Monday, January 9, 2012

New Year’s Resolutions

Yes, this is a little late in the game, but there you have it.

Oh the infamous New Year’s Resolution.  Every year we make them, every year we break them.  Right?  But we all need an excuse and an opportunity for a little bit of self-reflection and hopefully a little more self-improvement.  

My top five New Year’s Resolutions will be the following: 

1. Find a mentor.   In every hero quest the main character needs a mentor, someone to guide them towards their ultimate goal.  Well we are all on a hero quest in our own lives and we all need a mentor.  This year I will finally find mine.    

2. Learn German.  I’m notoriously bad at learning foreign languages.  I have tried.  How I have tried.  French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, and even Thai.  My mom’s side of the family came over from Germany (technically from the Grand Duchy of Baden) in the earlier part of the 20th Century.  Aside from sauerkraut at Thanksgiving we really haven’t kept up much of a German tradition in our family, so I thought it might be interesting to explore those neglected family roots.  This doesn’t mean I expect to be fluent or anything by the end of the year, but at least I’ll make an effort to understand something of the language.  Maybe some ancestral memory will make this the one that I’m finally able to learn.  

3. Keep a journal.  Yet something else I have tried and failed to do every year.  I would love to be able to record every day in perfect detail with beautiful and evocative descriptions of my life.  It never happens.  But when I was at the bookstore last month I discovered this wonderful little journal “One Line a Day: A Five Year Memory Book.”  Just one line a day, I can do that.  After all, there were days when Samuel Pepys didn’t do much better.    

4. Write more short stories.  Or perhaps I should say “understand the short story.”  I’d really like to write short stories and find a way to capture all those little bursts of ideas and inspirations I know I’ll never be able to flesh out into a whole novel.  The problem is I don’t “get” short stories.  I’ve read them.  I’ve studied them.  But that doesn’t mean I can write them.  My goal this year is to write one short story a month.  

5. Walk in the woods.  Maryland is a beautiful state.  At least it used to be.  These days we’re dealing with over-development and uncontrolled urban sprawl.  Anywhere there used to be a family farm or a stretch of forest is now a new housing subdivision or shopping center.  This year I’m going to make more of an effort to explore our state and county parks and appreciate what we have left of Maryland’s natural beauty.