It’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