January 1, 2012

New Year Yearnings

“There are times though when in despair & loneliness & self hatred, finding oneself unable to achieve the things one constantly dreams of, one can only become real & stable again by thinking of those few others who are not too far from one’s own path.” ~ Iris Murdoch
Happy New Year, y’all!

Read the above quote this morning on Facebook (thanks, Corey Mesler!). It gives me food for thought.

I know a lot of people hate new year’s resolutions, but I like them.  Anything that prompts us to be better people, pulls us out of ourselves and our doldrums and puts winds in our sails, is good, I think.

I had had great hopes of getting a bunch of writing done this week I’ve had off from work. Unfortunately, that didn’t come to pass. Wait. That was a passive construction, as if it were out of my hands. I guess, really, I didn’t make it the top priority, which has been a problem lately.  But I did get a lot of reading and cogitating done on the next project.

But today is a new year.  Today, I’m going to write.

But the above quote.  I have the usual list of resolutions: eat better, exercise more, manage finances better, write more, be a better person.  But this quote reminded me that the road to self-fulfillment is not paved with other’s bodies.  Quite the opposite.  The most energizing and worthwhile goals involve outward effort, thinking of others, trying to be the best social creature you can be.  Granted, you also have to be selfish in order to get the work, the writing, done, but I know that I gain so much energy from my social world.  It enhances, rather than drains, my energy.

And I love Iris’s point that one must be outwardly focused in order to pull oneself out of despair & loneliness & self hatred.  I can identify with that wholeheartedly.  I know that to my core. All I have to do is have a lively exchange with a friend over lunch or online.  It jazzes me. It gives me energy for all my other endeavors.

The trick, though, is those negative influences, those interactions that drain the energy rather than add.  You know the ones ~ the idiot who cuts in front of you in traffic and then slows down and turns (a personal pet peeve of mine) or those conflicts you always have with the same members of your family, the ones that make you feel like that fat and ugly and unlovable two-year-old.

What to do about those?  Draw boundaries, give yourself distance and in my case permission to be angry and get it out so that it doesn’t turn into depression.  Also permission to be assertive and say, you know what?, I don’t need to take this. A healthy shell surrounding a lively but serene interior.

I know.  Easier said than done.

So in addition and above all other new year’s resolutions: as caring as I can be to my fellow toilers in the ant farm.

So, as my lovely sister Nikki says, stawzawamps, which means love, light, health, joy in Northern Cheyenne.


Ken Olsen said...

And, as Winston Churchill adds, "Never, never, never give up." Here's to a great year for your pen!

Tamara said...

Right back atcha! A great year for your very eloquent pen. :-)