the obligatory new years resolution post

by Shannon

First resolution: do more of this.

I have been putting off doing this post all week. Why? I don’t know. Laziness, mostly. I’m at a new assignment at work; one that is dreadfully boring and too far away. I pray for it to end, except that an end means a week or so without a paycheck, and that is something I can’t afford, especially now. I’m in the post-holiday recovery phase, where I remember suddenly and in an onset of panic that I have bills to pay and no money to pay them with. Basically, I’m flat broke. Yay, Christmas!

This year has been an altogether peculiar one for me. I capped the year off by giving my brother his first real pit experience. We drove up to croc rock in Allentown, PA to see Taking Back Sunday, and god was it something I needed. There’s little that is more cathartic than a good pit and drowning in sound and energy. Hopefully he got as much out of it as I did; I opted this year for the experiential gift for him rather than a material one. I wish that the way you ended a year necessarily reflected the way you spent it. But I also I spent a year living at home, more or less unemployed (does temping count as employment? I’d like to think no), getting worse at writing and better at being okay with it, and generally socializing with my computer screen and my parents and otherwise being a total recluse. All in all, I accomplished a lot of nothing.

I talked with Melissa Dominic about the general state of my life, and we laid it out as such. This year, I need:

  • financial stability
  • to assert my independence
  • friends

Oh, was that all? Have any of you ever made a formal list of Changes You Need To Make and had it turn out to be a list of essential facets of life? Have I failed entirely? I’d like to think not. Unfortunately, nearly all of these are dependent upon one another. I can’t be independent unless I have the money to do so, and I can’t go out and meet people if I don’t have the money to go out, and I can’t move out unless I have money, and if I don’t move out, will I ever make friends? It goes on and on.

Anyway, the silly truth is that I know these things matter, and I do need them desperately, but not having them for an extended period of time has put me into a cottony state of lethargy and cynical apathy so that I am having a lot of trouble wanting it. The things I want are more immediate, and more distant. I want to write. More than ever before, I want to write and be good enough to justify that want. I want to show people finished products and be proud of it. But my two novels in progress are nowhere even remotely near finished, and I know I have a long way to go before I’m really good enough to submit or share in any significant capacity. And that’s okay, at least for now. I know I’ll have to do about a hundred drafts anyway, so it’s not like I think my current projects are worthless. As John Green said in one of his videos, “novels are written in the revision.” I just have to get to the end so that I can actually begin editing.

Also, more of this. SO MUCH MORE OF THIS.

The more I think about it, the more this year is going to be about actually doing the things I love, not getting things I need. I say I love to hike, and I DO, but I never get to do it, because nobody ever wants to go with me. So is the solution to go hiking alone? Or to somehow find friends who also want to do so? Where does one find hiking friends? Are we back to my short list of Things I Need, which I had very nearly resolved to forget about? Damn it.

Anyway, the aforementioned is wrapped up in my desire to be a generally healthier, more fit person who Does Things Outside. I have sort of been working on this by signing up for the mud run and going to the gym regularly, hoping that by spring I’ll be good enough to run outside without falling over and dying. My sister wants me to do the Philadelphia Distance Run with her. I hope I can do it, but it’s a half marathon and at this point just finishing a 5k would be an accomplishment.

I look back over this post, and it reads like a summary of my failures. But I can’t quite see it like that. I don’t have a real job, or friends within 50 miles who actually want to go to the effort of seeing me, or my own place, or a degree, but I don’t feel like I have just cashed it in this year, like I should feel. I am in marginally better shape. I saw a lot of great music. I finished nanowrimo. I write every day, even if it’s crap! I know it’s crap, and instead of feeling shame for it, I have fun doing it. I have successfully embraced being a bad writer in the hopes that it will lead to eventually being a good one. I may not have accomplished anything in any measurable way, but I did things that matter to me. And I guess, in the end–which this is–that’s all that matters.