The only benefit, in my opinion, to extreme Midwestern seasonality, is the multi-sensual indication that something has ended, and something new is beginning. I have come to respect the idea of using seasonal turns for marking one’s plans and progress.
I once gave up New Year’s Resolutions when, in a fit of manic productivity, I deemed them to be a cop-out for people who (like me) were full of good intentions and empty of follow-through. I like them, though, so I’m going to keep making them. I choose January 1st for the same reason I choose the solstices and equinoxes, or the first of any month, or Monday, or 6:00 a.m., or my birthday. These are the definitive measures, the bold black marks on the timeline. They’re easy to find, easy to count. A year, a season, a month, a week, a day, MY day. And so…
These are my failures, my poor choices, my ends:
I over-extend myself. I want to help out, be useful, be a part of things. I make people believe they can count on me and I say “yes” almost instinctively, without ever thinking things through. And then I hate myself because, invariably, I have to back out, cut down, redistribute or turn over the reins.
I am terrible at managing time. I overestimate my resources and my own blinding brilliance and, consequently, underestimate how long it will take to get things done. I spend too much time looking at other peoples’ phenomenal systems for personal productivity and no time being personally productive by just doing things the way I do them, which, theoretically, would get them done.
I gave up creating and took up consuming instead. Rather than writing a story, I turn on the television and watch someone else’s. Rather than painting a picture, I change the color of my hair. It’s faster, or less effort, or lower investment. When I stop to truly absorb the creations of others, I see few brightnesses amid muddled chaos. It’s always been that way, of course, but it’s denser now. All our media is saturated by fame-seekers and casual capitalists–some of whom are skilled, many of whom could be if they cared more about the product than the potential paycheck–and the only way to find true craft is by chance. And I’m guilty–triple guilty–because I consume, because I don’t create, and because I don’t do enough to support those who do create.
I am not terribly envious, gluttonous, prideful, or angry, but I am vain, lazy, and (seasonally*) lustful. Laziness trumps all. It has wreaked havoc on my physical health and appearance, and subsequently, my mental health and self-perception. My vanity is probably an outgrowth of my laziness: rather than getting enough rest and eating properly, I create the illusion of good health with cosmetics, for example. And “seasonal” lustfulness is probably also due to general laziness…it means I don’t really have much use for sex or feeling sexy except in the summer when, for some reason, the heat and humidity make me feel strong and assertive. Maybe it’s because that’s when everyone is languishing and looking like hell, and not just me.
So…I’ll never be a perfect human. I’ll always feel like I’m not doing enough. Recognition and achievements will always come as a surprise. I’ll always be somewhat vain and somewhat lazy. I’m not resigned to these, so much as I simply acknowledge that they are. They have always been, for me. I won’t ever fix them, but I can work with them, and make them work for me. I suppose I just have to make my responses to them feel like nature instead of work. My singular New Year’s Resolution, then, is this:
Deliberate as necessary, and then do as I will.
It seems to me that that is the simplest, most memorable way to correct all the behaviors that bother me.
- If I wish to be useful, it’s best to be certain before committing.
- If I do things the way I do them, they’ll be done.
- If I give weight to art, it will become a regular part of my active routine.
- If I don’t feel physically and mentally good, I can hone in on what hurts and fix it.
These are my goals, my challenges, my beginning.