New Year’s Resolutions

I am not much of a resolution maker. I don’t even resolve not to make resolutions. I just don’t.

I find that this alleviates any sort of added stress at the start of a new year and keeps me from unnecessary guilt at the end of an old one. In fact, I sort of mourn the passing of the old year. Maybe because I think time just passes too quickly, even when I’m not particularly appreciating or enjoying its passing.

There are good things about being the kind of person who makes resolutions. Setting goals can be a good way to motivate yourself, to remind you of what you’re aiming for, to measure the progress you’ve made toward losing weight, getting more sleep, running 1,000 miles, or discovering the cure to the common cold. And these goals are good, so long as you give yourself the permission to fail.

I think that’s probably a large reason why I don’t make resolutions or set many goals–because I am terrified of failing. Fear of failure is the reason that I didn’t study literature as an undergraduate (I later learned that many lit majors are slow readers and that most people who really care about reading consider themselves “under-read”). Fear of failure is the reason I didn’t apply for a master’s program directly out of college, venture overseas without a definite plan, or finish my application to work at Hallmark. It is perhaps even the reason that I didn’t initially tell people when I started dating my last boyfriend, the reason I tried not to think too much about our future together, the reason I was afraid to get my hopes up–because I was afraid it wouldn’t happen. I was afraid it would end. And that fear was quite possibly one of the chief reasons that it did.

A good dose of fear can keep us from doing stupid things–like driving without a seatbelt, jumping off of buildings, or leaving your doors unlocked and your windows down when you park your car in West Oakland. But I don’t want fear to keep me from trying. To keep me from dreaming.

In addition to blogging “more”, which vaguely I claim I am going to do at the start of just about every month, what I really hope to do this year is to blog “more honestly.” To blog from my heart as the person that I am and not the person I wish I was. That kind of honesty can be a little off-putting at times. Because sometimes life is honestly hard. Honestly disappointing. Honestly unjust. But it is also honestly beautiful. Honestly amazing. Honestly surprising. Sometimes I forget that.

From my January perspective, I hope that this year and this space is one in which I can be honest about my hopes and fears and observations of the world. And perhaps in all of that honesty I’ll find that fear of failing is a poor reason to keep from setting goals. That goals allow us to hope and believe, that they drive us when we can’t drive ourselves. And failure? Failure is just a reminder of how much we need each other, of how blessed we are to be caught when we fall.