I am not one for New Year’s resolutions, something about being contrary. But actually, why not? Resolutions are made in moments of some fantasising about what one would have to do to have that better, more healthy, exciting, fulfilling life that we all want always.
So here are mine:
1) Run a marathon: Now I have only run half marathons and I have absolutely no interest in running 26 miles, certainly not at my slow pace which only makes for self-boredom. So this may be a metaphor for doing something somewhat obsessively and excessively that requires calling forth some inner character and resources for achievement. Over the last week I have been in the houses of two friends, including old neighbour Dave and marvelled at their medals for running, for what it said about them and their dauntless spirits. Or I think of brother in law Roger and his manic cycling. Hmm.
2) Talk less, listen (actively) more. I think that what I am getting at here is being less certain and more inquiring. But what do you do when the person is really chatting the intolerables? No, I do not want to be the person who does not start any argument, who thinks that every idea has some merit. Some things are just plain wrong. But how to know when to give that feedback and when to forbear? And how to know when I am responding from pure ego (imposing my view) as opposed to a more genuine engagement where the exchange of ideas has a purpose? I think I will struggle with this one for the rest of my days.
3) Read some (or one) big novels. I will start with Dostoevesky. Now I really miss the book club, not only for the food and fun, but with them I read books that I would not otherwise thought to do.
4) Forget about the internet between 4-7 in the morning. These are my peak concentration and thinking hours. But how I use them up trolling the internet with the Caribbean newspapers (Nation, Express, Gleaner, Starbroek) and my other favourites - www.salon.com, www.theatlantic.com, www.guardian.co.uk; www.redpepper.org.uk (recent addition), not to mention Facebook and email. Enough. But having said that, I welcome website suggestions.
5) Start cooking again. The thing about being without family over the last few months, is that I have put my domestication into cold storage. Now wondering about that, about the discipline of self-care.
6) Learn something new. I do not have the time for ambitious learning goals (like a language) but certainly every day offers a gallimaufry of moments for new thoughts, reflections, experiences. (Learnt that word yesterday).
7) Delve into popular music. Or try a little. I am amazed how little I know about music circa now. Who is Frank Ocean for example? or Esperanza Spalding?
I recall listening at night in Wavel Avenue to those 1950s and 1960′s Platters and Sam Cooke tunes wailing out of Millie’s Hideaway. And wondering whether Millie had heard of Earth Wind and Fire. Call me Millie now.
8) Try with orchids. Or any plant for that matter. Again, see No. 5.
9) I like Nina’s ‘Yes Thank You’ resolution. That is, being open to all invitations and experiences. This is how friend Valerie also lives. But saying no, can also be liberating. I mean sometimes, the book and bed combo is just the best thing life can offer.
10) Writing. I let the blog slip in 2012. But I do love it and have to try harder.
And what about the elegance of the quotation above: “cultivating cheerfulness, magnanimity, charity and the habit of holy silence”?
Would love to hear your resolutions.