Day by day, 2012

I feel like I imagine many people do about New Year’s resolutions: I don’t like being pressured to make them. On New Year’s Eve I was feeling rather annoyed and completely unlike celebrating, and went to bed about 11:20 p.m. My husband already had been drifting off to sleep, and I decided I would rather sleep through midnight than sit through it alone.
A while after I drifted off, the dogs set to barking as the Sunday paper hit the porch. Not long after, fireworks began, and the dogs insisted on sharing with us how little they were enjoying the mysterious booming racket. I refused to look at the clock, pulled the sheets tight and resumed counting backward.
This morning, resolutions started occurring to me. Too many, I thought. But it seemed so organic. No pressure, entirely unbidden, just a calm rolling out.
My first thought was to do everything every day. I knew that might be unrealistic, and guess what? At 9:20 p.m. I know it to be so. But I’m cool with that. I know the things I want to do, and as long as I’m making steady progress, I’m still ahead. So here’s the list:
1) Write. Not just “want to write” or “think of myself as a writer,” but write. This one has to happen every day. Tweets and Facebook posts don’t count. Blog posts do, but that doesn’t mean I’ll be posting here daily. And while I’ll be a beat reporter again soon for the first time in about eight years, that writing won’t count by itself.
2) Read. I have a book I started last summer that I still haven’t finished. I have another I got for Christmas that I’m halfway through. You can’t write if you don’t read, and websites and magazines aren’t enough.
3) Read the Bible. Surprise! This one started as maybe some sort of prayer or reflection, maybe aided by the “little books” our diocese puts out, but I rooted out a Bible and decided this year I would read it. As a cradle Catholic, I’ve had lots of Scripture read to me, but I couldn’t find most of it in a Bible at gunpoint.
4) Work on earning more money. This one really needs to happen every day, too, even if it’s just a single bid on a single freelancing website. I’ve had some success with this, but a more concerted effort should lead to more success … or at least that’s the theory. I never in my life have expected to be rich, but more money = more comfort and less stress, plus the possibility I might be able to retire before age 80. And did I mention that journalism isn’t exactly the most stable field?
5) Exercise. I’d say “exercise more,” but anything more involved than walking around the house or throwing a ball for the Lab would be more. So exercise = lifting weights and periodic walks of half an hour or more, and especially the couch to 5K program that I abandoned. But hey, I got a friend hooked on it and he lost something like 25 pounds, so I know it works. I don’t care about weight loss, and I know I will not change how I eat or drink. But I do want to live in this body a very long time, and I do want it to be stronger and more agile, and that means making more use of the muscles, not just the gray matter.
That’s a long list. But like I said, I’m cool with it.

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