In with the New

Fireworks - photo by kazuend

Happy New Year and welcome back! The vacation schedule is gone, and it is time to get back to the normal routine. Except this year is going to be different. Right? Because we’ve got goals, we’ve got plans, we’ve got dreams. Ain’t nobody gonna stand in our way. 

Kick fear in the face and seize the day…or whatever it is motivational memes are saying these days.

This is what we do. We make plans and hope to achieve them. Motivational speakers and authors get us going, small incentives help keep the momentum, and we seek the promise of success. By no means do I think this is a bad thing.

Somewhere in a notebook is all of my goals from middle school through college. I would write a big long list of things and then grade my success at the end of the school year. Silly things were on there, like getting a date to prom or maintaining a certain GPA. Now, I have yearly goals based on the calendar year that pertains to different areas of my life. This has consisted of everything from starting a retirement fund to hosting couchsurfers.

Planning is practically my hobby. Bored? Just daydream until the next five years are planned out, vacations and careers included. Hand-written diagrams, lists, spreadsheets, vision boards–all of it is often pieced together for my upcoming ideal life. When you get down to it, part of my job as a project manager is planning/scheduling and making things happen for people. I’m a goal-setter, a dreamer, and a planner. That’s me. 

Truthfully, the last few weeks I’ve spent more time avoiding resolutions than making them. My mind has been in a constant back-and-forth between reflecting on the long, hard year that was 2015 and overanalyzing the many possibilities of the year to come. And during that time, I stayed away from writing because I didn’t know where to start. This is the time of year when bloggers spout out all of their favorite things from 2015 and their new shiny goals or words for 2016. For me, this year, that just wouldn’t be genuine.

While there were so many things to be grateful for in 2015, but there were also quite a few hardships that I never planned or expected. Looking at the year, I realize how little control I actually have over how it goes.

So, this nonstop planner is putting a temporary stop to the goals and the life plans. It feels too overwhelming right now and puts some unrealistic expectations on me and the people around me. Writing my usual list or even finding the word of the year to live by is too distracting right now. While some of my past accomplishments have been truly ignited and inspired by my yearly goals, this is not the time.

This is the year I simply keep on keeping on. I have a lot going on and instead of dreaming big and thinking toward change, I want to only promise to continue to show up. To do the work. To stay in the game. To be all here. 

Despite a lack of goals, I still think this has the potential to be a big and wonderful year. But I also think it will mostly be beyond my control. All I can do is continue to take one day at a time. I want to be present and aware of what’s happening now–today. And then, I want to live through tomorrow when we get to tomorrow. That’s it.

A Mere Chasing

I’ve found last year’s list of goals/resolutions and started this year’s. If I haven’t hyped up my big resolutions enough yet then let me assure you it’s way cooler than “update all photo albums” or “read more books”…ahem, right. I also happened upon Ecclesiastes and think it might need to be a yearly tradition to read when setting resolutions each year.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for doing something more than watching TV each night or simply enduring each day to get to the next. But I can get ahead of myself. I plan and imagine an entire life that’s suddenly fulfilled and meaningful and more beautiful than any tumblr feed or pinterest board out there. I’ve made it. Except not really. Nothing I do will be ever be enough to hit that mark: “All streams flow into the sea, yet the sea is never full.” Don’t go crying about it, but you won’t ever make it either. There’s something disappointing in that, but even more so, there’s something incredibly freeing and wonderful about it. It’s all meaningless. Such a refreshing reminder.

The sun rises and the sun sets,
    and hurries back to where it rises.
The wind blows to the south
    and turns to the north;
round and round it goes,
    ever returning on its course.
All streams flow into the sea,
    yet the sea is never full.
To the place the streams come from,
    there they return again.
All things are wearisome,
    more than one can say.
The eye never has enough of seeing,
    nor the ear its fill of hearing.
What has been will be again,
    what has been done will be done again;
    there is nothing new under the sun.
10 Is there anything of which one can say,
    “Look! This is something new”?
It was here already, long ago;
    it was here before our time.

Ecclesiastes 1:5-10

What does it matter?

Lately, the hubby and I have been on a total documentary kick. We’ve always loved them, but I think we’ve watched somewhere near 15-20 in the last month or so. It’s getting a little excessive but somehow, each time it gets going I can’t help but get sucked in. There’s something about them that make you want to take over the world for good or at least commit to doing something absurd for a little while, just to try it.

We’ve watched ones about top ballet dancers under the age of 20, what it means to become “Santa” in the eyes of others, bike riding through the continental divide, using Craigslist to live and create community, what makes a man a man when it comes down to body hair and all sorts of others. Tonight, we watched No Impact Man, which was about living off a sustainable environment and giving up things that created waste and poor energy usage. They made a lot of sacrifices but also brought on a lot of new and exciting experiences.

Throughout it all, you’ve got to wonder…what REALLY matters? Is it washing your clothes in a bathtub and forgoing packaged food? It is setting a challenge of physical strength and endurance and fighting through? Is it restoring the magic of Christmas? Is it saving the turtles? Going gluten-free? Adopting ten children? Wearing your retainer every night?

While these all might be good things for you to do and commit to, you can’t do it all. It’s not possible. These documentaries often showed what people gave a major portion of their life to. What’s the cause that really matters? Why should we care about any of it? Should we continue to stand by while a few people put their dreams to the test?

I am always a “late bloomer” with resolutions/goals, as I tend to set them sometime between January and February. But these are some of the questions I am considering while I create my list. To wrestle with what’s worth it, or even what’s more important…