Sunday, January 10, 2010

New Year's Resolutions

This year I have resolved to exercise, to be more organized, and to be less perfectionist. How's that for a fun balancing act? As I attempt to "live like a writer" I also get to know myself better, consider when are the best times for me to be productive. Consider how I can best devote my time to fruitful writing. Google calendar has helped me visualize my schedule in blocks of differently colored time, as pictured here. Blocks for work, exercise, studying, lesson planning and (in pink) for writing. The picture doesn't even show you my evening schedule of classes. But I've got my priorities in line. Four days a week I have scheduled a three hour block of time for writing. I'm being optimistic.

This morning I actually woke up early around 7am. After 30 minutes of attempting to fall back to sleep, I decided to get up and write. This morning I've been reworking some old poems, both from last semester and also from years ago. I even radically revised a two year-old poem and while it's not there yet, it is much improved. One thing I accidentally found was an old journal where I found some poems about love and the things in my head at the time. I was pretty obsessed with the the fall season for a while and it really showed in a lot of my writing. I just found an letter I wrote to myself last January. Pardon the melodrama:

January 7, 2009
Dear Laura,

This has been a difficult week. Realizing that you've lost sense of who you are and what you want out of life - that can be a big deal. There are a lot of things you want from life. New experiences, new people, new faces. Conversation, coffee, delicious food, friendship, satisfaction. You want excitement with stability. I want to be able to take care of myself. If I've learned anything it is that I don't want to be back here again. Scared and lonely. I'm sure I will be both of these things again, but not of my own doing. I will make choices to move my life in a new path. I want a career. I want love. I want a home, people, family, meals - however that looks for me. I want those things. I want to love myself. I want to find solace and peace in the things I need and have and want and strive for and work hard for.

To put this into context: I had just quit a tedious desk job at a company that stopped paying me. Shortly thereafter it went out of business. I also was ending a long term relationship, although the actual breakup happened about a week later. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and for the first time as an adult I was alone.

So while parts of the letter might not make sense (it was difficult not to revise it), I look at these words now and I realize it was my resolution for 2009. I was reminding myself of my real self. My real needs. I put into writing the things I wanted from life. I love how partway through I switch from second to first person. Stating the "I want..." was an important change. It was a kick in the ass, so to speak.

While I won't list all the ways I made this letter come to life, I will say this: I put something in writing and then I made it happen. I got out of a bad relationship. I got into graduate school. I became a teacher. I fell in like and then in love. I didn't compromise. I made choices to move my life. It has been moved.

I think it really affirms my decision to be a writer. I know that the words on the page did not really make these changes. But there is something about holding a pen in your hand and pressing it against paper and letting your arm-wrist-hand move your thoughts outside of you, a collection of thoughts. Thoughts into action.

I guess this year's resolution to be more organized and start jogging is kind of lame in comparison. Maybe I'll keep working on last year's resolution and just tack this years on to the end of that letter... "I want to be realistically organize, to be healthy, to take care of my physical self, to get in shape." There. Another kick in the ass.

1 comment:

Thom Dawkins said...

What a wonderful post! (And thanks for your reply to mine.)

Although I wasn't there for the stories I only hear about, you have certainly seemed to come a very long way this year in becoming the person you wish to be. If your poems are any indication of what's happened in the past year of life, it seems you've gained a lot of clarity, focus, and a great deal of creative independence.