Monday, 4 January 2010

Happy New Year!

I would think that 'readers' of this blog at the moment would be mainly of the imaginary variety, but I'd like to wish you anyway a very Happy New Year for 2010!

I am a real sucker for new year. For as long as I can remember I have been a planner, a list-maker and an improver. I love blank sheets and I love the promise of a better, newer, shinier me. I shouldn't fall for the seduction of new year's resolutions I know, because they never work, but my brain can't help itself. It starts out small, thinking maybe it could just commit me to sticking to my budgets. Then it thinks, oh and why not add yoga twice a week, because that's not so hard and I do really want to do it. And then I read something about Buy Nothing New promises and start thinking I'll maybe only buy food and nothing else new this year. Then I just get carried away, and things start popping up and being added to an imaginary list and before you know it I am vowing to swim twice a week; always cook from scratch; do my hair differently every day; smile at at least one person on the daily commute; wear high heels more; write letters the first tuesday of every month; host dinner parties; learn how to make hollandaise; sauce do a photo course; knit seven items; grow some vegetables on the terrace; read Seneca, and keep the bathroom clean!

It seems such a lovely vision, this organised, healthy, fulfilled life, that I get reluctant to give up these notions and to accept that I make these plans every single day of my life, and I have never yet in my 28 years had the right balance of time and willpower to feel like I am fitting in everything I mean to.

So, I think I should try and set intentions instead. Unlike resolutions which are focused on an end-goal and which you can either fail or pass at (most likely fail and become disspirited), intentions are ways of doing things, ways of being. And if you feel yourself slipping you refocus on it and get back on the path.

It's more difficult to set my intentions, because it's more inviting to think of the collectible and measurable achievements that my resolutions tend to be. But when I think about what is behind all of them, I can see some common threads:
- using my time wisely by doing things I know will make me feel happy and satisfied (e.g. going for a walk, knitting, phoning friends) rather than anxious and dissatisfied (watching TV, slobbing around)
- keeping myself and my environs in a manner which makes me feel pleased rather than a little depressed
- keeping up old and making new connections.

So, my intentions will be these:

- to pay attention to my need for creativity and fulfilling and energising activities
- to be open to others and open to connecting to others

For more on intentions see the following articles:

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