Paring down New Year’s resolutions is all the thing, if you bother with them at all. The one-word resolution is about five years old, according to Uncle Google, but new to me. I read about Laura Lippman’s resolution (“appreciation”) via my friend Sal Towse (“finish.”) I decided my one-word resolution for 2014 would be “value.” It has so many meanings but the one I’m focusing on is doing things that have value to me, and providing value to others in the work I do. In other words I don’t want to put anything schlocky out there, I want it to have intrinsic value because of its beauty, its usefulness, and its reach. And I want to put things with value into my life and my head as well. I want to read things with value, watch things with value, do things with value.
Then I had a change of heart. Hey, it’s only January 8th. There’s still time to change! Should my one word be “intention” or maybe “intentional?” As in, I want to do things on purpose in 2014, to be intentional, to have a plan and not float along by the seat of my pants, grabbing whatever shiny object catches my eye. Which pretty much explains me, and bugs me about myself. So is “intentional” a negative resolution? Because if it is about something I want to fix in myself, no thanks. Those never work. I want to stay positive. Or is intentional just like that old GOALS FOR THE NEXT FIVE YEARS list in the back of the desk drawer? Because that one, dusted off once in a great while, really worked. (I have no idea where it is now, so, no, I can’t read it back for you.) If you’re young, I encourage you to think big, to set your sights on something and go for it. But once you’ve met the major goals of your life, like ‘finish a book,’ ‘publish a book,’ ‘make sure your kids graduate from college,’ and ‘don’t die before 60,’ it’s time to regroup. What sort of goals do you make for the last half/third/quarter of your life? ‘Don’t die before 80’ is looking good but doesn’t have much pizzazz.
Which brings me back to ‘value.’ I’m a writer, maybe I can’t deal with just one word. In the beautiful new Billings Public Library a quote on the scrim from Margaret Atwood reads: “A word after a word after a word is power.” I love that (and the new library, left – wow.) One word can convey many meanings to many people. But words strung together are true strength. They can change the world. I value that quote, Ms. Atwood. I value the works of thinkers and writers and artists. And I will value my own work in 2014 and work with intention to offer the very best I can.
What are your resolutions?