Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Saying It Better than I Ever Could

Can I just make my resolution to do or be all Neil Gaiman talks about in his three New Years Eve messages? I shall be quite happy if, in the coming year, I can make some art, dream dangerously a time or more, and make some epic mistakes.

Opening the Door on a New Year

I have been going back and forth on "official" resolutions for 2014. I have no desire, though, to come up with a list of specific, quantifiable goals as I have in some years past. I'm not even sure I want a list of general things on which to work. Last year, I wrote of wanting it to be a year of not asking why I should do something but instead asking why the hell I shouldn't do something, a philosophy suggested by younger son. Sometime in the past year, I read another sentiment worthy of deliberation. Googling it just now, I have learned that it is from Henry David Thoreau.

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.

The statement I read and have pondered is the middle statement, sandwiched between two others that just don't have offer quite the same food for thought. Live the life you've imagined. Live. The. Life. You've. Imagined.

What is the life I have imagined? I'm honestly not sure, though I do know that the life I would imagine was very different at different times in the life I've been living. And is it a life I have imagined, or a me I have imagined? A life to me implies so much that is external--what is around me as opposed to what is within me. There is certainly much in the world around me over which I have no control. What I can control is the reaction I offer to that which I cannot control. So perhaps the life one imagines is both outside and inside each of us. If I have had more than one philosophy class, I might be able to articulate it better.

Exactly what it means aside, I think my resolution for 2014 will combine last year's thought with the one I have been incubating throughout the year: Why the hell not live the life I've imagined? I can't say exactly how that will evolve, but I hope it happens thoughtfully. In the life I imagine, I am not as much the light-switch all-on or all-off over-reactive person I often am. I will admit that in some areas, I am already living the life I've imagined. I have the means to nurture my creative spirit even if I don't always make time to do so. While there are things to which I would like to devote more time--chiefly photography and writing--there are certainly enough others to which I do devote time.

And so I prepare to bid adieu to 2013 and open a brand new, clean and unmarked calendar holding a year in which I will endeavor to live the life I've imagined, because, well, why the hell not?

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Out with the Old

Re-reading my last post from 2012, it appears that I resolved to make 2013 a year of "asking why the hell not" and of learning some Vietnamese. Meat Loaf told us that two out of three ain't bad, and I'll say the same about one out of two. I did things in 2013 that I never expected to do, some more intentional than others. I never expected to complete a GORUCK Challenge, but I did, along with four GORUCK Lights and one Nasty. I'm even registered to do two more Challenges and two more Lights in 2014, in pairs of one Challenge and one Light within the same 24-hour period. Why? Why the hell not?

To help prepare for the GORUCK events, older son and I started working out with a group called SEAL Team Physical Training. As a result, I have actually appeared in public in workout tights or capris. In terms of capris, the workout ones would be the only ones I have ever worn since I have never embraced capris as everyday wear. In terms of workout tights, I have always hated seeing the skin-tight leggings worn by many women, but here I am wearing essentially the same thing. They're warm on a cold morning, though, and quite easy to move in.

On the unintentional front, I spun out a 2000 Pontiac Firebird on an ice-covered stretch of Interstate 70 while rescuing younger son from a paperwork fiasco by driving him from Rawlins, Wyoming to here through something called Winter Storm Q. I, the original snow weenie, drove in deeper, more blowing snow than I ever had and managed to get all three of us (younger son's dog was also along) back safe and sound.

As for learning some Vietnamese, well, I tried. My first attempt at using Rosetta Stone on a daily or almost daily basis got interrupted by the week-long adventure of Winter Storm Q and playing catch-up on work and life after I got back. I started over again in late spring and worked my way to a bit further along than I had the first time before getting hit by an assortment of life things I don't even recall now but which made working on Vietnamese seem a very self-centered activity, sort of like, well, blogging. Will I get back to it again for the third time's being the charm? No one knows, certainly not I.

I now find myself three days from the start of a new year, and halfway through the 58th year of my life. How should I resolve to spend it? Living a philosophy such as asking why the hell not somewhat was? I do have one in mind that might work. Doing specific, quantifiable things such as exercising a certain number of days in each week, month, or the entire year? Doing one profound thing in each of several general areas? I've done both of those in earlier years. The quantifiable one encourages a competitive streak that I'd rather be rid of, but it's also hard to know if I've really done something remarkable in any given area.

Non-caloric food for thought, I guess, over the next several days as I try not to think about the excess real food consumed during the holiday weeks. For now, let's just say that I resolve to come up with something by 12:00 a.m. Wednesday.