Last Post for 2008

It’s so quiet here this morning. My parents left yesterday. For the first time in four days I haven’t seen either my brother or my sister-in-law. S.’s university gives him this week off, so he is upstairs, with Skylar curled next to him. Skylar, it turns out, is not a morning dog at all and when I let him out of the crate when I wake up he jumps on the bed for an extra hour or two of sleep with S. which works well with my morning writing schedule.

When I was in Boston this fall, I left my journal in the hotel room, never to recover it. My journal isn’t so much a diary like it used to be, but rather a place where I keep track of possible essay and story ideas, potential characters, books to be read, movies to see, short paragraphs here and there when I am frustrated – you get the idea. This particular diary held all of my new year’s resolutions, and I found I couldn’t remember all of the resolutions I had made for 2008. This isn’t particularly unusual as I am not afraid of resolutions at all and tend to make what most people would consider way too many each year but it’s frustrating right now to not be able to properbly access my resolutions from last year. I recall, of course, the larger resolutions – to become more environmentally responsible, to make more time for things I enjoy, etc – but I also know I made smaller resolutions like learn how to bake bread and difficult resolutions like to stop talking negatively about myself.

I know a lot of people, S. included, who think resolutions are fairly pointless, but I love them. I don’t beat myself up if I don’t achieve mine, but I am the kind of person who responds well to some sort of guide for the year. I also enjoy looking my goals from the beginning of the year and reflecting on how my priorities have changed over the course of twelve months. As I’ve noted before, this year took such a different direction than I anticipated this time last year that I don’t mind at all how my resolutions became muddied and lost in transition, but as I sit here, in the dark of a post-Christmas morning, drinking coffee and wondering what resolutions I will make for 2009, because right now they are only half-formed ideas in my head, I can feel the roots I’ve planted here in Pittsburgh begin to burgeon. A home. A dog. A job I won’t be leaving in the forseable future. Friends – both here and around the country. A novel at the half-way point. I am at a point I have never been before, a point where I am looking at things in the longer term, and I think this is going to be a great year for focus and concentration, for living not just for the upcoming year but for the next decade, perhaps even for a lifetime. I’ve read a few blogs where people have chosen certain words as guides for the year instead of resolutions, and while this practice won’t interrupt at least a page or two of specific resolutions, if I were to choose any word for this year it would be synthesis. This is the year I synthesize all I’ve learned about fitting in writing around the edges of a busy life, about exercise and healthy living, about prioritizing things that give my joy and not priortizing things that give me angst, about becoming the person I always thought myself to be and not caving to the distractions of a million reasons not to be.

I am greatly looking forward to 2009. I hope you are as well.

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6 Responses to Last Post for 2008

  1. bloglily says:

    I too am looking forward to 2009! And I like your idea about the coming year being one to put into practice the things you already know how to do! Happy New Year. xo, L

  2. Pete says:

    Courtney, I think I might just have to borrow that excellent word as well. Synthesising all the experiences of the year into a rounded, complex whole. I also like your approach to goal-setting. Here’s to lots of resolutions for 2009 and lots of pleasant surprises along the way too. Happy writing.

  3. Make Tea Not War says:

    I think my theme word for the past few years has been consolidate which is a bit like synthesis- no dramatic changes just build on what is there.

    You’ve clearly achieved a great deal in 2008. Hope 2009 is a great year for you too. Happy New Year!

  4. litlove says:

    I do like the idea of synthesis, and also in fact Ms Make Tea’s consolidate. I think both those words are good ones for 2009. I like thinking ahead and planning the year, and I suppose I have lots of resolutions that I don’t write down and hold over my head like a bad homework assignment, but that I hope will guide me. My sister-in-law is big on spending New Year’s Eve in dressing gowns with her husband, making lists and plans for the coming year. I’d love to do that, but my husband would much rather party…. I’ll treat myself to a planning day on the 2nd. And a very happy, productive and synthesising 2009 to you, Courtney!

  5. Dorothy W. says:

    Synthesis is a great word to use to organize thoughts about the year, and your plans sound great. It’s wonderful to learn new things, I think, but even better to begin to practice what you learned and to fit it into your life in a regular way, so they aren’t new anymore.

  6. Courtney says:

    Happy new year to you too, Bloglily! To love, happiness and much writing in the new year!
    Pete, well then, we shall both synthesize this year. I am looking greatly forward to it!
    Ms. Make Tea – I think 2009 shall be a great year for both of us!
    Litlove – S. and I always spend at least part of the new year discussing the highs and los, and going through our photo albums .It’s lovely.
    Dorothy – exactly! Happy New Year!

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