That time of year (again)

It’s that time of year again when A LOT of us ask ourselves the big question(s), and I’m certainly not immune to that need.

What are my goals for next year?

Having scraped through yet another shitty year, is it too much to ask that next year starts and ends with some joy?

When I look back on 2018, I see a sea of failed relationships, poor business decisions, ideas that didn’t bear fruit, lots of gritted teeth, a tonne of cash spent on “self improvement” and (what feels like) not a lot of “improvement”, and money spent on projects I didn’t give enough thought to before I spent said money.

I had a lot of arguments in 2018, and a lot of terrible conversations because, quite frankly, I spent too much time with people who don’t know how to have good ones, and that meant I had to strain myself to ask, ask, ask. I felt like an information vampire. I know I have a need to keep the conversation going, but it was either that or spend hours watching people swipe through Facebook and Instagram. I mean, fuck.

In 2019 I plan to surround myself with women who want to learn through conversation, through experience, who don’t recoil at a little discomfort because they know that happiness is not the goal and discomfort is where you find the real gold.

I have joined a couple of book groups, to see which one suits me. I plan not to create groups because that’s an extra stressor I simply don’t need. Joining – that’s another matter.

So why make goals at all? Especially when we break them within weeks of the new year anyway.

The idea of goals means that I want to be stretched, that I want to go out of my comfort zone and force myself to do things instead of just doing the same things hoping for a different outcome (joy) and then getting angry with myself when that doesn’t happen.

Every year, not necessarily at the beginning, I hunt out a “project” to do for the year. Things like:

  • Photo a day (take one)
  • Short story/poem a week (write one)
  • Recipe a week (make one)
  • Album a month (discover one)
  • Use my planner/diary
  • Embroider regularly
  • Tend the garden
  • etc

But I either lose interest or, literally, forget. I get caught up in bullshit that doesn’t help me grow, like working, checking social media, rewatching sitcoms, asking Google for ways I can be happy. My coach tells me it’s because it’s easier to take the path of sameness, even if it upsets me, because it’s familiar. I know what it feels like to try for a minute, fail, then punish myself for failing again.

So why don’t I just give up and stop trying at all? Why do I need to do anything?

I want to be seen.

As a kid I wasn’t seen. That’s how I felt, and that’s how I feel looking back at it now. I was incredibly lonely, even into adulthood, even now. It’s so easy to be lonely, even surrounded by so many people.

I want to be seen.

I want to leave something behind. I have no siblings, no (close) extended family (that I spend time with), no children, nobody that will remember me even for one generation. I want to create the legacy or memory of me out of things I can do that are tangible, things I can hold up and say “look, I made this”.

I DO, or WANT to DO, as a way of creating because I have not made the ultimate of creations – life. How will I be remembered if I only create things for the sake of it, without a lofty intention? If everything I create is hidden away, if it’s just for me, what if it’s simply erased when I die, like a hard drive.

I need to feel that I’ll be remembered.

So what is my lofty intention?

They say to pick one goal. I’ve done that before.

What if I pick all of them? What if all of the things I have started and stopped over the years are the goals I should force myself to do in 2019? What if I did that? What if I created all of the things I said I would over the years? Like:

  • Photo a day (take one)
  • Short story/poem a week (write one)
  • Recipe a week (make one)
  • Album a month (discover one)
  • Use my planner/diary
  • Embroider regularly
  • Tend the garden

When I look at this list, and even think about the time it will take to do them, they seem so easy, not too time consuming. In fact, altogether they won’t take more than 5 hours a week. So why have I found ways not to do them? Why have I made excuses? Why have I forgotten them? Why didn’t I plan them and then follow through?

I spent a few years drinking, then the last few years using work as an excuse for not creating, not living, not socialising, not discovering. Too drunk. Too busy. I used them as an excuse for forgetting, for not planning. I remember those times when I was actually living and it felt like I was being pulled away from working, from doing what came easy. I wanted to be home, behind my computer, working instead of walking my dogs, instead of going to a movie. What the fuck?

What if 2019 is the year to stretch my creative muscle, to force myself even if it feels hard, awkward, boring, annoying, cheesy, forced, even if I want to be home working? I’ve never really forced myself to keep going. I just stop, or forget, then kick myself at the end of the year and chalk it off to “the way I am”, because that’s a label I feel most comfortable with.

If I don’t do this – if I don’t force myself – I fear I’m going to end next year in the same place, kicking myself for not trying, not persisting, feeling like a loser.

I’m scared just thinking of this plan, because my history tells me I’ll fail. I always have, after all. But I know now that I’ve failed only because it’s easier to fail, to not do, to agree with the label, then to kick myself for it. It’s easier to feel like shit about myself than it is to force myself to do things, to try things. It’s easier to fail (familiar) than it is to succeed (unfamiliar).

It’s easier to watch other people being creative and hate myself for not being like them even though I haven’t even given it a go.

So today, while Jeff is out playing bored (sic.) games with his friends, I’m in bed, surrounded by 3 dogs and 2 cats and thinking.

What could I be if I actually tried? Like, ignored all the excuses and actually gave things a red hot try?

Related Post