photo via morguefile.com
In the Northern Hemisphere, this time of year is fallow time. In most places, you can’t do much prep work outdoors for your garden. In a couple of weeks, we can start seeds for those things that need to be started six to eight weeks indoors, but right now, at the dawn of the New Year, there’s not much gardening to do. No small wonder we get obsessed with self-improvement tasks at this time of year! Most of us are no longer farmers, but not too many generations ago, most of us were agriculturalists or pastoralists or gardeners of some sort. The rhythm of life is hard to escape, even with central heating and cosy indoor work.
I like to garden, and I’m far enough south that I can start doing the gardening prep work already. Even so, it is fallow time even for me, and that leads to contemplation. For years I’ve sworn off New Year’s resolutions as unrealistic and self-defeating. This year, I’m in a different mindset about it. I have things I’d like to accomplish, not by the end of the year, not someday. Soon.
The big number one on my To Do List is to take better care of my corporeal being. I eat a reasonably healthy diet most of the time with the occasional splurge. Exercise, however, I don’t get enough of. I used to do a lot of weight training (resistance training to you young whippersnappers), and I’m going back to that. I don’t worry about becoming Female Hulk; it’s better than Female Jabba the Hut and carrying more muscle means my metabolism runs a little faster and I feel less sluggish.
I want to be more mindful about other parts of self-care as well. Too often I schlep around in baggy shorts with uncombed hair and ragged nails. I don’t plan to go overboard on this. There’s no point in trying to garden or write in a ballgown and I like being comfy when I work. On the other hand, Comfy doesn’t have to equal rag bag disaster. My body is the place where my spirit lives, after all. It deserves decent upkeep.
I also want to Get Stuff Done with writing this year. So many times I’ve bought into the advice that I should put the manuscript away “for a few months” before revising (yet again) and “not rush”. Too often, I’ve put away what I want to do for a “later” that never comes. Maybe I’m not yet the next Austen or Thoreau or Mailer or Evanovich. Maybe my writing isn’t breakout novel worthy or whatever. Maybe it never will be, but maybe it’s good enough.
I don’t have time any longer for “baby steps”, for “letting it rest for a while”, for “not rushing the process”. I’ve done that for ten years. I’m putting out that story, completing that project, shoving weights onto the bar and learning to do those hack squats that I’ve been waiting for someday when I’m in better shape.
Maybe I’ll be doing squats with an empty bar at first. Maybe nobody will read whatever stories or novels I put out. Maybe I’m rushing the gates, but this is where I am. Watch out, World, because this year I am the freight train of Getting Stuff Done. The gates are down and the lights are flashing. Lead, follow, whatever you like. Just stay off the tracks, because I am coming through! Whoot! Whoot!