Wednesday, January 1, 2014

My 2014: Simplify & Edify

I wrote yesterday about my 2013, and here's my goal/theme/motto/whatever for 2014...in some kind of essay/ramble format. Enjoyyyyy and comment about your own goals/themes!

Simplify & Edify

On the SIMPLIFY front, it's.....well, simple. I want to declutter my life, in all senses of the word. I recently combed through my closet and donated a pile of clothes that I've held on to for too long but never wear. I'm trying to do little things to make my life more simple in advance, like making an actual grocery list, using a day planner again and buying a little handheld vacuum for my car. I've never been good at cleaning my car out, so I bought the little vacuum to make it simpler for me to do that. It's things like that, here and there, that I want to do to make my life more simple all around, in ways that specifically work best for me.

And then there's just the overall attitude I approach life with. I want to be careful and selective about the things I put on my plate. I want to allow myself to say no. I also want to allow myself to say yes to things I want, without the clutter of over-analysis and second-guessing. Just simply say yes. I want to let go of emotional clutter in my life, and not dwell on unproductive thoughts or circumstances I can't change. I want to simply celebrate more, every little glimmer of happy. This morning I drank a green smoothie and danced to oldies in the kitchen, without worrying if I had time for it. I was simply celebrating life, and breakfast, and good music. Simply celebrating my simple joys.

I want to simplify by choosing to live a more stress-free life. Not by avoiding stressful things altogether (impossible) but by simply choosing not to stress about the inevitable bumps and mistakes along the way. Accept every day for what it is...don't label every little thing as good or bad or on time or late or etc...and just let it go. Just let it be. Stop constantly evaluating myself. Get up the next day and live another day, and then one after that. Not a good day or a bad day...just, another day. I want to bask in all the little joys and keep a perspective large enough to see what's worth getting upset about and what isn't. (Most things aren't.)

Mostly, I want to simplify any unfair expectations I have for myself. And to do that, I need to choose to give myself a break. I need to see myself make mistakes, and not berate myself for them. I need to watch myself stumble, and say it's OK. I want to celebrate my small accomplishments in the midst of failure and the small joys within the tangle of a bad day. I want to give myself leniency and simply live and let myself live. Just simply do what I do and trust that my intentions are good enough to be good enough.

Which is a good transition to the second part of my goal this year, which is to EDIFY. All those things I just said about how I want to treat myself, I want to apply them liberally to other people. I want to uplift every person I come in contact with. Expect the best. Assume the good. Fiercely protect, defend and love. Unconditionally. Apologize. Forgive. Serve quietly and secretly. Love openly. Bite my tongue when my motives are not 100% directed toward the good of my audience or person-of-subject. No competition. No comparison. No winning or losing of the human race.

I want to openly praise and celebrate other people and their personal joys. I want to make a sincere, concentrated effort to always act with the good of every other human being as my first priority. I want to leave a path of better feelings and happier hearts in all my comings and goings, whether it's friends or strangers or servers at restaurants or people begging on street corners. What's the point of anything else? Really, honestly, what's the point of anything else?

This quote from George Saunders' convocation speech at Syracuse University sums it up pretty nicely for me:
As we get older, we come to see how useless it is to be selfish – how illogical, really. ... Most people, as they age, become less selfish and more loving. I think this is true. The great Syracuse poet, Hayden Carruth, said, in a poem written near the end of his life, that he was “mostly Love, now."
So let's do this, 2014! Just simply, mostly, love now.

...my view at midnight, after cramming on an overcrowded train to the city and falling asleep briefly on a sidewalk. I loved every crazy San Francisco minute of it.

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