Sunday, January 06, 2008

Sunday Scribblings--New

Good Wishes

Beware, whiny post alert.

One doesn't discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time.
Andre Gide
French critic, essayist, & novelist (1869 - 1951)

What is it with the New Year and newness? How many of you are truly energized by the challenge of turning over a new leaf on the 1st of January? Or are you, like me, just waiting for winter to end and the more inspiring newness of spring to arrive.
Today, the theme of newness is hard to find inspirational. I’ve already given up on several “Best of 2007” photo memes. Somehow my best of last year, although probably pretty good, feels jaded and stale. And as for resolutions for 2008, well, we all know that they won’t be achieved; not by me and, statistically speaking, not by you either.
I could write Thursday Thirteen-like lists of the thirteen new things I did last year, for example:
1. Wrote a novel.
2. Attended a photo swap.
3. Drove 1600 miles solo across the northwestern U.S.
4. Took a class on Altered Books
5. Danced.
6. Danced in the Nutcracker, on a stage, before a couple of hundred people, family and friends included.
7. Didn’t succumb to stage fright while doing #6.
8. Cut off over 10 inches of hair (well, I did that once before back when I was 17)
9. Became an aunt.
10. Posted poetry on the internet (well, actually the first time was December 14, 2006)
11. Publicly read something I wrote that wasn’t a class assignment.
12. Started consulting to a public high school.
13. Bought a tripod and a macro lens for my camera.

I could also write thirteen good resolutions for the New Year. The list would sound a bit like this:
1. Set up a regular exercise routine.
2. Start following up with my health care needs. This could have around 6 subheadings.
3. Learn to snowboard.
4. Revise my novel and submit for publication.
5. Corollary to #4—go to a writing conference.
6. Spend more quality time with kids and spouse.
7. Keep up with the blog and photo blog.
8. Cook dinner more often.
9. Help my younger son more with homework.
10. Attend better to both kids’ exercise and health care needs.
11. Take another art class.
12. Keep up with dance and do the Nutcracker again next year.
13. Make new friends and spend more time with existing friends.

The problem is that the cynic in me says, why bother with resolutions? What is the evidence I will be better at keeping resolutions this year than any other? The answer is that most likely my follow through will be no better or worse than in previous years.
Many years ago a supervisor criticized me for not seeing things through to the end. At the time, I was very hurt, and in a way I still am. Part of me wanted to tell him how hard it was for me to get to where I am and how easy it would have been for me to quit somewhere along the way. But that was too private. The quitting my supervisor was alluding to was my quitting an abusive work situation. I still think that act of quitting was a good choice. But it scared me into thinking of all the unfinished projects in my life. The things I couldn’t finish due to fear, disorganization, being overcommitted or forgetful, or just plain not believing enough in myself. Somehow this supervisor made my decision to relinquish a lifelong bad habit of trying to be perfect seem tantamount to being a quitter.
Well, I’ve gotten better at being imperfect. I’ve learned to take time out for fun and rest. I’ve learned to indulge in hobbies. But here I am in 2008 feeling a bit old and worn out and grasping for inspiration. I know this is just a temporary setback and I know why it is happening. The other day a patient asked me how I was doing and I had to struggle to say the appropriate platitude. Telling the truth would have been unprofessional. What I feel I am sorely lacking right now is a friend to buy me a cup of coffee and listen to me vent. But some things you don’t say out loud, even to friends.
The solution? To keep on moving forward, one day at a time. As 2008 progresses and its newness wanes, I’ll regain my freshness. After all, my supervisor notwithstanding, I’m not a quitter. I’m just tired at times. The good news? I completed my Sunday Scribblings, even if it is a bit on the whiny side.
Happy New Year to you and yours. May the next year see the world moving toward peace, the environment moving toward greater stability and the politicians becoming a bit kinder, gentler and wiser.


myrtle beached whale said...

Wow, you did a lot of stuff in 2007. You are very multifaceted. It made me tired just reading your accomplishments. Also a bit sad because I did not dance the Nutcracker.

Kathe said...

(feel free to not publish this comment)
I can't buy you a cup of coffee or offer any great wisdom for advice, but I'm very good at listening.

Okay. I could buy a bus ticket to Chicago, get a motel room and join you for a cup of coffee (assuming I had the money to do all of that). But that'd be one expensive cup of coffee! ;^)

I hope you're having a better day today. I was going to say hi earlier today, but was on my way out the door when I saw you online.

TIV: the individual voice said...

Not whiney at all. Honest. Refreshingly so. Made me think about what I've accomplished this year. In all of the resolution making I neglected thinking about my accomplishments this past year. I'd have to think long and hard. I tend to not credit myself with accomplishments. And the what to tell the patient thing? Whole other issue.

tumblewords said...

A long list of accomplishments! I didn't find this at all whiny and really enjoyed reading your fine work. The final paragraph reveals a ton of compassion and wisdom. Happy new year to you!

sarala said...

Thanks folks. I appreciate the kind words.
I'll respond in kind tomorrow. Now it is time to read a story to my son and prepare for bed and yet another work day.

tarakuanyin said...

Not whiny, as others have said. Honesty is great, makes us "whiny" people feel less alone, perhaps! tarakuanyin

DJPare said...

I've heard worse whining. :)

I'd say it sounds like you had a hell of a 2007! There are some things on that list to really be proud of!

forgetfulone said...

Yes, keep moving forward. That's all we really can do if you get right down to it. I think I have some cynicism as well. But... congrats on finishing a novel. That's a huge accomplishment! I hope you get it published this year.