Body-Mind-Spirit - Inspiration for Writers, Dreamers, and Seekers of Health & Happiness
On New Year’s Day, 2023, I revisited my journal entry from January 1, 2022.
I’d forgotten and was surprised to see I’d done an extensive year-end review and goal setting for the new year.
When I looked at my fourteen hefty goals, I thought I’ve done none of them!
My second thought was, Wait! That can’t be true! I must have done some of them!
I reread the list.
In the margin of what I now realize was a ridiculously ambitious list, I’d scribbled, “But why?”
When I reread “But why,” a quiet, inner voice affirmed, None of this matters.
The next day, I told my friend Jonelle about my 2022 New Year’s list.
“I only make lists of things I don’t want to do,” Jonelle said. “The things I want to do, I just do.”
I laughed with recognition.
Then Jonelle asked, “How did you feel when you created your list?”
“I don’t know,” I said. “I probably had a sense of urgency like I needed to accomplish these things to feel okay about myself.”
“How did you feel reviewing your list yesterday?” she asked.
“Like a failure,” I said.
“Where do you think your list came from?”
That’s when I recognized the handiwork of my inner taskmaster. The ‘should’ voice. The one who says, You’re not good enough.
Later that day, I reviewed my 2022 New Year’s resolutions again and discovered I didn’t need or want to do many things on my list. Or, I wanted those things, but not enough. Or I wanted other things more.
I also realized 2022 was filled with surprises and nuances impossible to anticipate or capture on a list. For example, I’d hoped to complete a rough draft of my new book of 100-word stories. At first, when rereading that, I thought, I’m nowhere near completing a first draft, but then I realized I’d written about fifty stories (and had several published), and I may have more than one book of stories in the works.
More importantly, a whole new world of writing—drabbles, micro memoir, flash fiction, and more—opened to me in 2022. I’ve been revisiting a treasure trove of old work, giving it a facelift, sending it out, and seeing stuff published! To say I’ve been entertained and inspired feels like an understatement. I’ve been obsessed. Enraptured.
I’ve discovered new writers and have communicated with a few. I’ve also found literary soul mates in new (to me) magazines and journals publishing remarkable work.
I got to work with a superb editor. I loved getting detailed feedback on my writing and having brainstorming sessions with a 100-word story expert.
My writing, reading, and teaching have brought indescribable joy.
I’ve also been learning how to use Scrivener, writing software that’s helping me organize what feels like an explosion of ideas.
I love being a student sponge and scribe.
In 2022, I did what I wanted. I followed my heart. I took small, steady steps. I acted on what mattered. I didn’t need a list to tell me what to do.
Often, when things are complex, lists are helpful. I keep lists of stories I want to write on my iPhone. I don’t go grocery shopping without a list. When working on projects with many moving parts or when faced with multiple tasks, lists are invaluable. I believe in them. I also trust outlines and the power of intention.
But this year, I won’t be making any lists of New Year’s resolutions. My sneaky sense of inadequacy, masquerading as a conscientious self-helper, won’t drag me into 2023. I won’t give it any chance to subtly suggest, This is what you need to do to be okay.
I’m fine the way I am. And so are you. It’s a sweet reminder, right?
Happy New Year!
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