I'm not a big fan of New Year's resolutions for two basic reasons. First, if something is worth doing, you shouldn't wait until January 1; attaching your motivation to a date on the calendar sets yourself up to continuously lose that motivation every single day thereafter. If there's a way you want to improve your life, do it now, today, this very instant. (By the way, you can thank me later for sparing you the cash you would have spent on employee/management books and self-help books to learn this great insight of initiative and discipline.)
Second, I really have a problem with herd mentality and doing things because it's that time of year or because other people do them. But that's a deeper psychological issue with me that relates to broader problems with authoritarian control that gets a little more personal than a post on my New Year's resolution. (Nonetheless, this does get a little personal, so FBI, if you are reading this in 20 years trying to figure out how to get inside my head to neutralize me as a problem, this would be a good post to flag as some insight into my brain. Here, let me help you, and I'll make sure the NSA and Secret Service tag this post, too, by reiterating a very important point about President Bush, namely that the President should bomb nowhere because people die. Did you hear that, Mr. President, killed by you! That should do it; the government's bots are a little better than Google's.)
However, until somebody invents a better system, sometimes New Year's really does bring about a sense of change, a new theme for a new year...ok, enough of that.
Last year for me was very much a year of transition. Not just the obvious no school and switched jobs, which are inherently transitory, but core aspects of my life that have never changed before.
This year's word I feel very strongly to be one of reconciliation. You might call it the Grand Unified Theory of Me; at least, that's what I'll call it for the time being. Partly, it relates to generational factors; I think people around my age who grew up with messy divorces and custody battles in their personal lives accompanied by the social backdrop of rampant graft and corruption are just sick of the whole thing. We want something different and something more. The desire for material comfort is strong yet subservient to deeper longing for community and purpose. To put it differently, happiness is supplanting the allure of the dollar rather than accompanying it. This isn't a political statement (at least, not in the Republican/Democrat sense), but I think it is telling that mine was the only age group to vote for change in the last presidential election.
And partly, it's where I'm at at this time in this place. A yearning, a longing, a drive, a desire, a desperation; they're all true and yet they don't capture it fully. How does one maintain unbridled passion while living a contented life? How does one follow Jesus in the world while succumbing neither to the pitfalls of the world nor of those who would twist and manipulate one of the strongest, most vocally progressive thinkers, teachers, and doers in the history of mankind?
What about nocturnal biology and morning work requirements? Nurturing old friendships while striking out for the new? Distinguishing oneself as a separate family yet never losing that which makes you family. Getting to root for the best football team on the planet yet not getting to see them win playoff games. Rooting for the Royals and not going crazy.
Ambition and satisfaction. Vengeance and mercy. Love and anger. Visions for a better world and the slow pace at which progress, in practice, is realized. Needing to look out for yourself but feeling deeply called to the betterment of others. Trust and vulnerability with protection and safety.
There is so much emotional energy that I have been able to channel in a lot of different directions, but I know at some point something's gotta give. Maybe harmony will never be fully realized, but the journey is valuable. There has to be ways to bring everything together.
That's my 2006 New Year's resolution, to reconcile these things and more into a life that is meaningful and satisfying and sustainable.