New Year’s Notions

safe_image-phpIt’s coming up to a new year, after a year that left a lot to be desired (see previous post) and, as usual and culturally normal, I’m thinking about what I want the coming year to hold.

But I am emphatically NOT talking about New Year’s Resolutions, because we all know that they are not worth the paper or cyber-space they’re written on.

I’m also not going to participate in the annual self-flagellation that marketers love so much to capitalise on.

We (and the mags and websites with content to fill) love to talk about what we should do less of: we should weigh less (always, and quite regardless of whether our health will actually benefit).  We should eat less; less  altogether and especially less sugar/carbs/fat/cheese/meat… or whatever is the bête noire of the moment.  We should drink less coffee or alcohol or diet coke.  We should spend less money and less time on social media.  We should work less – or relax less, depending on who you ask.

It’s a curiously puritanical approach to life, in a culture that simultaneously urges us to indulge our every whim.  Although it’s less curious when you think about the fact that there is money to be made out of those urges.  Both our self-hatred and our desire for ‘things’ have been cultivated very carefully for decades by companies who want to sell us a ‘solution’ to our ‘problems’.  And way too often, we let ourselves fall into line.

Well, not I!  Not this year!  This year, I’m not going to engage with any nonsense about what I should do less of, nor am I going to buy (ha!) the lie that things will somehow make me better.

Instead, I’m going to focus on what I want to do MORE of.

I want to read more. More fiction, more non-fiction, more serious journalism.  As a writer with a lot of writer friends, I could read all day every day and still not keep up with all their releases.  I have realised lately that I have let that fact bog me down and stop me reading altogether, because I felt overwhelmed.  So I’m going back to the way I used to read, which was whatever crossed my path and took my fancy.  I’ve invested in Big Country Book Club partly for this reason – to come across new things that I might not otherwise see.  And I’ll read my friends’ books when the mood takes me – and enjoy them!

I want to watch more movies.  Good movies are good storytelling and they are good material for writers of all descriptions.  So I’m giving myself permission to watch at least one movie every week and really watch it, without feeling as though I have to be sorting mail or something at the same time.

I want to exercise more.  Please note that I said WANT TO, not ‘must’ or ‘need to.’  And it is NOT because I think it will help me lose weight (it might, it might not), but because it will help me feel better.  And because I have FINALLY found a form that I enjoy and which is doable.  Physically, mentally and emotionally, I feel a heap better when I get regular exercise.  A lifetime of not having an exercise habit means that I need to make a mental effort to get out and do it, but that is one effort well worth making.

I want to eat more fruit and veges. Please note, this is not so I can eat less of other things or because I ‘should.’  I want to eat more fruit and veges because I feel better when I do and because I deserve things that make me feel better.  Also, because I LIKE them.  I am putting it on the list because, like exercise, it takes a little effort to remember that I like them and they are therefore worth the effort to shop for and prepare.  For too long, eating fruit, particularly, came under the heading of things I ‘should’ do, because I was fat, and so became unfairly chore-like in my mind.  This year, I’d like to dig these delicious things out from under that burden!

I’m going to write more.  Not just more books, although they are definitely on the agenda, but more of everything.  More blog posts, more poetry (eek!) and even my personal terror, some short stories.  In the past, when trying to finish hard things, like novels, I’ve decided I couldn’t take the time to write blog posts and the like, but having tried that, I don’t think that’s the right approach.  Writing skill and ease is like a muscle – the more you use it the stronger it gets.  So I’ll write whatever I feel like writing AS WELL as what I have deadlines for. (Intriguingly, and encouragingly, after writing this, I found a blog post that implies that far more accomplished writers than I think the same!  If you’re a writer, check it out!)

And there I am going to stop!  I could make a much longer list.  There are many more parts of my life that I could address but an over-full list is just another way to set myself up for failure. I’ve done that perfectionist nonsense way too many times before and that is definitely NOT something I want more of.  So that’s my list.  That’s what I’m going to address this year and look back on to assess during, and at the end of, 2017.  Everything else can just work in around it, because dammit, this is my year of MORE!

So, what about you?  What do YOU want MORE of in 2017?

Copyright © Imelda Evans 2016

 

16 thoughts on “New Year’s Notions

  1. I am surprisingly like you, Imelda. I think we are twins separated at birth of something. I like ALL of your ‘more’ list. I would like to add one thing, to be more spiritual; it was lacking this last year. For me that is all about my Christian faith. For others it might be about their inner soul. But I find it tremendously important. Here’s to 2017, and ‘more’!

    • I like the idea of being your twin, Malvina! I like the spiritual angle too. My commitment to the choir and to after school RE have helped me with that. I interact better with my faith when I’m ‘doing’, I’ve found! As the girl said, when we were catering my friend’s wake, and we were complimented on it, ‘we’re Catholics; it’s what we do.’ 😉

  2. Great post. Totally agree with your sentiments re ‘new year’s resolutions’, and I love you ‘more’ plans for 2017. I’m going one step further (or one step back, depending on your perspective) 2017 for me will be a year of no targets and no expectations. Thank you for your post. You’ve inspired my NYE post. I’m going to write it now. All the best to you for 2017, and may you have more of everything you want.

    • Oh, I’m glad I’ve inspired a post! Thanks for your good wishes and all the best to you too. I like the idea of no targets at all. I was a bit tempted by that, but after the very disjointed year I had, I just wanted something to focus me back on things I like, that sustain me. I’ll look forward to your post!

  3. I definitely want to do more writing, and I’d also like to walk more – particularly exploring new parts of the Cape to Cape track 🙂 I’ve started well – from the New Year I’m cutting down my ‘day’ job from 5 days to 2… I was very excited to work my final ‘Friday’ yesterday!
    Happy New Year, Imelda. Love you.
    p.s. my hubby wants to know: “what is in that glass!!” I told him I’d ask you 🙂

  4. I’m always very definite about my New Year Resolutions, and I always keep them. The trick is making them concrete and achievable. I wouldn’t say ‘I’m going to do more for charity’; instead I would say something like, ‘I am going to spend XX hours or XX dollars on charity a, b. c.’ And I wouldn’t say, ‘I’m going to get two books published (because that’s out of my hands) but I would say, ‘I will finish manuscript z’ or ‘I will dedicate my Sundays to writing’ or something like that. But as it happens I do have a ‘more’ on my list for 2017, and that is to be more vocal about the things that matter – feminism, human rights, injustice, the disturbing rise of fascism – and never again shut up and keep the peace because it’s easier or bad for my career or will make people want to slap me. This is of course horrifying those closest to me who think I am quite vocal enough already!

    • My nearest and dearest have long since given up on me not shouting things from the rooftops, and most of them are pretty vocal too, so we rub along okay! I try always to be polite about what I say, and i don’t engage in slagging, but in the current climate, I don’t know how one can keep silent. Who was it who said ‘our lives begin to end the day we are silent about things that matter’? It’s a good point anyway. So sing it, sister! I’ll be right there with you! Re the concrete goals, I have a very complicated relationship with ‘things I want to achieve’, stemming from perfectionism, anxiety and dieting (something I’m hoping to explore on the blog this year, in the hope of helping others who might suffer from the same nonsense) so I have to be a bit careful about how I approach them. It’s very easy for me, once I start a concrete list, to put everything on it that I have ever not liked about myself and we know that doesn’t end well! So this approach is working for me for now. I’ll let you know how it goes! Thanks for coming by!

  5. Except for the veggies bit (not really a fan at all), we share a very, very similar this! I managed 70 books in 2016, I want to at least match that in 2017 and I definitely want to see more films. As for writing – 2017 is going to be the year that I write my psychological thriller novel (or die trying* – *not really).

    I hope the new year brings you everything you want (and lets you fulfill your dreams!)

    • I’d like to at least match 70 books in 2017 too! And I want to see that psych thriller! I’m in a similar spot re my crime project. I have written one, but it wasn’t good enough. This is the year to make it so!

      Maybe you need different veges, Mark? Something that came as something of a revelation to me was that I didn’t have to eat ones I didn’t like and that the way I had always eaten them wasn’t the only way they could be eaten. I like to eat salads, for instance, when I’m out and get ideas for making raw veges more interesting. I might have to put some ideas on the blog for you. A nice dressing can make an incredible difference!

      Hears to dreams coming true for all of us. 🙂

  6. Thank you, re: the thriller – we’ll swap them, me and you, for critiques when we’re done! 🙂

    I like salad, I like brocolli, peas and carrots and I stick with them. No more experimenting for me! 🙂

  7. Yay! I’m more into this New Year’s post than others.
    Lol! Think I’ll toast you with a glass of wine when I’m finished my comment.
    I’m so happy to hear you’ll be blogging more! I’ve missed you!
    Although I agree that exercise makes me feel better, the only exercise I ever truly miss is walking.
    Long walks in interesting places. Places where I can think, or be inspired. Walking… I think I could walk to the moon if there was a bridge and oxygen. More walking is what I want to do more of!
    Happy New Year, Imelda!
    PS. I could use a new Romance novel!

    • I’ll do my best on the Romance novel, Resa! 🙂 Walking is great in interesting places. Something I have learned the hard way about me and exercise is that I much prefer doing it when there is a reason other than exercise. So, if the surroundings are nice, or if there is a skill involved – like dancing or karate, or if it’s fun for its own sake, like going to the beach! So I’m trying to do that sort more! Happy New Year to you too, my friend!

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