As a teenager I was notorious for my overly ambitious New Year’s resolutions. By the end of 1991 I was sure I would be a beloved published author of teen mystery novels, living in an East London flat with my high school crush, Greg Weisenberg. Forget that I was only 15 years old. It was going to happen. Wasn’t it?
Oh, Younger Self Pia , how right you were to aim high and dream fantastically of futures nary to come. I mean honestly, how likely was it that anyone was going to read the teen angst version of Murder on the Orient Express and take it seriously? Hell, how likely was it that I could write even one chapter in a year, much less live abroad at age 15 with my almost tall Jewish boyfriend? But I do appreciate the audacity of the dream. I basically wanted to be on top without really committing to it, which I’ve come to find out is a bit of a Virgo thing. (I’ll explain more later). And it took me a long time to understand that it was nearly impossible to accomplish.
I’ve loved writing since childhood. I think my mother’s insistence on my siblings and I visiting the library every weekend and getting me my first library card at age 6 may have lit my passion for reading and writing. But I didn’t really share my writing with anyone. Sure, I would write silly poems for my parents birthdays and Valentine’s day, but that was it. The other stuff was squirreled away in my diary. I didn’t think my stories were good enough to share with anyone. And my Virgo perfectionism certainly didn’t help.
As a teenager and well into my twenties, I was often in limbo about what I should be doing with my life. I would flutter from hobby to interest with enthusiastic fervor, claiming it as my life’s work. But much like my 15 year old self, I wanted to be at the top without having to commit to it fully, in case I changed my mind and thought I’d excel at goat herding instead. But now I have figured out that it wasn’t so much that I had so many varied interests, it’s that if I thought I couldn’t do it perfectly, then I didn’t want to take a chance to really pursue it. Hence I’d try my hand at painting, but give up because I couldn’t create a museum-worthy piece after a month of practicing. I know it sounds silly, but in my defense it is a part of my Virgo personality trait, so I can’t entirely help myself.
But I’ve actually been writing the last several years, and my commitment hasn’t wavered. Yes, I’ve gone through periods of taking breaks from it, but I always come back because it feels so good. And yes, I still have dreams of publishing books that people other than my mother might actually want to read, and for the first time in my life, I feel like it’s actually possible.
The last few years I’ve been averse to resolutions because they mostly had to do with losing weight and getting in shape. But for 2014 I’m not worried about the fact that I can inhale a packet of Rolos in under 7 minutes. This year I commit to writing a body of work, or at least get started writing it.
I was talking to my husband about it whilst sipping robust Mai Tai’s on the balcony of our small, but well appointed Catalina Island hotel last weekend. It was the first time I’d fully shared my book-writing dream with him and he was unfailingly enthusiastic about it. He suggested I calendar time on the weekends (3-4 hours) that are unchangeable appointments with myself. It’s a good idea, but I’m so scared that based on my past lack of commitment, I’ll fall on my ass and disappoint myself and my husband. And even though The Universe has given me more signs than an irate New York City cab driver, I sometimes doubt both my skills and level of commitment to the undertaking.
Then I remember how much I’ve grown from that 15 year old kid in 1991, into a woman of 38, who knows what it takes to accomplish goals. And I recall that 2013 has been pregnant with writing opportunities, and that I’ve actually done a lot this year, whether I resolved to or not. I recommitted to my blog and built a bit of a following. I write for a fantastic magazine called VolUp2; I scored a job with a wonderful organization where I get to practice my craft everyday as a grant writer and communications associate; and I was asked to lead a workshop at the Body Love Conference in Tuscon in April of next year. Not bad for one year!
Life is really good! There is no reason why 2014 should be anything short of marvelous. But i think it’s useful to set some intentions. And since I still don’t love the word “resolution,” these are my…
- Work on my own writing at least 3 hours a week;
- Blog more (as in at least 4 times per month. OK, 3 times a month);
- Buy less;
- Be a better friend and neighbor;
- Send hand-written letters to friends far away — it’s so much nicer than email;
- Do more with less (see #3);
- Have a huge yard sale where I let go of the shit that’s weighing me down;
- Go on a belated honeymoon with my darling husband;
- See my family back east more;
- Accept that life is these unpredictable phases and cycles that I cannot control, and therefore; should ride them out with as much humor and grace as is possible for a Virgo;
- Claim myself as a writer!
I encourage you to give more time and effort to the things that move you and make you feel good in 2014. Don’t judge yourself, just do it. Baby steps are fine.
What are you non-resolutions for 2014? This Virgo is ever so curious!
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Ciao for niao,