New Year, New View

Last night I rang in the New Year by putting away all my Christmas decorations, reorganizing the living room, and taking a very indulgent spa-like bath. (And then comforting a dog while fireworks went off, but that’s not the part I want to focus on.) And as I was soaking in Epsom salts and listening to my favorite, admittedly very “woo-woo,” spa music, I suddenly started blogging in my head.

To say that this surprised me is an understatement. I stopped hearing blogs in my head two and a half years ago, when for emotional reasons and legal reasons, I suddenly did not feel safe putting my thoughts and feelings in a public space. I’ve missed blogging regularly, but it’s always been a very organic thing for me, so it’s not something I could really force. While occasionally, something would push through (poems, a baking series, random thoughts on rollerblading), the problem was, I knew I couldn’t ever write what I actually wanted to say. “When you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything,” my dad often reminded us growing up. So I didn’t.

But suddenly, last night in my bathtub, I could hear things I wanted to say that didn’t involve my divorce. I wanted to share my resolutions for 2019 and the unusual approach I’m taking to them. I wanted to talk about my reactions to the second season of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (yes, it IS as good as everyone says!). I wanted to share some of my friends’ blog posts and inspiration. I wanted to talk about my recent DnD, or Dungeons and Dragons, experiences (seriously). And for the first time, I could hear what to say about my divorce that would clear the air in my head and yet not be coming from a place of vindictiveness or pain. I felt…inspired again. And ready to share with the world once more.

The view as I write at my desk this morning.

So let me say before we get into the good stuff: my divorce, contrary to how it first appeared, was extremely painful, not just because I lost something I never thought I’d lose (my marriage) but also because the discoveries of my ex’s lying and cheating were extremely traumatic. What was supposed to be a friendly if sad dissolution of a marriage turned into a cruel and ugly legal settlement that showed my ex’s true colors.

But now it is finally, fully over. And with this changing of the calendar to a brand-new year, I think I’ve put it behind me completely. As I sit here with a (terribly unseasonal but very welcome) balmy breeze blowing into my apartment, and a warm winter sun painting the cat on my bed in tones of golden and gorgeous, I only see joy and freedom in my future. And possibly more blogging. We’ll see if this is a momentary impulse or something more lasting. I’m hoping for the latter.

Either way, let’s start with how I’m approaching resolutions this year! For the first time since beginning to write down official Resolutions ten years ago, I’m opting to skip any sort of professional or financial goals (excepting maxing out my Roth IRA) in favor of a daily resolution, two weekly resolutions, and twelve monthly resolutions that I’m calling The Year of Adventure.

The Year of Adventure

I must give credit to a former roommate for inspiring me to approach resolutions this way; she posted a series of 12 monthly resolutions, rather than a stack of year’s resolutions, and had all sorts of learning and fun along the way. I tried to copy this process for 2018, choosing one goal for each month and printing them out for my wall. However, I discovered halfway through the year that I was overwhelmed with other things, and, more crucially, I didn’t want to do the remaining things I’d chosen for the rest of the year.

So this year, I’m doing it a little differently. I’ve created a list of possibilities for this year, and each month I will choose the one I most want to do! This month is Yoga Month, so I will be doing some form of yoga every day. My other options are:

  • Cross-stitch Month – cross-stitch at least five minutes per day
  • Dance Month – either have a five-minute dance party with myself or go to an official dance class
  • French Reading Month – read five to ten minutes of French literature or poetry each day
  • Guitar Month – practice guitar every day
  • Hacker Month – find and take an online hacker course; I’ve been listening to too much of this podcast
  • Jazz Standards Month – study and sing through (and hopefully memorize) a new-to-me jazz standard each day
  • Musical Theatre Soundtrack Month – listen to or watch one new-to-me musical per day
  • Museum Month – see how many museums I can visit in the city
  • Painting Month – do at least a postage-sized painting each day
  • Poetry Month – read a poet every day, likely in March, which is National Poetry Month
  • Spiritual Study Month – read at least two pages of the Bible or similar books per day
  • Symphony Month – listen to as many of the great composers’ symphonies as possible
  • Volunteer/No-Complaining Month – no complaining for a full month, and see how much volunteering I can do (my instinct is that this will be November, for Thanksgiving reasons)

Note that I deliberately gave myself more options than months, so that even in December next year, I’ll have options. I hate being locked into things, haha. And if I come up with other ideas along the way, I’ll just put them on my list! Flexibility is key for me these days.

My actual New Year’s Resolution print-out. Can’t seem to get enough of this spring green.

In addition to these monthly adventures, I have set thee additional challenges for myself:

  1. To post one photo on Instagram per day – This was actually one of my (successful) monthly resolutions for 2018, and I enjoyed it so much that I want to challenge myself to do it every day this year. I enjoy challenging myself to see things around me through a lens and to try angles and composition and other things that I never think about. I have no desire to be a photographer or anything like that; it’s just another way to exercise my creative muscles!
  2. To honestly take one artist date per week – I’ve blogged before about my love of Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, and I’ve been doing morning pages steadily for three and a half years. But I continue to struggle with the Artist Date, even after all this time. It’s usually the first thing that I abandon when I feel stressed or busy (often). And I struggle to think of fun things to do with myself. So this year I want to be more conscientious. I’m going to sit down and make a list of all the fun things I could do, so that I have options, rather than the weekly stress of trying to come up with ideas.
  3. To take a real, luxurious bath each week – This is something I began doing a month or so ago, but as with the artist date, it’s amazing how quickly I sabotage the very things I most need. I began trying to “accomplish” something with my baths, usually working through my Netflix queue. So my New Year’s Eve bath last night opened my eyes to what I should be doing. Sitting in the bath with my “woo-woo” music, candlelight, face mask, and aromatherapeutic Epsom salts was transportive, relaxing, and rejuvenating. So this is my promise to myself this year: that each time I take my weekly bath, it is free of all distractions so that I can be alone with my thoughts and my feelings. Good grief that sounds silly, but I’ve learned that for me, this is what real selfcare looks like: solitude, silence, and simplicity.

I’m looking forward to spending the rest of the afternoon doing vision planning and other fun writing exercises. What are you doing to bring in the New Year? I would love to hear what your resolutions and plans are! It’s always so inspiring to hear what other people do. Much love and Happy New Year!

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