Friday, January 04, 2008

"Fiction" Friday

[Fiction] Friday Challenge for January 4, 2008:

What is the first New Year’s Resolution your character breaks? How soon? Why?



It has been a long time since she has made New Year's resolutions. Why bother? She never keeps them anyway. Something puts her off; something about the obligatory nature of it, maybe the fact that everybody is somehow expected to want to be a better, richer, thinner, more spiritual, creative and active person in the new year. What is wrong with who we are? Why embark on this artificial quest for a new and improved version of ourselves? No, she will not make any trumpeted resolutions this year either.

She starts the year in a reflective mood. This year she is focused on the house. Like everybody else, she has plans for the new year. Most of the plans center on her house; there are things yet to be done as a continuation of the home improvement project started the prior year. The new floors are down, the closet system is in place. The year-end bonus came and went, spent on new furniture that has yet to arrive. A lot of their things are still in storage, and the paint job is not finished. There are boxes of books everywhere, but she can't get to them because the boxes are taped shut. She misses her books. They are so close to her, and yet unavailable.

She needs to get the rooms painted, return the bookcases and books to her library/home office. These are her plans for the new year. No resolutions, just things that need to be done. And yet, she would be lying if she said that she did not briefly entertain the thought of joining the throngs of people that take the yearly pledge to exercise more and eat less. But as she swallows a spoonful of Nutella, she is all too aware that she does not want to treat the first days of the new year as a boot camp or religious retreat, full of rules and deprivation.

12 comments:

  1. I feel this way. I haven't yet made concrete resolutions for the New Year ... instead I've given myself a theme for the year ... this is my year of 'authenticity' ... and I'm pretty sure that you can't 'fail' at it within in the first week of the year (like those other types of resolutions come)

    I particularly like the 'in your face' line about wanting to improve on something that is obviously not good enough from the year before ... I'm feeling that way. I prefer the idea of every year now being an evolution on the one from before ... after all a tree does not grow from a seedling in just one year!

    Thank you for sharing

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  2. I prefer the idea of every year now being an evolution on the one from before ... after all a tree does not grow from a seedling in just one year!

    Jodi: Yes! That is exactly how I see it. Life as a journey, a slow progression. Thanks for articulating it so well.

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  3. Well I made anti-resolutions and also picked a one word theme... interestingly my word is "Journey". so it was humorous to me to find this discourse here. It's also interesting to me that I have had a flurry of activity in trying to get my house together. I identify quie heavily with you character in this.

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  4. I like the difference between resolutions and the things that just plain need to be done. A lot of my resolutions should really just belong to the "things that need to be done" list.

    Maybe I'd get on with them then!

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  5. I view resolutions not as rules and deprivation but as promises to myself. I have never been the resolutions type in general because I'm largely happy with who I am, but there have been years where I promised myself something I'd been putting off. For example, after my second NaNoWriMo I resolved to join a writers group and focus more energy on writing. I did, and although not everything works out as planned, it was an important step forward for me.

    And I think focused introspection is something that is healthy. If every day were exactly like every other day, when would we look back at a digestible section of our life and recalibrate? We do it daily anyway, but life needs different levels of rhythm--we need weeks to keep our work/life sanity, months to track seasons and birthdays, and years to register milestones in history and our lives. Thus, New Years is the perfect moment for that kind of larger self-assessment and life recalibration. It's sort of that moment when we can lift ourselves up and look at the whole forest instead of continuing to focus on all these trees that are getting in our way.

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  6. I agree with you completely. And if I had to give up Nutella life wouldn't be worth living. I don't smoke, I don't drink. Nutella is all I have to help me bear the pain of existence. LOL. Good post!

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  7. Resolutions are like diets...people that go on diets...go off diets...haha:)

    I think it is however very healthy to reflect and account for things needing change!!! I wish you a great 2008!!!!! BTW...I added you to my blogroll, something I should have done long ago...it'll help me to be reminded to visit you. Thanks Ingrid!

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  8. I liked the nice little personal touches you put into this piece. The Nutella. Very nice.

    I have decided to learn to knit this year, but it wasn't a new year's resolution. It is more of a need to quiet my brain a bit in the evenings. I think most people see a void in their lives and want to fill it and it is just that we are forced to do it more often when the new year comes around.

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  9. There is a very fine line between resolutions and things which need to be done. Personally I try to keep well aeway from both of them!Never do today what you can put off til tomorrow is my motto!

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  10. And I think focused introspection is something that is healthy. If every day were exactly like every other day, when would we look back at a digestible section of our life and recalibrate? We do it daily anyway, but life needs different levels of rhythm--we need weeks to keep our work/life sanity, months to track seasons and birthdays, and years to register milestones in history and our lives. Thus, New Years is the perfect moment for that kind of larger self-assessment and life recalibration. It's sort of that moment when we can lift ourselves up and look at the whole forest instead of continuing to focus on all these trees that are getting in our way.

    That may be true, pjd, but I don't think focused instrospection is what many people go through when they make New Year's resolutions. It's almost perfunctory, something to be done just because it is the start of the new year and it is expected.

    Thanks to everybody for the comments. I have enjoyed reading your perspective on this.

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  11. I don't think focused introspection is what many people go through when they make New Year's resolutions. It's almost perfunctory, something to be done just because it is the start of the new year and it is expected.

    I hear you. You're absolutely right.

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