Monday, January 2, 2012

New Year's Resolutions

I love it that we live in a culture that celebrates the fresh start, a new beginning. I love it that we resolve to be better somehow in the next 12 months than we were before.

I have shared this ritual of annual optimism since childhood, when my mom invited us all to write resolutions for the new year in our notebooks. A whole family, making wishes. Bockie and Grandpa. Grandma Schaus. My little sister. Mom and Dad. The dog and cats. My uncle Tom and aunt Diane, in from Washington State. I don't remember the promises we made ourselves. But I do remember the camaraderie. Giggles induced by late nights, sweets and brandied eggnog. A perfectly fitting end to my tenth year, and to the indulgence of the holiday season.

Now, as I turn 35, I sit at my own kitchen table, the last of the holiday ham simmering into split pea soup on the stove. Sipping cider (a Murphy-Tandem blend of Crabster and Smackintosh, heavier on the crabby tartness) from a glass I bought in Dublin 15 years ago. Outside, the fresh snow is blanketed by the dark, and only occasional lights sweep by from the street.

Like many of the past several years, my hopes for the next are simple. Perhaps hard to attain, but ultimately, quite simple: Health, love, friendship, family, spirit, courage, thought, art. Integrity. Beauty. Compassion.

Four promises

I promise to live slower. Organize around the things that matter. Plant a garden, cook at home. Cultivate friends.

I promise to live healthier. Long walks and meditations. Simple food. Whole food. Laughter and companionship.

I promise to live with purpose. Making time for people. Connecting good work to good ends. Gaining and maintaining perspective. Letting go, and making peace. Living with low impact. Less consumption, more production.

I promise to live with love. To say the unsaid. To share in lives. To consider. To become explicitly thoughtful. To inquire, and listen. To celebrate.

Luke and Murphy get a new year's treat from Kevin.

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