A New Year: The Cliche and Conundrum of a New Anything

It has been over two years since I added anything to this site; much has changed and much else has not.

I have tried and failed, tried and failed, tried and succeeded, tried and failed. Like waves slapping a shore that never varies, our attempts show us just how much we can endure.

It takes years to reshape a shoreline, so it’s to be expected that it may take a few tries, a few years, for change to take hold. And even then, it only can once we fully embrace it and correct our trajectory to reflect that actual attempt at change.

Anything less than that is just lip service, part of the cycle of Rebirth. Less often do we even acknowledge the kind of complete destruction that is required in order to make even the small types of changes we desire.

At an end-of-year cocktail party, friends asked about one another’s year in review. When my turn came, I wasn’t sure what to say, but what came out when I opened my mouth was:

“I did not consent to 2018.”

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Consent awareness – bringing attention to what it is and how to respect people instead of violating their consent – was a major theme of the past several years, and for most of the past year I felt out of control of much of what happened to me. I think most people did. That out of control feeling doesn’t remove responsibility, but it does wreak havoc with our sense of direction. Like being thrown in a pool, sometimes you have nothing to tell you up from down unless you know what to look for (discerning the direction for bubbles from what well-may be your dying exhalation so you know in what direction to swim, in this case).

Feeling out of control causes a spiral of circular problems. It’s only by accepting circumstances that are beyond your control, and deciding what you want to do about the aspects that are, can you break out of that quagmire of hopelessness.

For many people, this seems to manifest as New Years Resolutions.

But not for me. Not this year.

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This year, I am going to make a more concerned effort to own my own life.

This doesn’t necessarily mean drastically changing anything that I’m doing. Just making a more concerned effort to be aware of what I’m doing.

For me, this means I will take responsibility for myself and what I do, and not shoulder other people’s responsibilities to themselves. That’s it.

This means: checking my thoughts, stepping out of my negative feedback loop once I realize I’m caught up in it, participating more in things I enjoy, spending less time wallowing in sadness over the specifics of how I do that, giving myself the same slack I would give a friend, and building on at least a few things that I have already started instead of constantly starting over.

That’s it.

I also have some more specific goals in terms of what that looks like, but I have found that, for me at least, announcing my intent usually means I will not follow through.

I plan on doing more things, more to my liking, more consistently, and mostly keeping them to myself. In a world that encourages us to shout into the void, it’s particularly fulfilling to flip the void the bird instead, and go back to ignoring it.

Recruiting public cheerleaders and bragging up my goals instead of my accomplishments, doesn’t help me meet them more effectively.

Making them known to myself, and then checking in with myself to see how I’m doing, and to see what I need to change in order to effectively meet the aspirations I have set out to fulfill; in nearly every instance of trying to recruit accountability buddies outside of myself, I end up diverting energy into convincing them I shouldn’t have to do the thing, instead of doing the thing.

Live and learn.

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