Friday, 13 January 2017

I resolve never to make resolutions

Let it be resolved that we will never again make New Year's resolutions based on what we saw in the flyers this week.

It boggles my mind that every single January, the gurus of marketing ensure that all of the key words are hit in every advertorial, every flyer, every promotional email. You know the ones. Renew! Refresh! Detox! Organize! Purge! Declutter! Clean! New new new! New you, too!

Ads for treadmills and magic bullets, miraculous shoe racks and plastic totes promise to make everything easier, cleaner, healthier, fresh and new. I actually find myself getting sucked into articles telling me how to detoxify with a shot of apple cider vinegar every morning and a cup of turmeric tea before bed, and nothing in between. So down the hatch with the vinegar. Drink that glass of water first thing in the morning, and follow it with ten minutes of meditation. Write down goals for the new year in a beautiful, pure white journal. But for heaven's sake do not call it a resolution, because there is no better way to curse yourself to complete and utter failure than by making resolutions. Especially if you make your resolutions public on social media. *ahem*

Apple cider vinegar with a tea chaser.
And yes, I was a total failure at the apple cider vinegar thing, but I am drinking a glass of water first thing every morning and trying to remember to meditate each day even for a few minutes. I have a lot of experience with a busy mind, and it has taken a lot of practice to slow it down over the years.

One of the biggest resolutions goals for me every year is to write more regularly, not for money or glory (because there is none) but just as a creative outlet because I can't knit or paint or sculpt or carve, or anything else, really with any level of prowess. Probably prowess is the wrong word, actually kind of an icky word. Sorry.
Years ago writing is what I did for a living, following a stint in journalism school, and I have had a love/hate relationship with the media ever since. But writing is something I can do, and as it makes life better to spew words onto a page, then it must be done.

Where was I going with that? Oh yes, goals.

Decluttering is another one of those hot topics of January. Last year I signed up for Apartment Therapy's January Cure, thinking that maybe regular emails reminding me to declutter would help clarify my vision of spare, simple space. I failed, plus my email box was even more cluttered, but they do offer lots of mindful suggestions, like how to meditate on what kind of space you want.

That being said, getting rid of stuff is so important. A few years back we moved from a 2500 square foot farmhouse into a 1000 square foot townhouse. It is staggering how many things we got rid of and how many more we fit into that small space. I am quite fascinated by small space living and love to read about tiny houses and all that jazz, but am equally enamoured with thrift store shopping. The simple rule of "one thing in, one thing out" is something that keeps it under control, and we keep a box or a bin always available for donating. It is a constant process of dropping things in until it fills up, and then dropping it off to charity.

Another goal for this year to work harder to connect with people and to maintain those connections. Somehow it was much easier to make friends when our children were tiny. Perhaps wild-eyed, exhausted parents covered in baby drool are just drawn together by some unseen force, and bonded together by mutual need and stress. Book clubs! Playdates! Birthday parties! Storytimes! So many social opportunities. I clearly remember ambushing an obviously pregnant woman (That's you, Lilah) and forging a friendship based on babies and a love of books. It is sooooo much more difficult now.
Reaching out is tough, and I've never been a joiner but I have always been blessed to have livelong friends who stay in touch. When I see them again it as if we were never apart. One glass of wine or cuppa tea and we are right back to the comfort zone. But moving around as we have means we have friends all across the country, so that is a positive, right?

Blogging is another way of reaching out, as well. Sometimes I wish I could do something BIG like Jonathan Field's The Good Life Project or Tsh Oxenreider's Art of Simple and become someone who does podcasts on .... something meaningful, but hey, not everyone can podcast so I will be happy if ten people read my blog. Or none, other than my mom. Another blog I love to read is Rita's Notebook. Rita writes about whatever the heck she wants and she does it beautifully. I especially like this post about how her teachers changed the trajectory of her life. All of these clever folks (and many more) are busy trying to make a positive difference in the world, despite the modern day Grimm's fairy tale taking place in the States these days. And when I say "Grimm" I mean, the original Grimm's fairy tales that were really, well, GRIM.

I would love to hear some goals that you all are thinking about for your lives, as well. Let us inspire each other, and reach out to others who are working hard to keep the sunshine in their hearts. By focusing our lens on good people and good things in our lives, it helps us shift our attention to optimism.

If all else fails to inspire, then go read a good book. A little escape never hurt anyone. Right now I am reading Catherine Alliott, while also rereading Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Reading to children will always bring you joy (and giggles). I am so happy to be returning to the toddler/baby world this week by facilitating a songs and rhymes program. Which means of course that I am wandering around the house singing "Mama's little baby loves dancing dancing, Mama's little baby like to boogie down." Hey, I have to practice. I am also having a look through this list of books for children that I pinned ages ago. Have a wonderful week, friends.

8 comments:

  1. I never liked the resolutions thing either. My goal this year is to become a better artist. Taking a class in watercolour starting next week in Charlottetown. Here's hoping that Thursdays are not snow days for the next six weeks! You might like my friend Arlene Giddings blog/website: http://www.arlenegiddings.com/

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    1. Thanks, Karen! I happen to think you are an amazing artist. :) Happy new year!

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  2. Loved your blog today, as always!!!

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  3. Keep writing. I'll keep reading. Meditation is being incorporated in my life. And I dream of writing so need to do more of this.

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    1. Yes!! The only way is just do it, and once you start it is hard to stop. :) Good luck!

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  4. Love reading your blog, Stephenie.

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  5. Ah, thanks for the kind words. I've pretty much given up on resolutions myself. I like "intentions" better. Somehow they sound less daunting. Like you, writing is the creative thing I'm best at, though I've often wished it were other things. I don't do it for fame or fortune, either. It seems like not much of a choice. I'm glad you're writing here. Also like you, I have trouble reaching out and connecting. I've really appreciated getting to know people online, through their work.

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    1. Thanks for visiting, Rita. "Intentions" is a good word for sure. I really intend to eat less bread this year, but so far I am failing. :)

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