Everyone talks about starting over, starting fresh, starting something new.. We look back on the year behind us and sometimes it isn't pretty. The idea of starting with a clean slate is pretty appealing. We relish the idea of sweeping the old mess under the rug and moving on. January 1st is the universe's official 'do over' allowance. We get to pass Go again and collect our 200 dollars.
There is a certain amount of sad defeat in that, though. We lock away all the things we didn't finish. We didn't lose those twenty pounds, find a better job, start the cooking classes, or write mom more often. We stuff down that nagging sense of shame or defeat and just whip out a new list of to dos for the new year that most likely will suffert the same fate in 365 days.
It's a New Year but what if instead of ignoring the old resolutions, we resolve to finish them. Instead of hiding them in defeat an pretending they didn't happen, what if we continue to pursue them? We basically choose to say 'yes, they're still there' and instead of saying 'I failed to finish them', we say I am still working on them. It's the equivalent of renewing your library books for two more weeks instead of paying the fine for losing them.
It's a much more freeing and self-forgiving to finish what we started. So instead of conceding annually to defeat, recognize that you're just not finished yet.
I graduated today. Again. This time it was my Master's degree (MAIS in Creative Writing, English and Psychology, if you must know.) Yay me, clap clap, hurrah.
I'm not belittling the accomplishment (I'm extremely proud of myself) and I'm not here to garner your praise or jealousy or criticism or awe or whatever (to each their own.)
The bigger picture is I did something for myself. This accomplishment speaks to the nights I stayed up late, squeezing in homework during lunch at the office, balancing the life of a single parent, work, home, friends. All those things were done to gain something for me.
It sounds incredibly selfish. It is on some levels. This degree serves no one but myself and my interests. And I am so excited for myself for doing something for me. Society doesn't really put a premium on self-care. We are expected and driven to serve others. I love serving others...but I can't do that unless I am at my best. I'm not at my best if I don't take care of me.
For those self-flagellating Christians.. consider the verse found in Mark: 'love your neighbor as yourself'. Take care of yourself first and then you can care effectively for others.
So yes, this season of thanks and giving, I think you'll find yourself more thankful and more giving when you take care of yourself. Try it and see.
It's my favorite time of year!! I love Christmas for too many reasons to list here. One of them is shopping for others. Here's a gift guide for your favorite writer or wanna-be-writer.
Aqua Notes waterproof notepad and pen.... because some of my best work is done in the shower! $8 on Amazon.
Elegy for a Dead World... a video game with writing prompts. Game and write at the same time...nirvana! By Steam, $14.
First Lines of Literature Mug - Literary Quotes Coffee Cup - By The Unemployed Philosophers Guild Available on Amazon. $17 I own this one, having received it as a gift myself. It is a heavy duty, slightly oversized mug. I love it.
Do not annoy the writer tee... writers need to lounge in something comfortable and snappy while they are working. I have the short sleeve version of this shirt. $25 from Red Bubble
The Storymatic kit is cool for stirring the imagination and getting creative juices flowing again. $30 from The Writer's Store.
Harry Potter Quill and Ink set.... because it's just cool. $40 from Nostalgic Impressions.
I'm a writer... so that means I write a bunch. Blogs are just the pieces that never make it into the final cut.