I remember, as a child, watching my parents get ready for their big New Year's bashes. Then waking up the next morning to find all the discarded remains that they would bring home from the party for us kids: funny hats and crowns, shiny decorations, a bunch of crazy noise-makers. When I was a bit older, I would babysit on New Year's Eve and sit up until midnight watching tv, then ringing in the new year with the local news team. I was always amazed at the big celebrations in cities around the world. As an adult I've never really done the party thing, much preferring to stay at home with my partner and have a quiet hurrah rather than be surrounded by a bunch of drunken revelers.
New Year's has always been a special time for me, though. Time to sweep away all those disappointments and broken promises from the past year and start over with fresh resolve and hopefully more attainable goals. Until this year, I have always made carefully detailed lists of my New Year's resolutions. I would pull out the previous year's goals and think about what I succeeded with and what was thrown overboard and what would be carried forward. I would get out another sheet of paper and itemize 8-10 areas of my life that I felt needed some shoring up. There would always be the typical "get more excercise" and "eat properly", along with the practical "save money" and "stop buying so damn much yarn!". The most ironic of all was the year that I wrote down "stop making so many lists"...
This year I am done with the whole procedure. No more New Year's Resolutions lists for me. I only have one personal goal: be a happier person. Sure, I could go nuts and nitpick every aspect of my life to find all the things that need fixing so that I can become a perfect person. But I'm not going to do that. For one thing, I'm starting to suspect that making a list of goals accomplishes nothing except creating a sense of failure when life changes unexpectedly. And, really, what in my life won't be fixed if I am a happier person? I don't need a piece of paper to remind me of my flaws. I already know what they all are. What I really need is to learn how to accept them and move on.
With that in mind, I'm starting over this year with a breath of fresh air and a bunch of positive changes. And no lists.