It’s a new dawn / It’s a new day / It’s a new life / For me / And I’m feeling good
–Newley and Bricusse (I didn’t know that, either), popularized by Nina Simone
What happens when your New Year’s resolution ruminations backfire? In the process of assessing progress on your major life initiatives, what happens when you end up dwelling on what you haven’t done? The places where the needle hasn’t budged? And even worse, the places where you don’t even feel like you have control of whether the needle budges in the first place?
When I say “your,” of course, I mean “my.” Today and yesterday, as I first considered my options for 2018, I kept my resolutions focused, simple, and understated.
Then I started thinking. That was the beginning of the end.
As I’ve related to numerous friends over the past couple of weeks while nursing a foot injury, I am a hopeless hypochondriac. That mindset spills over into non-medical concerns on a regular basis. Less is wrong with my life than I fear, but any frustrations I feel devolve into a morass of total perceived dysfunction.
But, as Ms. Harmon would say (inside reference for my high school friends), I need some more concrete imagery. Like, Micah, what is the damn problem? How exactly do you feel unfulfilled or unsuccessful?
OK, fine. I want to be more organized. It’s a big psychological deal for me. But my life has gotten so complex over the past few years. I have a partner, an extended family, a large, functioning residence with loads of critters, a professional license, a demanding job, and I still want time to write, read, learn, reflect, and enjoy the things I have accomplished.
And I still want to veg out and watch Food Network, House Hunters, and Golden Girls reruns. And keep up with current pop culture.
I could keep going. But you get the idea. Time is scarce to even begin to organize, much less become organized and stay organized.
And organization is just one of my concerns. There are others. And I’m at that annoying point in my relationship where everything I decide impacts my partner and vice versa. I want to believe I can fix everything alone, because that’s the way I have gotten ahead in the past.
But I need him. And I may need others. Maybe even the critters can help.
Resolutions are almost unquestioningly instituted as solitary endeavors of self-improvement. But every other day of the year, we ask for assistance with our needs. Even if it’s something as simple as “please pass the potatoes,” we organically and socially rely on the courtesies of others to grease the wheels that make our lives run.
That’s possibly the awareness I need to stop my head pounding against the wall. As much as I recoil at the thought of needing assistance to fix “my stuff,” I may need to re-evaluate the ownership of both the stuff and the effort to fix it.
Happy New Year, and how about we keep an eye toward helping each other toward our collective goals? We could call it Twenty Aid-Teen.
Or not, if you think that’s too cutesy.