A couple of days ago a friend and I discussed New Year’s resolutions. She opted for doing monthly challenges in lieu of one year long goal. For example, one month she will drink water only, another read at least one piece of non-required reading a day (she’s a college student), and another eat at least one fruit and one vegetable a day (with the amendment that French fries don’t count). I recalled another friend’s resolution to explore more cultural events in the city where we live, and she followed it up by attending the opening night gala of the Toulouse-Lautrec exhibit at one of our museums. All worthy goals for self-improvement and growth.
The resolution ball was lobbed into my court when she asked me if I had made any resolutions. Breezily I replied that NO I hadn’t. In fact, my winter break found me with a strong dose of the doldrums and a strong desire to be left alone and become one with my pajamas. Resolutions, frankly, seemed, as my students say, “doin’ too much.” Resolutions imply hope, betterment, and action; all three were not on my periphery. Everything at that moment took an inordinate amount of energy. My resolution at first was to do nothing.
But it occurred to me that I did resolve to do something. I had made two resolutions, easy ones I thought.
1. Re-read all of Jane Austen’s novels.
2. Write one blog post a month.
Reading Austen’s work is easy. I love reading. I love Austen. And since Pride and Prejudice is my favorite novel to teach, I felt that I needed a stronger command of Austen’s oeuvre. This resolution began with re-reading my least favorite if her works, Mansfield Park. The horror! The horror! It felt like reading a precursor to Dickens novels, but kudos to Fanny Price for not compromising her beliefs. But more on this later (as in later later).
Writing one blog post a month should have been easy, but here we are on the homestretch of March, and I am finally writing my first one of the year (and I’m not sure that I am actually saying anything in it). It helps if I have something to say, and starting this year as a wannabe recluse did not bode well for writing and putting my thoughts out there. The universe, however, is in cahoots with the blogging world as one of my readers, out of nowhere, commented on an old post of mine encouraging me to write more. Then another fellow blogger, who had also been MIA, resurfaced and started blogging again. She wrote about how some of her blogging friends have not been writing, how they should, and that “you know who you are.” Guiltily, I realized that I was one of them. So if writing is expressive and creative and a way to get one out of one’s head, and if resolutions are for hope, betterment, and action, it is quite possibly one of the healthiest choices that I can make this year.
Here it is: one down, eleven more to go.
Readers, what resolutions did you make for 2015? Are you keeping them or are they a faded memory?