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.