked down on people who make New Year’s resolutions. I’ve never understood why resolutions should be the sort of thing made only once a year, or why it’s okay to put off doing something you know you should be doing, like getting healthier. I’m a person of action.

That said, this year I have one resolution and a list of things I want to accomplish. (Suddenly the year-end introspection makes a little bit of sense.)

My resolution isn’t to exercise more or pray more or spend less, although it is. It is simple: make time for what matters in the long run and cut, as much as possible, what doesn’t.

“Simple,” I said. And yet so very difficult. I’ve gotten so entrenched in my routine of running as fast as I can for as long as I can that stopping to breathe — important! — is sometimes hard to sell to myself.

My list of things I’d like to do this year reflects my resolution:

  • Sleep earlier, rise earlier
  • Find a group to volunteer with
  • Draw more
  • Do music often
  • Run a 5K
  • Visit home often
  • Make a stronger effort to keep in touch with friends via letters and calls
  • Do a data visualization that tells a story that I think is important
  • Find a place to ride (horses)
  • Go sailing at least once
  • Hike another section of the John Muir Trail with Dad
  • Make at least one silly video

Breathe. Recover. 2011, while full of many wonderful things, put me through the ringer in so more ways than I thought possible. I moved six times, through three time zones and four states. I’ve learned how to manuever public transit. I’ve started learning how to deal with prediabetes. I endured the sleeplessness and caffeine addiction that was necessary to finish grad school. I’ve had my heart twisted and bruised and healed and filled to overflowing. I’ve been to a best friend’s wedding and gotten news that my childhood neighbor has terminal brain cancer. I’ve learned old loves have new loves, I’ve made new friends, I’ve lost old friends. I’ve gotten lost in strange places and been scared and alone but too stubborn to let those emotions determine my actions.

I’ve been told “you seem to blossom wherever you’re planted.” Learning to “blossom wherever” — which is really learning how to look at uncertainty as adventure, trusting that God has you where He has you for a reason — is the great lesson that 2011 taught me.

That lesson came with some cruft. In 2012, my goal is to cut away the self-centeredness and tunnel vision I acquired in the interest of survival. (Yes, it sounds a bit melodramatic. But it’s rather true.) Instead of always looking down the road at what’s next and telling myself things will be different as soon as I get over the next hurdle, I need to enjoy the moment for what it holds. I need to make sure those moments are full of the things that really matter, because given half a chance they will sneak away from me. I need to let things go if they don’t happen on schedule, as planned.

And so I want to make 2012 the year of Things That Really Matter: friends and family, reaching out to help others, doing something for no other reason than that it is delightful and restorative. It feels good to be in a position, finally, where I can have those priorities.

Published in Coffee Ponderings