Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Hello, 2008.

Holy crap, 2008. When I was a kid, we took a class field trip to the airport in hometown of neon, because it was about to be renovated. The final finishing date? 2000. I remember thinking "whoa. 2000. It will never be the year 2000!" And yet here we are, 8 years past. With that in mind, I suppose it's time for me to think about resolutions, no?

I don't have to read back over every blog post to know that the past year has been crazy. Too many projects, responsibilities, altercations; too much whinging and panic and rage and resentment. Looking at my bank account, there was also too much impulse buying. Gauging from my firmly ensconced spare tire, I'd say there was too much eating of crap, as well. Do we sense a theme here? Ah yes: apparently 2007 was the year of excess.

So, I'd like 2008 to be the year of restraint. That's not quite the word I'm looking for, as it implies holding back. What's the word that means existing in the middle---neither deprived nor glutted? Is it "measured"? [I just couldn't go with 2008 being "the year of being measured." shudder.] I'll come up with a vocabulary term for it. But here's what I'm thinking: I have a tendency to swing toward extremes and at the drop of a hat. It's part of my magpie syndrome, I think, which generally consists of this mindset: "Oooh! Look over there! Sparkly! fly great distance to see said thing, find out that it is indeed lovely, but then... "oooh! Look over THERE! Shiny!" lather, rinse, repeat. This might explain how I've managed to teach something like 24 new courses in 5 years, and how I've managed to do far less writing than I ever imagined I would. It's hard to get articles written when you keep changing your field.

Magpie syndrome is also abetted by a deep and abiding love for self-punishment, which I began trying to manage at the end of the year (see here). As in: you're not allowed to leave the house until you grade papers. 48 hours later, I'm still in my pajamas, have graded 0 papers, and have not left the house all weekend. [One of the things that happens in that 48 hours? Internet shopping. Five hours, for example, spent trying to find the perfect sweater online to match a skirt that I never wear.]

The element that holds magpie syndrome, self-punishment and online shopping together, it seems to me, is excess. (Let's not call it obsessive compulsive behavior, shall we? It's so pathological. But I do need to wash my hands.) So my theme for the year is to try to temper the excess. Does that make my theme for the year "temperance"? Like some sort of early suffragist? It's so terribly unappealing, that word. And it's not what I mean at all. What do I mean, exactly?

I want the year in which I learn to enjoy the feeling of delving deeply into things (hear that, inner magpie? Peck past the shiny!); to wring out the joy before moving on to something else. To choose projects and commitments wisely, so as to be able to engage in them fully. To do more with less. To create an economy/perpetual motion machine of energy and good will and good work. All of this, I think, is generated out of fullness, not out of a need to conserve.

Bust open those vocabularies, dear readers, and give me a theme for 2008!



Blogger Frenchie Foo said...

I am definitely not the best person to ask, but my guess would be something like "moderation" coupled with "fulfillment". When you figure it out, let me know. I could use a little of that myself! Happy 2008!

Tuesday, January 01, 2008 12:35:00 PM  

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