Years end is about reflection and the New Year about welcoming. There is no more self-scolding about what I could have done, and no more resolutions about what I will do. There are only possibilities arising from what has been and what can be, life-enriching snippets that bring me into the present.
The Ghost of Should’ve Done Past
I have always beat myself up for not writing more, especially as December progresses toward the first day of January. I tell myself nasty lies that elicit guilt for not doing. I would be a successful author today if I had finished writing that novel instead of allowing 365 days of dust to gather on my hard drive, or invited those characters invading my head-space to a robust life on the pages of a short story. Oh, if only I had queried that article on world views in a small community, I would now be a big-name journalist.
If only, if only is such a self-debilitating disease, along with should’ve, would’ve, could’ve.
Yes, I scold myself for neglecting the things that I was not ready to do and create more excuses for me to wallow in self-pity and guilt. After all, if I had been ready to finish that novel or write that short story, they would be done by now.
This ghost wants me to show me all my failures in a light where nothing outside of what I should’ve done looks good.
The Ghost of Resolutions Future
Each year I make resolutions to get stuff done. I make a pact with myself to finish that novel this year that I did not complete last year, to write more short stories, to start being this and stop being that, to start doing this and stop doing that, and to become an all-around better person.
Yes, I resolve in the New Year to become a different person, so much so that not even I might recognize myself!
Well, the truth is that resolutions are just mumbo-jumbo derived from the guilt of letting another year go by without working on the projects that burn in my soul but somehow never get done. Resolutions are a by-product of disappointment over my character traits that lead me down roads that are not healthy for me, so I tell myself that it’s time to start taking a different road. To make a long story short, the ghost of resolutions future wants to lead me into the land of unrealistic expectations.
The Angel of Perfect Present
Now that I am in present-day 2019, I can clearly see how I have set myself up for failure by allowing the Ghost of Should’ve Done Past and the Ghost of Resolutions Future to rule my life. There is no power in beating myself for what I have not done or in making that wicked list of resolutions.
The Angel of Perfect Present has clearly shown me that resolutions have no solid foundations, therefore making them pre-meditated disappointments.
The Angel of Perfect Present teaches me that everything I do must be in the moment, in the here and now. If I am truly serious about picking up old projects or starting new ones, I must take the first step, and followed by a second step, and continue taking those steps down that winding path with plenty of forks in the road until I arrive at my desired destination.
Now, destination does not always mean a completed project, but perhaps the building of smaller parts of a puzzle until the picture is complete. This can take an hour, a week, sometimes a year or more. In fact, it takes however long it takes!
In the past I have limited resolutions to fiction writing, all the while beating myself up for not getting those words on paper. Berating myself for not realizing how my characters and what they want. It’s all this negativity that I have allowed to stand in my way of realizing my accomplishments.
In fact, if I take a good hard look at my life’s panorama, I write just about every single day in my work as a paralegal. A big part of that life is taking facts of cases and putting them into…what? A factual story, which in the writing world is called non-fiction. While I love to write about cases, I admit I am motivated by that paycheck twice a month, and the accolades I receive when I do a good job.
So, now I’m back to the fact that I would love to complete my novel as well as write more short stories. Well, this requires me to come up with a plan, or a commitment to write so many words or spend a half-hour or an hour working on my novel. I even have the option to commit myself to writing two or three times a week, or every other day, whatever works for me. The point being, until I take that first action step (which I have not), this wanting, if you will, is nothing but a resolution either being tossed around or waiting to be executed into a solid plan.
Maybe instead of ending this article by saying, “Yep, that’s it, the plan is in place,” perhaps I will make a commitment to write on my blog next Saturday. If I put something on my calendar, I am committed. So, there……I have entered my next blog to be written on Saturday, January 19, 2019, at 8 a.m. It doesn’t have to be fancy, it just needs to be.
Remember, no more resolutions, just commitments.