New Year Ahead

Incredibly, it’s the end of another year, which brings the inevitable question: Have you made your resolutions yet? I always make a few, but they’re usually pretty standard. Last year, I challenged myself with some loftier ones. Today I read back over the ones I made on this blog last year. They were good ones, though, to be honest, I was not all that successful keeping them. So I am going to make them my resolutions again for 2020, and try harder to stick to them this year.

The first resolution was to push fear away, and to try to figure out my life purpose. I promised to let myself off the hook and stop feeling guilty about the things that are out of my control. I resolved to make more of an effort to let go of fear, anger, guilt, and regret. I also resolved to keep telling the people I love in no uncertain terms just how much I cherish them. I actually think I’ve done pretty well with that one.

Those resolutions are all keepers, but I am also going to add a few new ones. For 2020 and beyond, I am going to stop saying, “I’m sorry” for things that don’t require an apology. It’s a bad habit I need to break. I also resolve to continue to refuse to become the invisible older woman, even as life sometimes seems to push me toward that more and more. Just because I am getting older does not mean I can no longer create and grow. So another one of my resolutions is that I want to live as fully in the years ahead as I did when I was younger. As I reflect on my joys, despairs, and accomplishments, I will continue to share my stories, thoughts, and maybe even a few bits of wisdom. I will write and make music and laugh and dance and sing, and maybe even try a new thing or two. Our society is steeped in ageism and sexism. So as a woman in my late sixties I consider it a challenge, as well as a resolution, to be a small part of forging a new Feminist revolution, helping combat both those things.

I hope that my resolutions about fighting ageism and sexism will become part of my own personal legacy for my daughter, granddaughter, and daughter-in-law; that they don’t have to fear growing older, or feel the need to beat back the clock by any means necessary. For one thing, you just can’t, no matter what you do. I resolve to try to show them how to age with grace, even if they don’t even realize that’s what I was trying to do until after I’m gone. I want to be the mentor for them that I always wished I had. Years ago, I regarded old age as something way down the road, stretching years and years beyond me on some far away and fuzzy horizon. Old age only happened to other people. Remember ‘Never trust anyone over thirty’? My only excuse for that is that I was young, naive, and stupid. When I look in the mirror today I am forced to admit that I am a long way beyond both thirty, even though I feel pretty good most days. Hey, it’s great to be 68. I resolve never to forget that.

With 2019 ending and 2020 dead ahead, I believe that everyone needs some kind of faith, though not necessarily a religious one. Everyone needs faith that even though the world seems more and more full of evil, the girl will be able to escape the tower, the big, bad wolf will die, and that even those poisoned by malevolence can be restored, not to innocence, but to righteousness.

I like this quote from the writer Neil Gaiman: “May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness… I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art – write, draw, build, sing, or live as only you can. And I hope somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself. ”

I ended my New Year’s post last year with my personal word for 2019: dogged. I promised “to be dogged, to keep striving to live better and fearlessly, to resist getting angry at all those things that are out of my control, to leave regret and guilt out of my vocabulary… to be dogged, to never, ever, ever give up.”

I still like that word, and those goals. So I think I will give that resolution another shot this year. In 2020 I am also going to try to remember the words of Gandhi: “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

Happy New Year to all!