I love the cyclical nature of life, of the world, of God. The circle of years turns around and around, and here we are again, at the beginning of another year bearing all the weight of what we hope to be, the ways in which we hope to change and thrive. There is promise with the return of Januaries, and a sense of drive. This year, I will be this, do this, accomplish this. Last year I wrote this post about New Year’s resolutions, how I thrive on them, how I think they’re more than just pomp.
In 2013 I made three resolutions. Here is the recap:
1. Read 20 books.
2. Learn a new form of exercise.
3. Let bitterness go.
1. Check plus! I finished my twenty-first book yesterday. There were times this year that I did not read anything for weeks, mostly in the time when Jack was first born and I was living in the fog of mutilated sleep patterns and deliriously staring at his small sleeping body and butter clenched fists for lengths of time. In March I couldn’t pick up books. I made up for lost time during three summer beach trips with our families, where there were grandmothers to answer Jack’s calls for assistance. Reading was the great leisure of my life this year, and though I spent the majority of the past months in a dry desert of writing, the well within me out of which stories grow and are hydrated was kept full because of the books I read.
2. Check! I wanted to try yoga, and I did, and I am hooked. This resolution success packs a particularly huge punch because I have had a somewhat dysfunctional relationship to exercise for several years. First I was obsessed, then I was hateful, then I tried to find balance and went back and forth between obsessing and hating. It was years of this, but I was always thinking, I just want to let this shit go. And then Jack was born (after a pregnancy in which I exercised almost every day) in March and I couldn’t walk properly for eight weeks. EIGHT WEEKS. You might be thinking, Ginny, that’s too much information, but I’ve really only showed the tip of the iceberg. I apologize if that makes you cringe, and I don’t think that eight weeks is normal, but that was what it was for me. For the first four I walked around like an old woman who shuffles on hardwoods in slippers and had to take periodic sit breaks, but only sit on the side of my rear end. For the second four I panicked that maybe I would never be the same and called my doctor a few times to make sure we weren’t missing something. I came around, but the point is that I did not “exercise” for eight weeks and it broke the hold exercise had held on me. A few weeks after I started feeling normal I went to a class at the Y that is a combo of yoga, Pilates and tai chi (and great music) and fell in love. I still walk with Jack on most days, and run once or twice a week, but the slow, meditative, peaceful practice of yoga is my new jam. And I am twice as flexible as I used to be.
3. Check…ing? “Let bitterness go.” It’s a big one, and I do not think that giving myself 365 days to gut-check, heart-overhaul is wholly feasible. I do, however, think that releasing bitterness is something that is a current, daily, present needed task for the rest of my life. However, this year was a huge turning point for me. When I wrote this resolution last year, it stuck in the forefront of my mind all year, a conscious awareness of myself, a returning consideration for bitterness. How do I harbor it? What is it? Why? How it relates to anger, sadness, disappointment. How it is forgiveness, and how it is not. I’m checking this one off because my heart changed this year over the sin of bitterness. There were things I was holding onto, and I released them. It reminds me of the Loi Krathong ceremony celebrated throughout Thailand, Laos and Myanmar where thousands of lit lanterns are released into the night sky in this beautiful glowing lift. There is an intense beauty in that ceremony, as well as a sense of nostalgia because each lantern contains a wish. I would like to think that releasing tokens of bitterness into the night sky, lit, somehow turns them into wishes for beauty and forgiveness and peace and joy.
So what about 2014? Three new resolutions.
1. Read 20 books. (yes, again) But this time there is a little more structure involved in the goal. Three biographical, three nonfiction, five classics, nine of what I want. I want to read biography because I am fascinated by true history. Nonfiction is a genre with which I have waged a great battle, but reading is meant to be part pleasure and part discipline. It is important for me to read history and spiritual insight and economic insight. The classics will be a pleasure, though they’re often long, so I don’t choose to up my total quantity. I admit it: this is an indulgent resolution that I plan to make in some form every year for the rest of my life.
2. Re-open and tackle Roma Roma. This is the resolution I fear to make. Roma Roma is the name of my third novel, and I decided that in 2014 I’m going to do it. I’m going to take it back out, read it, make notes, read it again. I’m going to edit the very life out of that piece of work, and breathe fresh life back into it. I’m going to work it down to the bones, make the writing sinewy and agile, make the plot gritty and full of truth. And then I’m going to consider publication options. I’m going to do this because I have to! I am shouting now. I must do this, for the writer that lives within me and is lazy from atrophic muscles. I am going back into the fray and I’m pretty scared.
3. Bring order to the dark places in my home. Don’t be fooled, this is not a spiritual exercise. I am talking about the attic, the basement, the drawers and cabinets in the kitchen, the shelves in the breakfast nook, all the closets, every place where the light of day doesn’t shine without a door or drawer being opened. I am going to channel my dear friend Lauren, whose singular joy in life is organization, and bring order to the chaos.
There you have it, my resolutions. I’d welcome any advice on books! Bring it on 2014. And just for your viewing pleasure…