I wasn’t going to do a New Year’s post, because I am, of course, ornery about New Year’s.
(In case you haven’t noticed, I’m ornery over just about everything)
So why am I ornery about New Year’s? It’s because I hate the idea of resolutions. And why do I hate resolutions? It’s because I hate the idea of living for watershed moments. I hate the idea of saying, “On January first, THAT’S when I’ll do whatever super important thing I really need/want to do. Until then I’ll do fuck all . . . butÂ on January first, it’s ON!”Â
Because it rarely, if ever,Â isÂ on. What you’ve put off for a month can inevitably be put off for another month. Or you wait for the magic of the New Year’s resolution to kick in, and then you realize that it’s January fifth and nothing has happened because what you want to do requires work, not magic.
In other words, you can intend all you want, but things don’t get done until you do them.
Plus, New Year’s is inevitably a pain in my ass. Whenever I make plans, they fall to pieces. For example, this year, about a month ago, IÂ bought ticketsÂ to see this super awesome concert in Chicago with my good friend. Now she has phneumonia in both lungs (get well soon, Loren!) and I am going to go watch Harry Potter with Mrs. Bunch, my former English teacher.
I felt pretty shit about this, to be honest. Not about spending time with Mr. and Mrs. Bunch, whom I adore, but about not getting my vacation. For going to Chicago for the concert was going to be My Vacation: I was going to use going into the city and staying with Loren as my time to see friends, shop, get some stuff done I’ve been wanting to do (tattoo!!!!) and basically just be a jet-setting city girl instead of a hermit writer.
So I was really disappointed about not getting my vacay, and I felt pretty mopey. Until I made some calls, got on Expedia, and bought tickets to San Francisco, to see my friend with whom I spent last New Years.
(Which, btw, was a PERFECT New Years as my friend, Jana Henning, organized it, and she is the most brilliant, beautiful, funniest, smartest, awesome, and most likely to make me pee in my pants person EVER.) (And yes, the peeing has happened. She made me pee all over the Greek islands once.Â Our friendship isÂ like a comedic bio hazard.)
So now, instead of spending a lame assed New Years in Elburn, I am spending a productive New Years getting ready for my BAD ASS trip to San Fran.
And the reason I have money to do stuff like this, although the ticket was actually outrageously cheap–nothing like the fear of terrorism to bring down ticket prices, is because I don’t make resolutions. I don’t say, “Next week, I’m gonna . . .” Instead, I’ve learned to say, “Right now, I’m gonna. . .”
Meanwhile, acting upon this attitudeÂ was, indeed, a skill I had to learn. Doing my Ph.D., I was always going to start writing, I just had to research one more thing . . . I just had to get inspired . . . I just had to . . .
Finally, my supervisor(s) were like, “You just gotta stop making excuses and start writing.” Eventually, I learned to do just that. But it was difficult. Excuses are great! Not starting is even better! Cause if I didn’t start, I couldn’t fail.
Eventually, I realized that what was wrong with me wasn’t my project, or my paragraph, or my idea . . . what was wrong with me was my definition of “failure.” I had set up in my mind this dichotomous world where everything was either “perfect” or a “failure.” But that’s not how life really works. If you want to lose twenty pounds, but you only lose five, that’s not a failure. If you attempt an idea that doesn’t come to fruition, that’s not a failure. If you write a rough draft that’s rough, that is not a failure.
These are all just steps requiredÂ on the way to success, and they are victories in themselves.
So try a different type of resolution, this year: not to make resolutions. Instead, just try to get things done. Don’t let yourself get bogged down by final, ultimate, goals. See life as what it is: a process where sometimes we perform major coups, but most of the time we take faltering steps forward (and occasionally backward) that eventually culminate in real, substantial success.
Oh, and pre-order Tracking the Tempest. It’s up on Amazon, and should be available everywhere else, soon. 😉 Yay!!!!!