Happy New Year.
It’s that time of year where we make promises of transformation that are too easily abandoned by the middle of the month.
I typically make a small list in a few categories, but this year I’m making different commitments.
Last year, I ran my legs off. If someone asked for a volunteer, I raised my hand. If a friend wanted to go to a dreadful performance of this or that, I said yes. Between too much work with the summer job and my fulltime job, over-volunteering and writing (and getting a number of essays published in various blogs and magazines and making bits of new book progress) I was left cranky and tired. And bewildered as to how I got so busy (and so cranky and tired.).
I knew I was in rough shape when my eye doctor hinted at giving me a referral to a psychiatrist.
So I’m ready for a new chapter.
I have a goal list still, but in addition to looking like a To Do List, it includes a To Don’t List.
I’m letting go of a few things, even good things and fun things. I’ve adopted author Marie Kondo’s way of thinking about clutter as a way to think about activities. If the extra activity or invitation doesn’t bring me joy, I’m saying no to it.
For example, I volunteered in a civic group filled with delightful women. I wanted out pretty early on, but kept talking myself in to continuing. I left last week. It was like taking off a girdle and breathing deeply. Then I cut my cable television. Finally. After talking about it for years. No more reality television or news channels or even Twilight Zone on the SciFi network. Just podcasts or audiobooks or the radio now. I’m saying no to invitations to social gatherings that don’t thrill me.
I like my home. I love being at home with my cats and my thoughts and my laptop after a very long work day. Leaving home is a sacrifice that I need to want to make. And as much as I enjoyed the camaraderie of working in tourism last summer, I won’t do it again while working full-time at my day job. I don’t have the energy.
But I’ve found some fun new resolutions, or To Do’s this year.
I enrolled in a Spanish class which has gone pretty poorly thus far. I took a salt water aerobics class right by my work for the first time, and loved it. I have an appointment to meet with a virtual personal trainer this weekend (who happens to be a cousin!). And I’ll be a grants administrator for the local writer’s guild, a very short-term commitment.
I was inspired by Zenhabits blog about The Rule of the Edge. I want to keep pushing myself toward growth, but for me, that means getting comfortable doing and being less. Leaving myself open for other surprises.
Sometimes what we don’t do is as important as what we commit to. I’m looking forward to less commitments and more room for fun and writing and even sleep this year.
What about you?