I’ve always thought resolutions were for suckers. There is the permeating school of thought that the start of a new year only stands in mentally for people, giving the illusion of fresh beginnings. I understand and endorse the idea that each day should be lived to the fullest extent possible, and that every day includes a reset button, if only we are willing to imagine it as such.
Yet still, as I get older, years passed are a way of marking the time in a way that I can visualize just how much things have changed and how far I’ve come. From month to month, the changes seem inconsequential, but looking at the perspective of me today versus me one year ago (as opposed to me two months ago), it’s much easier to notice the differences.
So, although I’ve resisted the idea of resolutions for years, now I am making a return to them. Because as stupid or trite as it may seem to some people, there really is something to be said for a clean slate, regardless of whether it’s in the routine every day or the more symbolic new year.
1. Write every day
This one is a no-brainer. Considering that words were my first love, of course I should be writing every day. The sad reality, however, is that I don’t. Indeed, I write every day, but for a variety of purposes, including correspondence, education and work-related things. After finishing my memoir (which, even then, was “work”), I took a much-needed break from the process of writing for myself. But enough time has passed, and I can feel that longing within me again. So I resolve to write every day for myself. Granted, this won’t always result in anything worthwhile, but just getting my thoughts onto a blank paper or an empty screen is the important part for me. In order to help me with this, I’ve had this blank tumblr for awhile, not quite knowing what to do with it. But now, my goal is to put one piece of writing up here each week. Which means that although I don’t have to produce something grand every day, I’d like to have something I’m at least slightly proud of every week.
2. Walk every day
I’ve walked a lot in Berlin. Yet until recently, I hadn’t taken advantage of the fact that it’s relatively easy to get everywhere (that I want to go) by foot in a reasonable amount of time. It must have been the threat of bad walking weather (rain, ice, snow) that inspired me to start walking more – that and the fact that I can’t justify buying a monthly public transportation ticket right now when I am hardly using the system. And I’ve noticed something: I feel better. It’s nice to walk with friends, but it’s also nice to walk alone. And I’ve noticed that putting in a good 30-60 minutes a day has multiple benefits. For one, I clear my head, just by getting out and taking in the fresh air. This also has resulted in a lot of writing inspiration. I’ve been able to listen to albums more actively as well. And I find that I’m learning my city even better, and falling a little more in love with Berlin as each day passes and I’m able to make connections on greater levels.
3. Eat raw in January
Yup, it’s time for my annual detox. Only this time, I’m starting in January, because it’s best to do detoxes when you have a lot of downtime. And guess what? In January, I have a lot of downtime. Plus, the weather does a fairly good job of discouraging me from leaving the house so it just makes sense. The longest I’ve eaten raw was for a week, maybe two, a couple years ago. It was miserable, because I was exerting far more energy than I was consuming, and I felt I constantly had to be eating to stay on top. This is true, and while I still have to bring snacks everywhere with me to constantly recharge, I am excited to not be on-the-go and do this at a much more relaxed pace. I am shooting for a goal of the entire month (easy to say on day 2 of 31) but won’t be disappointed in myself if I don’t make it that far.
4. Read 25 books this year
My original goal was going to be a carry-over from the past two years, which is reading the equivalent of one book each week. However, I soon realized this is probably unrealistic (which is likely why I’ve failed in the past two years). But two books each month? That’s totally realistic. I certainly have enough to choose from (although, if anyone has any books to recommend or books to kindly loan me, or buy for me, I will not complain).
5. Do more yoga
I brought my yoga mat with me from the U.S. with every intention of continuing with yoga, but aside from drunken dolphin on the wall on the streets of Prenzlauer Berg in August, I have not dedicated any time to my practice. While I don’t expect to get hardcore into yoga again, I do want to ease myself in, starting with a goal of at least once per week. Currently, I will be doing yoga on my own (or with the cats), but later this year (when I know I can make a better commitment) will be looking into classes with an English-speaking instructor here in Berlin.
6. Worry less
Easier said than done, I know. But this is my constant struggle, to keep myself from worrying about any and every thing, but mostly about things beyond my control. While I am a planner, I need to learn (still) how to balance that with the fact that sometimes life just happens, and I can’t spend so much time being anxious or unhappy about things that I can’t direct on my own. Alongside that, I want to learn to let go even more – to be daring, spontaneous and adventurous – without thinking so much of the immediate consequences.
7. Improve my German
Yeah, I moved here to do this. And I’ve done a pretty good job, considering. But I need to be more active in my acquisition of the language. This includes: talking less in English with my German friends, doing grammar exercises at least once weekly, reading German magazines and books, being more diligent about writing down vocabulary, writing more in German.
8. Take more pictures
Every day, as I’m walking around, I see art, dirt, buildings, people, things that inspire me. And as much as I’d like to remember them in my mind, I’d also like to take more pictures, to remember them that way too. I feel I’ve been experiencing Berlin for too long without taking pictures, afraid that doing so might ruin it for me. But I’ve decided that’s silly, and I’m going to resolve to carry my camera with me more often, in order to document the things around me.