My sweetheart Mr B is an excellent bowler with a 200-plus average and a ton of awards, including a couple of lovely little plaques acclaiming scores of 298 and 299. (Every bowler reading this just looked heavenward and heaved a deep, sympathetic sigh.) Though that perfect 300 game continues to elude him, we both have complete confidence that he will hit it one day… hopefully soon.
My bowling game isn’t even in the same league as his (well, technically it is: we bowl on the same team) but even with my (abysmal) 101 average, I approach the line for every first frame with a clean slate and another chance to get it absolutely right. Moreover, just because I haven’t bowled a perfect game yet (and likely never will) doesn’t mean I shouldn’t keep trying.
That’s the way I look at every New Year too. Every time January 1st rolls around, I get a Fresh Start. Another chance to get it absolutely right. Unfortunately, my life is a lot like my bowling game – I have great hopes and the best of intentions, but the reality is that I simply lack some skills. Sometimes I throw things too far left, sometimes I hit the gutter, and sometimes, even when it feels like I did everything perfectly, the pins just seem to defy the laws of physics and stand there like they were glued to the floor. But no matter what, I always finish the game. That’s life too: you give it your best shot, take the consequences, and keep on rolling.
This year as I thought about my goals (I don’t make resolutions), I decided to put a different spin on things. Move over a few boards. Aim at a new mark. (Have I beat this metaphor into the ground enough yet?) With that in mind, here are three broad fields I plan to focus on in 2015.
- Creativity. I’ve always been one of those Very Creative People. I write, make music, paint, draw, sculpt,sew, and am proficient at a multitude of lesser-known post-Colonial artsy-crafts. But lately, I’ve gotten lazy, and I haven’t created anything of merit in some time. I need to change that, and one of the ways I want to make that change is by engaging in creativity with more immediacy.
For example, the other night I was having a conversation with Mr. B and had an idea for a piece I want to write. In recent times, I would have simply made a mental note and hoped to return to it when I had the time. This time, with my new focus on Active Creativity, when we were done talking, I immediately took the time to write some basic notes and thoughts right then and there, and then scheduled time on my work calendar to revisit it later this week. Actively doing, instead of “thinking” about doing – that’s the difference.
- Gratitude. I consider myself a grateful person. I recognize and regularly give thanks for both the blessings of heaven and the actions of others. However, I am not as good about showing my thanks to others as I would like to be: specifically, I want to become better at the simple act of the written Thank You.
The Thank You note is an art form that is fast fading from our culture, and that is a sad thing. Because as the hand-written Thank You sent snail mail becomes more rare, it also becomes more treasured.
Think about it. How do you feel when you receive a card from someone expressing gratitude for something you’ve done? Me? I hold it as an exceptional gift, because that little note represents thought and time and intention. Someone thought enough of me to take the time to choose a card and intentionally sit down to put pen to paper to say Thank You. To me. That means something. That says, what you did is important, and I am grateful. I want to become better at making the people who touch my life know that their actions are important to me, and that I am grateful.
- Health. I am done dieting. So Done. I have reached the time in my life when I need to focus not on the scale, but on my health. So I’m trying a new approach this year: when making choices about food or activity, I am going to try to choose in favor of my health, and the health of my family.
I need to consider: Is this bringing me closer to health, or leading me away from it? I’m really excited about the possibilities here, because if I can make it a habit to ask myself this one question and consistently choose those things that bring me closer to health, I believe it will create a paradigm shift in my brain that may ultimately change how I intuitively live my life. Or I might just take more walks. Time will tell.
So, in a nutshell, these are my goals for 2015: to create more actively, to express gratitude more intentionally, and to live more mindfully of my health. I hope to reflect these areas of focus here on the blog as well, so I invite you to step up to the line with me. Chances are it won’t be a perfect game, but it will be a fun one.