Sunday, 10 January 2010

The freedom to dream

Now my flat is stripped bare of the pretty little lights that basked us all in a star-like glow. The Christmas tree sits outside, in the snow, and routines return to normal.

This is the year 2010. I have no idea what it expects of me, or I of it. As usual, I have hopes for the year, but not resolutions. To call them that word is to ignore the unpredictability of life, which is something that entrances me, in all its defiance, its waywardness, its sense of adventure. And sometimes, as the flipside – its disappointments, meanderings and sudden abruptions.

But, I hope. I hope that I do all or some of these things:

  • Go on holiday with my university friends to celebrate ten years of knowing each other. TEN YEARS. That deserves celebrating, especially as these people saw me finally emerge from my chrysalis. 
  • Also celebrate ten years, in late December, with my warm and wonderful boyfriend, who is all the serotonin I need. 
  • Start growing some vegetables. Start growing anything
  • Write for more websites. 
  • Write more, full stop. 
  • Learn how to fix bicycles. 
  • Learn how to swim. 
  • Do the naked bike ride – get rid of my inhibitions and recognise that it’s all just flesh and form. And raise money for a great cause too. 
  • Try to fill a god-shaped hole. Meditate? Read more poetry? Volunteer work? 
  • Build a nest somewhere out of this small town
  • Invest money wisely. 
  • Learn how to knit (the basics). 
  • Appreciate my family all the more. 
  • Engage with the countryside. Flee the city sometimes. 
  • Go to the ballet. (I have never been.)
  • Stop being so socially phobic, so worried about what people are thinking, so self-analysing. Forge connections and let them do the rest. 
  • Just be a nicer person. 
  • Keep a list of all the films I watch, the plays I see and the books I read. Score them so I can know which were my favourites by the end of the year...(geeky, I know, but how fun?). 
I am a compulsive list planner, as you can probably tell. Sometimes the ambitions are just too big and everything falls apart at the seams. Sometimes I manage to do it and enjoy the thing all the more for knowing I can ‘cross it off’.

Occasionally I think this is a bad, dirty habit. If I spent less time writing down lists, I might actually do things.

But I also think there is something beautiful about these lists: something that reflects the beauty of a New Year start.

Although the change of date is humanmade and arbitrary, it is still a ‘wiping slate’ moment. The clock strikes midnight and people give themselves permission to hope, to yearn, to imagine the impossible – the freedom to dream.

And I am dreaming. I am dreaming of a year that is perhaps more inward, more of mind than matter. But a year where I prove myself to myself, and vanquish hard feelings. Why not? I can do it. That is the spirit of January. “I can do it.” “I can give up smoking.” “I can lose weight.” “I can give up my job and backpack the world.” Whether we do it or not, thank god we are trying. That god we are forgiving ourselves and beginning again. 

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