Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year's not-resolutions

I never make New Year's resolutions. I'm too backlogged. By business. By family stuff. By photos, writing, my blog queue, my pitch queue, the queue of people outside the door every time I open it. And most of all, by my own internal clutter. I dwell on everything, and it guarantees I'll stay stuck in the backlog, rehashing and revisiting things for months after they happen (or don't).

See, I make resolutions all the time, and I'm stoked. Then, when things don't go smoothly, I get majorly stuck in this evil feedback loop of what-ifs and I-wishes.

So here are the things I wish, which I know will never happen, followed by what I do have, and a to-do list, from my 2011 self to my 2012 self. Maybe I can publicly shame myself into purging the I-wishes and getting my ass in gear on the to-dos.

I wish I could get to write the stories I know are good, instead of sitting on great ideas while waiting to hear back, only to have someone write in my place who thinks psychics are real and St. Nick's name is spelled "Santa Clause." I wish I weren't so dumb as to worry about it instead of sending off the next batch of great ideas. I wish I could know for sure my ideas were great.

Well, I can't. What I do have: ideas. Some of them, I'm almost certainly sure, are pretty great. And if that one idea that got turned down multiple times "because there won't ever be that much interest," in favor of a really dumb article -- If my story did turn out to be a big story, months and months after I first pitched it, and Big National Publication did a big national thing about it ... well, at least my husband saw it, and got furiously indignant on my behalf. And whether or not Big National Publication's version actually "sucked all kinds of ass" as my husband asserted, it was nice to have someone on my side.

[To do: Just write the damn pitch, you self-absorbed moron. If it tanks, write another. Repeat for all of 2012.]

I wish everyone in my family enjoyed perfect health. I wish no one was hurting, or suffering, or in the hospital ever. I wish this could be a migraine-free, puke-free, fever-free, surgery-free, mortality-free, pain-free, just normal ... year.

Not going to happen. Not everyone escaped unscathed this year, and they probably won't in 2012. Not all of them. It's horrible, seeing people you love hurting. I don't really have anything to say except that it's a terrible, helpless feeling, and I hate that most of you probably know firsthand how awful it is. We won't be pain free. But my family is a together, tough bunch. We don't hand out I-love-yous and you-can-do-its like crazy, but in a way, that's better. We just help, we're just there. We're sarcastic, we quote stupid movies to ease the tension, we nag one another, and when we bring out I love you and You can do it, it strikes home -- I'm really saying you can actually do it. Now get to it. And I really, really love you. If I don't have anything better to offer than a listening ear, chauffeur services, and situation-appropriate quotes from Monty Python and Mel Brooks; then I'm glad I'm good at those things, at least.

[To do: Be more helpful. Reach out. Do more. Make more phone calls, even though you hate it. Also, find new movies to quote. "Put ze candle back" and the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow are only applicable so many times.]

I wish I had money. Not a ton. Not even lots. Just enough to avoid waking up in a cold sweat at 3 a.m., wondering who's going to call and harass us today.

Well, I have enough. Not enough to avoid cold sweats, but enough to wake up in a bed, in a house. That really is something.

[To do: Get finances in order, and who cares if no one ever taught you. You're a grown-ass woman, and your husband's a grown-ass man. This is getting ridiculous. Then, help others. Even a little.]

I wish I had time. Again, not a ton. But here's the thing -- I want consecutive minutes. This minute here, minute there, half-hour if I'm lucky AND if I stay up until 2 a.m. -- it's making me insane. I cried the other day because I couldn't find the margarine. I just a moment of calm. I need my mind to work like a normal person's mind.

I don't have time. At least, it never feels that way. I don't have big chunks of time, and I can't focus in little bite-sized chunks. My brain is focused on a million things at once, and that's usually a bad thing. Then again, connecting disparate things is occasionally wonderful. The really important things always seem to carve out their own time. Sometimes I really don't notice or deal with things like everyone else does, and that's OK.

[To do: Calm the hell down. Stop trying to steal time -- stop even trying to make the time -- and just make do with the time you have.]

I wish I could travel. I want to go to the Galapagos Islands, Tanzania, Yosemite, the Congo and the Amazon, Antarctica, Borneo, with sharks, with bugs, in the air, in the water ... yeah. I'd like to travel, one day.

Yeah, right. Like, who doesn't wish this? (Answer: My husband. He told me I could go to Borneo when we have the money, as long as I don't make him go. I'm penciling it in.) Seriously, this isn't a unique wish, nor a unique failing. My failing is, of course, neglecting my backyard. I live in a freaking awesome place. I haven't even been to the Grand Canyon in years, to say nothing of a thousand other trails, hikes, climbs, drives, and haunts. And that's not even counting my own backyard. This to do almost goes without saying.

[To do: Travel, just in the state. Travel travel travel travel. Travel some more. Travel to the Grand Canyon, those hikes I grew up on, that place I got lost once, new hikes I've been wanting to try, and ones I've only just heard of. Check out side roads and creek beds, cliffs and mountains; and, of course, my own backyard. Take photos. Write words. Share. Repeat.]

I wish you all a happy New Year, and a happy entire year, full of love, beauty, health, sunsets, spiders, giant beetles, rattlesnakes ... wait. Those last three were wishes for myself. That other stuff is for everyone. Take care, everyone. Happy 2012.


FireMom said... Best Blogger Tips

Oh hell. You're just awesome. Also, your husband is awesome and sounds awfully like mine. I kind of like when he gets furiously indignant on my behalf. Heh.

I still don't know if I can write mine for 2012. I feel... unresolved this year.

Leslie F. Miller said... Best Blogger Tips

I feel like I just listened in on my own private conversations with myself.

A few years ago, I resolved to learn to play guitar. It's probably one of the best resolutions I've ever made—and kept. I also resolved to get a book of poetry published, and it will be published this year.

So resolutions are a good thing. In spite of the fact that we can't really make such huge sweeping changes in ourselves without some kind of battle (and, in the immortal words of Bruce Cockburn, "Nothing worth having comes without some kind of fight / Gotta kick at the darkness 'til it bleeds daylight"), they help us keep our eyes (and, consequently, our minds) on the prize.

A little daily affirmation never hurt anyone.

You're smart. You're talented. And, gosh darn it, people love you. People like me.

Leslie F. Miller said... Best Blogger Tips

Wow, that was funny. People love you. But people only like me. That's not what I meant, of course, but it's a funny little slip.

Frank van Egmond said... Best Blogger Tips

Also wishing you the best for 2012! This post was very enjoyable and recognize so much in it.

Are magazine editors are from Mars and photographers from Venus?

Unknown said... Best Blogger Tips

You are not alone. I think I may actually be able to accomplish a few things off my wish list this year, if I can tear myself away from Google Plus long enough to actually do any of them and make some extra $ so I can do more of them and....(see, right there, the crux of the problem we face).

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips

Oh, man, it's as if you read my mind! And obviously, from your comments, we're not alone. Let's get out there and tackle 2012!! (By the way, you can't get much better than "the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow" and I think you know that. But go ahead and watch more movies.)

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips

my daughter (nearly 5) requested to hold a giant stick insect at the zoo recently, and posed with a big grin on her face while she did so. 6 months ago she wouldn't touch a rabbit! Needless to say, I thought of you and your son while she did it :)

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips

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