Remember way back when I said I only make a very small number of resolutions? That’s always, except for now, never not true.
I have one or two good fora in which to practice writing within my profession. This venue will be more of an emotional outlet. (And sexual. And stress…ual.)
- Be more specific about what I want from individual family relationships and more generous in striving towards them.
I am specifically thinking about my brother. I have good relationships with my mother and sister, a civil one with my father, and am on speaking terms or better with my extended family (something that is unique, at least on my father’s side). But my brother…well, maybe the resolution should be “figure out what the guy wants!” For myself, I desire a relatively close sibling relationship. I live in the Midwest, he’s on the West Coast, and neither of us travel much outside of work requirements; I see him pretty much only once a year, at the holidays. I like regular communication; sharing news stories or products or quotes I find interesting or amusing and that I think he’ll appreciate, or letting him know minor updates in my life. What he reciprocates with: nothing. Never a response. Never a single word. Sometimes I’ll message him in Gchat with a one-liner, and then (if I’m lucky) I get this: “haha”. However, at the holidays, he’s warm and talkative and polite. Not the most wonderful conversation partner; asking him questions about his life is like pulling teeth, and his (lack of) communication the rest of the year does not make me want to talk endlessly about mine. So my questions for myself are, what exactly do I want from my brother? What does he want from me? And then to respect his wish (although his apparent desire for distance is a mild kind of devastating), and be as loving as I can be in ways that he doesn’t find offensive. …I don’t know. I think I haven’t found the kernel of truth in this situation yet.
- Be the fabulousness I wish to see in the world.
This is a nod to something that Mahatma Ghandi said: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” That has long been a mantra of mine, but it occurred to me a few days ago that you could replace “change” with a lot of fun things and still use it productively as a guide. What I mean specifically is that I want to work harder at “having it all”: being fit, producing work at a level of which I can proud, cherishing meaningful relationships, cultivating inner and outer peace, and letting myself have fun without getting distracted by self-flagellation. Through diligent self-work and probably way too much introspection I feel like I have a handle (at this moment, in this breath) on handling the balance between romance-friendships-family, work and play, success and celebration; what I’m not great at right now are my own logistics. Cooking healthy food. Making time to work out. Adhering to the budget I took so much time to set out. I know how to do all these things, and I have done all of them successfully in the past; I have just let them fall by the wayside in the pursuit of, shall we say, other kinds of health. It is time to make my way back to them, and I have a couple of specific sub-goals to help me achieve them: 1) establish and adhere to more of a routine, and 2) prepare two or more produce-centered meals at home per week. These are both reasonable, achievable immediately (I’ve already had my meals – fruits and cheeses for breakfast three times, nutritious and delicious!), and meet the larger goal while also laying the groundwork for doing even more good things for myself. Yay synergy!
- Continue my spiritual education.
I have already made the first move in this direction by requesting a book from the local library on the Dalai Lama. I don’t know what kind of a book it is, whether it is about his teachings or more of a biography; but he gently promotes the kind of peace and love I seek in my own life and hope to learn to provide to others, so I decided that learning more about him would be a good place to start. This continues a theme of low-frequency but regular spiritual reading I began two or three years ago that has included the I Ching, St. Thomas Aquinas, monastic wisdom, and a light-hearted inquiry into Hinduism. I do seek peace and am convinced beyond question that the best way to interact with others and myself is through pure love, and I tend to look for thinkers, mystics, and philosophies that have something meaningful to say about those two ideas.
- Be more generous with my emotional bounty.
I am on good terms with my family, I have a strong network of friends, my work achievements are only reaching higher and higher quality, I’m in the best romantic relationship I ever imagined, and my prospects for the future are as bright as they can possibly be. I have not always been in these phenomenal spaces; my path to this point has been indirect, full of profound mistakes and not a little terror, often isolated and unsure. The transformation from that life to this one has taken years and has not been without its own bumps, but in the process I have continued to inch towards that better self I seek. Through these experiences, many of them unusual or unfamiliar to most, I have had more opportunities than most to learn myself, to acquire and ruthlessly develop a situational awareness with respect to others, and to discover and dwell in a deep peace. Those trials and those opportunities have made me what I am today. What that is, I don’t always know; but I do know that it must serve as a reminder to me that I have packed more, for better or worse, into my 33 years than most people see in a lifetime, and that I cannot and should not expect them to know the things I know. I would be grieved if everyone shared my perspectives; I enjoy that not everyone has battle scars. I just need to remind myself of that fact more often, and to be as accepting of everyone and the spaces they’re in as I would hope they would be of me.