someone asked me recently if i had made any new year's resolutions. when i said no, they didn't believe me because, according to them, it's something that everyone does. since when does what "everyone does" have anything to do with me? i heard myself think and then i heard myself saying it. dang! that editing machine in my head is broken again. gotta look into getting that thing fixed...
i took a workshop in college via the ywca at a friend's suggestion that taught me about goals and priorities and how to set them, and how to live a purpose-driven life. i have used the tools that i learned over that six week period every day, ever since -- so much so, in fact, that it's something i do without even thinking about it. my morning isn't complete unless i've done my morning pages and skimmed through those lists, adding notes here, ideas there, a thumbnail sketch where needed, and so on. i am always making lists. while my moment-to-moment world is a huge blank book that's sectioned off by time (daily, weekly , monthly, seasonally, annually) and subject -- and they change all the time, by the way -- i have a blank book in my purse that catches whatever's skimming through my head while i'm on the train or waiting in line at the bank or whatever.
i realize now that i haven't made any new year's resolutions since i took that workshop because i'm already making things happen by being so goal-oriented. i feel pretty fulfilled in general -- not because i've got everything i want but because i'm getting things done but more importantly, i know that i'm on my way there. i don't really feel as though i've accomplished much, probably because i'm not paying too much attention to what i've done. i'm way more focused on the future and what's coming down the pike.
a resolution doesn't mean much if you don't put any action behind it and if it doesn't have an expiration date. it may as well be something you're wishing for, like a flatter midsection. if you really want to get rid of that gut, you can't just say you want to get rid of it -- although acknowledging that you need to is usually a tremendous first step. you know what i mean. lay off the beer swilling and the pork rinds and the fried everything. eat healthy. pop a vitamin after every meal, fer cryin' out loud. get off the couch and work out. like my favorite chinese saying goes, "talk doesn't cook rice."
most people don't even know the difference between goals and priorities.
i think that life needs an owner's manual, so that these things are explained thoroughly and fairly early and no one is left to make wishes and resolutions and live on the hope that someday they'll lose weight or stop smoking or dump that abusive boyfriend. but then again, circumstance has a way of handing us the life manual that we need when we least expect it. we just don't pay attention to the information we're given until it's too late.
it was arthur miller who said, maybe all we can hope to do is end up with the right regrets. i think that's an interesing way to look at it. i have regrets but they're good ones. so far, i don't regret leaving home. new york city hasn't been an easy place to live but i don't regret moving here. i don't regret my refusal to smoke cigarettes. and although i had a moment in college where i tried drugs because i was curious, i didn't lose myself in speed or heroin or whiskey like everyone else did. so my liver and my brain cells and my skin and the rest of my major organs are all doing great. but some of my friends are falling apart. and some of them aren't here anymore. i still miss carrie every day. God help me. i really do.
hey. wanna know something that millionaires have in common? they all take excellent care of their bodies. that makes a lot of sense to me. why work so hard to get all that money, only to keel over from a heart attack right when you've got nothing but time to enjoy the good life?
it's a way of thinking, i suppose. i changed my way of thinking when i took that workshop and i didn't even realize it. that was circumstance, handing me a piece of that life manual that i so needed. thank God i was paying attention.
anyway, it's true. i don't have any new year's resolutions. but i don't think anyone else should have any, either. there. i said it.