Sunday, January 3, 2010

New Year's Resolutions I'll Keep

(A version of this was posted yesterday on the AuthorsNow website, but I wanted to post this here since I think resolutions are important and also because I wanted to put up another picture of my dog in her New Year's hat. )

This year, I’m trying something different. Instead of setting goals that will be forgotten by March, I’m making ones I’m certain I’ll keep.

Here’s my list of can’t fail resolutions:

I will eat more chocolate.

And potato chips. And cinnamon candies. And tons of other foods I use for celebrations. I hope there are a lot of them. On days when nothing special happens, I will make up my own reasons for merriment. Meeting a writing goal. Getting a decent haircut. Not hitting that terminally long red light on my way to work. I will celebrate ordinary events, and I will eat accordingly (for those of you think I’ve gone off the nutritional deep end, I’m looking into a juicer. There has to be a special event that calls for a kale/spinach/parsley cocktail.)

I will get lost.

I live in New Jersey, a land of meandering roads with street signs that will point you toward your destination…eventually. I have ventured off the Garden State Parkway and found myself unable to get back. My GPS is equally perplexed by the NJ road system. When it fails, I am left to wander. With writing too, my plot will turn in unexpected ways. My characters will do something new, and I will lose my sense of direction.

Sometimes I intentionally take the wrong turn. If I’m lucky I’ll find a beach or a place to get a bucket of blueberries. I enjoy getting lost. It’s what happens when you leave the familiar behind and venture into something new. And new places mean new possibilities.

I will take on too much.

In 2010, I’m going to finish my work-in-progress, work full-time as a librarian, go on class/library visits for my debut book, spend time with family and friends, possibly buy a house and probably deal with an occasional crisis or two. Like everyone else, I’m juggling a lot. Oh sure. I’ll drop a few balls this year. Something will come crashing down. It’s one of the consequences of having a busy (and full) life. But except for that occasional crisis, there’s not a thing here I’d give up.

I will feel guilty.

There will be times when those unanswered emails, unfinished projects, and all the things I should have/could have/would have done better if only I had more time will keep me awake at night. But I know my guilt comes from doing too much (my choice) or perhaps from eating too much chocolate (my choice again) so I will try to let myself off the hook.

I will find some quiet time.

Somewhere in the chaos, I’ll find a moment to take a few deep breaths, glance up at the moon or stare out at the bay (and also go late night channel surfing and play way too many games of Spider Solitaire).

I will read a book that takes my breath away.

It’s happened every year since I started reading so it’s pretty much guaranteed. I never know which book it will be or why. A single sentence. An idea. The book as a whole. Perhaps it will make me see the world in a whole new way or maybe something familiar will be so well articulated that it will make me wonder why I never noticed it before. Everything I know about writing and storytelling will be challenged. I will hold that book in my hands, and I will feel grateful.

Happy New Year!


Anna Staniszewski said...

I love the idea of making resolutions you'll actually keep. I can especially get behind eating more chocolate. :-) Happy New Year!

nanmarino said...

Happy New Year, Anna. Yes. The eating-more-chocolate resolution is one I'm looking forward too.

MG Higgins said...

The best resolution post I've read. I'd wish you good luck, but you won't need it!

BTW, that picture of your dog is adorable. He's so sweet.

nanmarino said...

Thanks. She's been a pretty good sport about getting her picture taken for the blog. Of course, she is bribed with dog treats.

Anonymous said...

New Jersey is gorgeous (I've been there and wouldn't mind getting lost).

Feeling guilty complements the eating of chocolate, but I always let the chocolate win.

Unknown said...

Man, I'm with ya on the lost thing! It's become a tradition with us on our trips.

Great list!

Andrea said...

Eat more chocolate? Sign me up. This is a great can't-fail list, Nan. Happy New Year!

nanmarino said...

Medeia and Andrea, everyone seems to like the chocolate one. Wish there was a way that we can share some virtually.
Kristopher and Crew, Most of the time I don't mind getting lost. Read your blog & saw the pics of the car. Glad you're doing okay.

cleemckenzie said...

Oh, yes! At last a list of resolutions I can get in line with. Leave it you to find the perfect way to handle a failed tradition and turn it into a success.

I'll bet every glass in your house is 3/4 full, Nan Marino. <B

Happy 2010!

cleemckenzie said...


Chi gets a January hug from CA. And it has nothing to do with the hat.

nanmarino said...

Happy 2010 to you, C. Lee! I almost added "I will exploit my dog by taking silly pictures of her for my blog & website" as my last resolution. Now, when Chi sees the camera, she heads to the closet where the dog treats are kept.

cynthia kremsner said...

I can relate to feeling guilty. More of that is in store for the new year and I'm going to feel good about fulfilling that. I'm taking pride in guilt, which usually goes hand in hand with eating chocolate. And eating Chocolate makes you feel so much better when you get lost. . . always keep a little in the glove compartment. Happy 2010!

nanmarino said...

Cynthia, chocolate in the glove compartment is brilliant! Happy New Year!