New Year’s Eve and I are not friends, and New Year’s Day and I have a very tricky relationship. And I’m not huge fan of making New Year’s Resolutions. To paraphrase Dylan Moran, if I summoned every skreed of willpower within me, the most I could probably accomplish insofar as self-improvement is concerned would be eating less cheesy snacks. Or in my case, less sweet things.
At least, that’s what I thought – until, earlier today, I found the list I made going into 2013.
1. Waste not, want not: money included, time most of all.
2. Eat in the morning like a king, in the afternoon like a prince, and in the evening like a beggar.
3. Read and write every day in the quiet moments.
4. Be slow to anger and quick to forgive.
5. Would it really be so bad to fall in love?
6. Rediscover something this year that you used to love doing.
I’m rather proud to say that I did, in fact, manage to accomplish most of these things — alright, alright. At the very least I improved on some of these areas. Without getting into the finer details of my bank account, I’m pleased to say that financially, 2013 was a stable year and I’ve got the makings of a nest egg now. My eating habits have drastically improved, with added perks to this commitment including finally being able to fit into my mother’s pants (those of you who know both my mother and me will know that this is truly something over which to toot the horn). I do read and write every day…and towards the end of this year I started doing both of these activities in French and German as well as in English (because I’ve sort of taken root in this province, and there’s not point in having taken German 1 and 2 if I’m not going to continue it).
I’m going to skip ahead to Number 6 for a moment here: yes, I did, in fact, rediscover something that I used to love doing. I rediscovered music. In overdramatic, poetic terms, “I found my voice again.” My guitar and my clarinet had lain silently in their cases, and my voice had remained hidden inside me, until a few months ago when I started to come out of this particular shell. I started singing again, and that slowly evolved into playing guitar once more and eventually writing music again. It happened after I found this quote —
“Find a place inside where there’s joy, and the joy will burst out of the pain.”
– Joseph Campbell
— which dropped into my lap after the events that now bring us back to the discussion of Numbers Four and Five.
“Be slow to anger and quick to forgive.” This was a big one for me, and to be honest, it’s a recurring resolution for me. If you ask my mother, she’ll say it’s because I’m a Leo and the youngest child. I don’t know how I feel about that particular explanation, but I do know that I have always been impulsive and prone to bearing grudges. But in every life there comes a point where you find yourself looking at your reflection in a cold light and realising that something’s got to give. Words said in anger bring regret, and regret begets nothing put pain. I have learned to forgive because forgiveness brings peace. Your hands cannot receive the gifts life has to offer if you are holding on to the past.
Finally, the big one: “Would it really be so bad to fall in love?” This is tricky territory. I can’t look back on 2013 and say that falling in love was a good experience for me this time. It really wasn’t. Being impulsive doesn’t apply to situations of anger and hurt: when you’re impulsive you say and do things too soon even when you’re deliriously happy. Nothing in this part of my life really worked out this year, but the memory doesn’t hurt anymore (see the previous paragraph), and I hope he finds his happiness. I’ve started to rediscover mine in the music that I can make once more, and in the friends I have around me now.
Like I said in the Hallmark after-school special that was my first post, the people in my life are the reasons why I can look back on 2013 with a smile, and ahead to 2014 with a bigger one. Some of you managed to sneak in at the very last minute, but thanks to you 2013 is being sent out on the sound of our shared laughter no matter how many miles lie between us. Without singling any of you out, there are some of you who have inspired my resolutions for 2014; you know who you are.
1. Be happy where you are. If you’re not, then get out of there.
2. Do not take others for granted, but never forget your own worth.
3. Until you’re sure, keep your feelings inside…but remember that they are worth something.
4. If we think of each other as family, then we are blood. And blood such as this is thicker than tears and worth more than money.
5. Every day, surround yourself with awesome people.
6. There is music in your soul. Do not be afraid to share it.
7. There will always be time for one more level, so work hard and play harder.
With that in mind, I raise my glass to all of you and wish you all nothing but the best and brightest for 2014.