I was joking the other day about how I was planning to send new year’s cards with a “what happened in 2015” letter that basically said “Nothing, really, thank god.” We had a calm, comfortable uneventful year. The kitchen window is still uninstalled; the back of the house is still leaking water in heavy rains, but we’re all still here, with no wolves at the door. And I enjoyed myself.
That’s a pretty low bar to cover, frankly. But the world feels so chaotic and poised for such terrible things that I’ll take it.
In the spirit of keeping the bar low, I don’t make new year’s resolutions, either. Last year, I saw this article at Vox, about how people are bad at conceptualizing their future selves as themself. We don’t properly steward our lives to protect the person we will be in a few years because we literally view that person as a stranger with no connection to us. That’s ridiculous, after all, there is no person more deeply related to us than the person we will be in a few years, but it also makes sense because it mirrors my experience of living. So, last year, I intended to make choices aimed at better preparing the way for my future self. I failed at all of them. Although I was pretty good at managing my money better and I worked at being a better friend, I did not go to the gym as regularly as intended and did not make my pro bono work more of a routine. I hope to be better in 2016.
But I did hold my tongue more often and I think managed to be kinder for it. I practiced saying “please” and “thank you”–a thing it only took me most of my adult life to realize I’m bad at doing. I stuck to my physical therapy exercises; tried to be tidy, productive, measured.
My generous friend Dave set up a schedule for volunteering at RMDH and all of my friends took part in #GivingTuesday (with many of them donating to my organization). I took time to be grateful for these wonderful people in my life.
There I things I hope for 2016 are nearly all under my control. Some travel, more enjoyment of the things Chicago has to offer, more focused work on my personal projects, going out to my parents’ house more often. Eating less, doing more yoga, using up the fabric in my stash before I buy more. Being more generous, more patient.
Primarily I’d like to keep on this slowly getting better route I’m on and be more mindful of the stranger than will be me in five years.