“Resolve, and thou art free.”
― Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
When I moved to Los Angeles in my early twenties, I quickly realized I had the entire world at my proverbial fingertips and set out in a determined fashion to conquer most, if not all, of it. Maybe it was a byproduct of my 20-something, 20-anything phase, or maybe it’s simply an ode to the fact that I love making lists – but as I was rounding out the last decade of my life, I found myself insatiably devoted to the litany of bucket lists that I’d created.
As I approached 30 and 31, my lists extensively cataloged places to go, things to do and personal mountains to climb. Each was carefully curated with the best of intentions in mind, playing on my zest for life while rediscovering a purpose in my passions. As the beginning of the year came and went, I realized that though my lists were representative of the person that I was driven to become – between the constant stroking of the go and daily reminders of what hadn’t been accomplished, they were also slightly exhausting. As John Lennon so famously said, ‘Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans‘
Instead of limiting myself to resolutions I tried to start at the inception of the calendar year, I’ve decided to maintain a fluid list of small ideas where each day holds a unique opportunity for growth and a resolve for evolving past who we were, to become who we want to be. Regardless of when you set your resolution, it’s important to understand that it’s really the intent that matters. Sure, a ’31 Before 31′ Bucket List was great – but I found myself so wrapped up in checking the boxes and heading into the next goal, that I couldn’t stop and simply appreciate my small moments of accomplishment; and that’s when I realized that my focus was in the wrong place. Contrary to my previously held popular belief, It’s not important how many goals you accomplish, or how ‘much’ you grow – but that you have the will and wherewithal to grow in general. We must be willing to step out of the mundane routine of the every day, and into the novelty of creating magical memories where even the most minute metamorphoses can equate to a massive internal shift.
Over the past few years I’ve inched towards several goals, some haphazardly while others have been more wholeheartedly. Tthis year, instead of a compiling a concise list or a ridiculous repository, I’ve decided to keep it rather short and sweet – well, all things considered. No joke, going back and looking through these lists is a bit emotionally exhausting – not the kind of feeling you want to have when you’re gearing up to accomplish greatness! Instead of a grandiose number of accomplishments, I’ve whittled it down to a few that I’m set on taking up.
First and foremost, I vow to give less fucks. Less fucks? Yes, a whole lot less. I suffer from this incurable disease called ‘caring too much about everything’ and not only is it time consuming, but it’s simply exhausting. Giving less fucks has freed up more time to care about what’s truly important – me, my cats, my husband and this beautiful life that we lead – and less about isn’t – like a past that can’t be changed, unwelcome opinions and toxic friendships that in the grand scheme of things don’t matter. Coinciding with giving less fucks,
Next, I really want to get back into reading. When I read, my writing improves tenfold and my imagination runs rampant – it’s like a vacation in my hands, how could you not love it?? I implicitly understand that reading more than 10 books a year is a lofty goal; one that can basically be accomplished only if you choose to live inside a literary world and essentially ignore the real one that we’re living in. Instead of a list of 20 books, I really just want to get through five good ones. Just five. I think that’s pretty solid.
Now that I have a plan to engage my mind, I also want one that engages my body and spirit. Creating a militant workout routine just isn’t my style, because give me rules and watch me avoid them – but I’ve rediscovered a love exploring the great beyond, and have found that being outdoors reinvigorates me from head to toe. Instead of inundating myself with gym time or diet plans, I’m choosing to eat healthier – with less processed foods and more time at the Farmer’s Market.
When it comes to the my professional life, I’ve realized that I need one job that pays the bills and another that makes me happy; and if they can be the same – even better. By in large, they aren’t though and you have to be willing to subsidize your happiness somehow – take a course at a local community college, join Toastmasters, volunteer at an animal shelter, join a neighborhood council, take up an instrument, join a choir, write for a local paper, read to schoolchildren, start up a kickball team…the opportunities are endless once you open your mind beyond your 9-5. And working from home, I’ve also realized that when I’m done with work for the day I need to be done – put the laptop away, get off social media, and get into myself.
Lastly, when I think of my friends – I want to let them know personally. Not post on their Facebook wall or send them a Snapchat, because really – those aren’t for them, it’s for you – I want to reach out and tangibly touch them with my words, hear the nuances in their voice as they tell me about their day. I want to be present in the moment with them, and by in large that means getting offline and into a real conversation.
Whether you’re carving out a solid block of a few hours every weekend, or devoting 30 minutes a night, it’s important to set aside some personal time for yourself to dive into your dreams and rediscover who you are at your core.
What are your personal goals for this year? Where’s your resolve for growth?