01 January 2007

Reflection & Resolution

I'm a thorough believer in New Year's resolutions. Actually, I believe in new start resolutions any time you feel motivated to do them. There's something very human about putting your life into perspective and looking for changes. As rhetoric class taught me, so much of what man is is based around our ability to tell stories: we are the ones with the logos, the ability to make up causes and effects, to say why and attempt an answer. And New Year's resolutions are a form of that story telling. We look at our lives to determine what's causing problems for us and decide how we should fix it. Even the repetitiveness of our goals is an important part of that. To double quote myself, humanity is inherently optimistic because even in a situation which we have faced a thousand times and failed, we always see the possibility for success.

As for my story, this has been a very interesting year for me. Lot of first things happened this year: the first time I really hated someone (in a long time anyway), the first time I finished an entire journal, the first semester I really loved all my classes, the first time I seriously thought about being a writer (as a career), the first time I fell in (and out) of love. I certainly picked the right year to become more serious about writing because this year has needed recording. (Or is it the seriousness about writing that has caused the changes?) So many learning experiences and new things . . . I'm a very different person than I was when I stepped into 2006. I think I've become more confident, more ambitious, and more open than I was before. I've had my share of pain and devastation this year, and yet I still continue on, even when sometimes I don't know the reasons.

That's the reflection; now about the resolution. The New Year's goals we make often more about being than doing. We resolve to be in better shape, to be kinder, to be an harder worker. Granted, these state of being goals are connected to actions--working out, doing nice things, putting forth more effort--but they are essentially connected to a desire to change who we are. In the past, my goals have definitely fit this pattern. I think this could be because of the "cleanse the inner vessel first" mentality I gained from reading Covey's Seven Habits. I've never felt like I could act externally until I fixed up the inner workings.

Now, I'm not saying this perspective is bad because it's obviously necessary to secure yourself some semblance of consistence and identity before you can do things. But if I had to pull one lesson from this year, it would be "You are never ready." You will never feel like you are on top of everything, but that doesn't mean you should stand still until you are. Sometimes, the only way to get on top of everything you have is to add more.

So this year, yes, I'm making all of my usual self-improvement "becoming" goals I've been making since I was eight: eating right, exercising more, reading my scriptures, etc. But I'm going to try to focus on doing something more and see if that doesn't help the rest fall into place. So this is my goal: 2007 will be the Year of the Writer. This year, I will find out if it could be possible for me to consider writing as a serious career. I've made a commitment to submit at least one piece for publication somewhere each month, to set aside eight hours a week for personal, non-school related writing projects, and to keep a writing notebook again. This goal scares me like none other, and putting it up here is just inviting you all to mock me when I drop it. (No one is allowed to mention the NaNoWriMo incident.) But maybe public mockery is the only real motivation. To quote another aspiring writer in the Little Women musical,

Here I go
And there's no turning back
My great adventure has begun
I may be small
But I've got giant plans
To shine as greatly as the sun

I will blaze until I find my time and place
I will be fearless,
Surrendering modesty and grace
I will not disappear without a trace
I'll shout and start a riot
Be anything but quiet
Christopher Columbus
I'll be Astonishing

At Last


The Girl in the Other Room said...

You've been making those goals since you were eight? I don't think I knew what a New Year's resolution was when I was eight. What an amazing year. Year of the writer ... better start today while you have time. No procrastination this time slacker!

Ben Crowder said...

Yup, declaring your goals to someone else -- especially to the everyone (or at least everyone who reads your blog) -- is terrifying.

[shameless self-plug]

For what it's worth, I blogged about this a couple of days ago. And I say that not for your benefit but for those who haven't yet read it.

Now I feel tacky.

[/end shameless self-plug]

But you've got a good goal, really, and you can do it. Eight hours for writing each week will definitely get a lot written. I'm jealous. :) (The little voice on my shoulder is telling me that I too could put eight hours into it if I really wanted to. We all have 24 hours in a day, it's saying. Whoops, it just fell off my shoulder, "accidentally." Too bad. ~evil grin~)