Anything we want in the new year, we can find an app that leads up toward it. Meditate, find love, mend heart, make money, match lipstick to skin tone, count calories, check our blood pressure, see aerial view of celeb hideout, the next full moon. Social media posts on winnowing our things and calming our minds abound and yet even they are a part of the overload. While I was driving yesterday, I heard mention of a book I am interested in reading in my own quest for peace: Why Buddism Is True. I pulled over, scribbled down the title on the back of an envelope, and kept driving. Even one’s spiritual request seems to lead to listing, purchasing, intaking something else in a life already crowded with something elses.
So, my new year’s resolutions are organized in an acrostic of sorts. Better to mirror the randomness of information and ideas flowing into our lives and which ones we choose to act upon. Random, but a nice small handful of goals.
2: I am going to read two books a month, instead of starting too many books at once. And this is a year to soak up American history books, because I am ever more thirsty to learn about this country.
0: I am not going to say “I’m sorry” anymore. “Love means never having to say your sorry,” is a famous line from Erich Segal’s novel Love Story, and I spent years disagreeing with that line; of course you gotta apologize. But in 2018 I’m channeling Ali MaGraw’s character, because it’s clear to me that it’s a gender thing. Women too often pepper their speech with I’m sorry, and it can be part of that pernicious good girl thing, like we have to apologize for being.
1: I am going to do something that makes one friend cry.The other day I answered my cell phone and it was my dear friend, sniffling into the phone. When she spoke, it was hard to hear what she was saying, her voice so choked with emotion. I thought she had a cold. No, she was crying with joy after reading a copy of an essay my daughter had written about her grandfather, my father, who died a few years ago. In the holiday madness, I had braved the post office and mailed her the piece because I knew it would move her deeply. I’m going to do that kind of thing again. It’s like a stealth bomb of love.
8: I am going to plant 8 new flowering plants in my yard this spring. Gardening is a relatively recent hobby, and it’s time to step up my game because flowers bring me happiness.Want to know which ones? A weeping cherry, a star magnolia, peonies, poppies, bachelor buttons, tulips, daisies, and zinnias.These are the blooms in the yard of my childhood home, and even without reading that next book on spirituality, I know that this kind of getting stuck in the past is good for the soul.