It’s January Again!

Hello again everyone! As I’m writing this on January 6th, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! And Happy Mardi Gras of course…. I hope you’ve all enjoyed your holidays and are refreshed and relaxed.

I was uncertain what to post first after coming back from my hiatus: I had a few inquiries over December that I want to answer; I also debated whether to wait until I’d finished my next project so I’d have photos to show you. But instead I want to spend a few minutes talking about something that most people do this time of year, “Risolations;” or resolutions if you’re not a “Silly Ol’ Bear.”

No matter what you read or who you talk to right now, people are all about their resolutions: forums, blogs, twits, news articles – about what to choose or advice on “how to finally do it this year….” I understand the appeal; a new year feels like a new start, or a chance at one, and starting something new feels so exciting!

Please keep in mind, I bear no one any ill will whether you choose to make them or not – your traditions are up to you! But people inevitably ask me what mine are, and for many years now I’ve answered “none.” It’s not that I don’t think making plans or having goals are important, but I always felt such pressure to make resolutions, and make “good” or grand or worthy ones, let alone the pressure to keep them, it just seemed as if I was setting myself up for failure.

I personally prefer to honor and experience the cycling of the seasons, the sense of continuity: the days are now lengthening and will continue to get longer over spring until the summer solstice, when the days will start shortening again. And with that shortening I prepare for (as much as we ever have them in Houston) the coming of fall and winter. To me this is much more calming and comforting, instead of that frantic feeling at the end of the year over not having done what I resolved to do, and needing to resolve to do it again or find yet something else by midnight on December 31st. When time instead feels continuous, I’m much more relaxed about accomplishing my goals: I didn’t finish that, but I can do so in the future – if I want to. Or maybe I decide to leave it behind, for whatever reason, and pick up something else instead. It’s up to me, and there’s no pressure.

I think it plays very much to that American need to be productive, which I read about recently in an article in the Atlantic. I found the author’s final paragraph especially insightful, where Ms. Beck states “…hard work, achievement, productivity. Those aren’t bad things but are they really more important than relationships, contemplation, rest?”

So yes, having goals and plans are all well and good, but don’t forget to sit and do nothing, except maybe enjoy the view and occasionally contemplate deeply about what you are seeing.

And if you’d like something fun and awful (the old meaning; entry 1, #3 – or 4a) to look at, try this photo essay, also in the Atlantic this month.

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