“The truth is a vast thing. I see that now – just how much truth there is. Where would we even begin?”
Root – Person of Interest
My word for 2016 is “true,” and it is indeed a vast, vast thing. I made a list of 20 goals as part of Beth Morey’s Your Fearless Year 2016 mini-course, and every one of them falls under some aspect of uncovering, discovering, or staying true.
And ever since I said yes to this word, I’ve had this song running through my head:
But that will go away soon. I hope.
Honestly, the word is a little overwhelming. What in the world have I gotten myself into?!
This year, I resolve to be true…
…to my calling. I will endeavor to act out of conviction and purpose rather than out of what someone requests or thinks that I should do. For example, there is a fine line between being a true support/accomplice to those who are oppressed, and performing for ally cookies like a pampered dog. There were a couple of times early last year when I crossed that line. It was gross. I still feel dirty and appalled at my behavior. I am offended to discover that this self-involved motivation is part of my personality, and I want to avoid such mistakes this year.
You may be disappointed if you don’t see me saying or doing everything you think I ought to say or do. If you know me in person and thus have the benefit of seeing me in multiple venues, talk to me about it.
If you only know me online, I ask you to keep that in mind. What I say, share, and like here and on social media is true to who I am, but it only represents a small percentage of my time. It is not my whole person. It may be easy to assume that if you don’t see it, it’s not happening, but that assumption is usually inaccurate.
Of course, you are also welcome to ask/confront me about it, and I am happy to hear you out. But hearing you out does not automatically mean compliance. I hope that I will not merely pander to your wishes just to placate you and get a pat on the head. Because ick. Please expect better things of me.
…to attainable expectations. I have noticed a pattern in which I will start out with completely rational goals. Then something triggers some type of excitement explosion, and suddenly my vision becomes completely irrational.
Part of me really likes this about myself. May I never become so dull and stodgy that even my wildest dreams fall completely within the realm of reason.
Another part of me needs me to calm the hell down and stop being so hard on myself.
A couple of months ago, I took my first Pure Barre class. I went into it eager but relaxed (well, as relaxed as I ever get about new social situations). I was just going to give it a try and see how far into the hour I got. I met some people, and Jessa, who had invited me, showed me around a little.
Then I walked into the class. I saw the barre and the mirrors and watched people stretching to limber up, and two of the gnomes who live in my head – Ms. Perfectionist and Ms. Competitive – perked up. Somehow, they must have convinced me that I was still 19 and a size six and dancing ten hours a week, because that’s the level of intensity at which I started the class.
Of course, about 10-15 minutes into the class, my body revolted and reminded me, “Nope – you’re forty. Here – have some dizziness and nausea!” I actually had to leave class for a while. I came back and finished, but I didn’t get out of it what I could have if I’d paced myself.
I want to have fewer of those experiences this year. I want to be better at setting goals that I can actually achieve. It’s not as if I’m giving anything up. After all, there’s no rule that says I can’t work back up to dancing ten hours a week if I decide that’s what I want. I just need a better assessment of how much work it will take.
…to my strengths. * sigh * This job of mine. Sure, the pay could be a lot better, and the job description could be better defined, but other than that, there’s nothing inherently wrong with it. It’s just not in my wheelhouse. I’m competent, but it’s not what I’m best at. It neither excites nor challenges me. I am nagged by this persistent sense that my talents and strengths would be better utilized elsewhere.
I want to find my elsewhere. Maybe it’s a different position in the same department. Maybe it’s in another department on campus. Maybe it’s not in higher education at all. But I want to find it. It’s hard to be truly myself when I spend 40 hours a week doing something that’s not.
…to my life in general. In Poemcrazy, Susan Goldsmith Wooldridge talks about looking for a place to live – “I look for places made of poetry for me, places alive with history, wildlife and mystery. Then I move in if I can.” Well, she can keep her wildlife, but otherwise, that quote is a punch in the gut. As many things as I like about my apartment and neighborhood (the multiculturalism, the…nope, that’s it), it’s never really felt like home, at least not in the way that other places have. I want to live somewhere I feel at home again. Of course, I have some ideas about how it will look – a place for a small garden, an area to sit outside with a glass of wine or cup of coffee, an extra room for books – but mostly I just want to walk in the door and sigh with relief instead of resignation.
That room of books needs to have room for some pretty serious writing to get done, too. My writing goals this year center around publication. Something’s getting published this year, even if I have to publish it myself.
…to delight. I will always be a student. I don’t ever want to stop learning new things and actively seeking out things that move me. I want to read 100 books. I might take a cooking class or tap lessons. I might even try PureBarre again, only with the appropriate respect for the work and my current body. I want to embrace music and dance and poetry – as practice, as art, as essentials.
A true life is one that is lived, not just endured.
Now it’s your turn. What are your goals for the year?