Turn the page.
January 4, 2012 § 6 Comments
This was the year I would be proven smart, become confident, figure out what the popular kids knew without even trying.
Just because it never happened before didn’t mean it wouldn’t. This time would be different…for sure.
Although short on courage, I faced the scary-unknown with hope and optimism. I still do.
My high expectations make me a sucker for new beginnings, clean slates, starting over. Each is a chance to recast my story and reach the happily ever after just crowning on the horizon.
These start-overs abound. You just have to be open to them.
As hard as it was to whisper my sins to the shadowy priest behind the perforated plastic barrier in the confessional, I loved the buoyancy I felt when I got up off my knees, my soul white as a bleached sheet wind-dancing on the line. This time I would really not fight with my sister. I would be respectful to my mother. I would help around the house.
In honor of my freshly laundered soul I would be charitable, non-combative, sweet, helpful, respectful, until I was overcome with the need to fight with my sister. Like the first stain on a good dress it seemed to invite others. I didn’t resist the next fight quite as hard.
On a Saturday of my mother’s choosing I’d drag my muddy soul back to church, open the heavy door to the confessional and kneel.
Although they are largely artificial I continue to believe in new beginnings.
I like Mondays. With each Monday I assume I’ve been issued a whole new week. This week I’ll really accomplish something!
But the new year is my favorite clean slate. Fifty-two weeks, untouched, have just been dropped off the truck with my name on the box! They’ve even thrown in an additional day at no extra charge .
I could never treat a new year as if it were more of the same.
Resolutions must be made. A tradition in my family, resolutions were always written down by my mother. Some were funny. One year my baby brother’s resolution was to quit sitting in the onion drawer. Some were sad because, although they repeated year after year, they always went unfulfilled. Even a novelist, which my mother was, could only find so many ways to say that her husband would lose weight in the new year.
I’ve come to understand that the force of a resolution depends on the desire of the resolution maker—my father went along, but the wish that he get thin was really hers. My dad made his own weight-loss resolution after a serious heart attack. Kept it too.
A resolution must originate with the resolver and arise out of desire, not guilt–my mother made resolutions for me that were just as effective; I still haven’t learned my multiplication tables and I feel guilty about it, but not guilty enough. A year is too long to be motivated by guilt.
It is easy, flipping through my mother’s old ledger, to pick out a resolution I made myself: This year I will sing as well as Judy Collins (1968).
I still hope for this kind of alchemy but I’ve realized that it is better to resolve to do actions, not state an intended outcome over which I rarely have control.
This year’s singing resolution will not be to sing as well as Judy Collins or anyone else. It will sing scales for twenty minutes every single day. I bet Judy does.
Even something as simple as singing scales for twenty minutes a day will be hard. A year has a mind of its own, disasters happen, things change. But to the best of my ability I will put in my time. Sing scales. Live up to the action verb of this resolution.
The year gets tattered as it wanes. Resolve grows tired. The obstacles that always lie in wait show themselves. The resolutions of 2011 have expired. I lived up to some, others make me shake my head.
But a new year has just been delivered! I’ve been thinking about resolutions for the last few weeks. I’ve committed a dozen to a page in my journal. A dozen is not so many. A year, especially one this new, is commodious with room for everything.
And scale singing is only going to take twenty minutes. a day.