Empty daily boxes. Months of vast blank space. On a giant poster size 2019 wall calendar meant to track my progress in adhering to daily habits. These would seem to suggest that I did not “WIN THE YEAR” as the heading of the calendar implied I should.
Although I started strong. With the January and February rows filled in with A’s and C’s–c’s for cleaning and a’s for my work on an art/social media project.
Long straight lines drawn with a blue fine tip dry erase marker after the fact signal the passage of time March through July. What if anything happened during this five month stretch with regard to my daily habits is left a mystery to the viewer.
I rallied for about a month and a half after my return from Europe at the end of the summer. That was when I tracked COW’s–(c)leaning, (o)nerous self help tasks, and (w)riting. The cute acronym kept me compliant until mid-September. Moo.
The COW’s could walk freely through the autumn months where next to nothing is recorded and stop to munch on the peach in the “I’m a Georgia voter” sticker that marks Election Day. I voted with only one issue on the ballot, which is a victory for democracy if nothing else.
The day that is most painful to me on the calendar is March 1st. There early in the year I’d written “LAUNCH” to motivate myself to make public my art/social media project. The one that was my New Year’s resolution.
But the launch date came and went without takeoff. Instead on March 6th, I gave up social media entirely for the duration of Lent, a victory for my soul perhaps, and progress toward another 2019 New Year’s resolution: use social media as a way to connect rather than compare. My fast helped me control the compare part, and the challenge of the connect part I’ll take with me into 2020.
I’ve written down New Year’s resolutions every year since 2015 and cut the paper into a 4×6 sheet I store in a photo frame that sits on my dresser. Sometimes I arrive at the end of the year to find a goal I’d hoped to achieved staring me down with its blatant undoneness like my art/social media project. But at the end of the year, I also take stock of what’s been done that wasn’t necessarily a resolution like running a marathon, visiting all the collections in the Louvre, and landing a job in 2019.
I’ve found making resolutions isn’t necessarily about meeting resolutions. It’s about taking the vague theoretical “maybe’s” or “one day’s” or “I know I should’s” and attempting to put them into practice. Some of my biggest growth breakthroughs have been trying to accomplish my “I think I should’s” and realizing they’re instead “I definitely should not’s.”
Setting intentions and making goals has helped me tackle a lot of low hanging fruit in building a better life. I’m increasingly finding that the work that lies ahead is higher hanging fruit, more painful to achieve. The kind that requires ladders and tenuous branches and temper tantrums where I assert just how much I don’t want to do (o)nerous self help tasks.
I’ll set my sights to victory in 2020 but I’m not sure yet whether I’ll record my progress on a giant gaping calendar I have to face from my bed every morning.