For some reason, saying that year out loud actually sounds like we’re in that ‘future’ time zone. It seems to fit better with the sci-fi feel of those tales from the past, the ones about the distant future and all the bizarre but accepted inventions and ideals that would populate it. Saying 2016 out loud, sitting at my laptop in front of a shaded bedroom window, makes me feel like if I twitched the curtain back I’d see not my typical courtyard but the black expanse of space, dotted with stars and asteroids; that my comfy red bathrobe is really a spacesuit and my coffee really some artificially grown bean that bears no resemblance to anything natural.
2016. I’ve been watching and reading a lot of futuristic fantasy things lately.
I’ve never been a sentimental sort. Symbolism and tradition are things I don’t connect to very deeply. I was born to question everything, and I think this had led me to a fundamental belief from which spring most of my philosophies- everything is made up. We are a planet full of silly creatures playing pretend. Time is a thing that we’ve created to exert a sense of order over things, and calendars are nonsensical boxes that symbolize days that were created for the same purpose. I find this to be an incredibly freeing sense of things. I believe in the Earth and the natural order of things. I’m a tiny bag of blood and water, stuck to a giant spinning rock, surrounded by stars and infinity.
2016. The number doesn’t mean anything to me, really, but boy do I love the way it sounds.
I think this strange belief of mine, which basically boils down to ‘nothing matters, and so everything does’, is why I really loved something I read this morning. It was about making promises to yourself as opposed to resolutions. Make promises to yourself, instead of imposing demands. Offer yourself a chance to do things for yourself and not to yourself.
2016, a year for promises.
I promise myself…that every time I go to light a cigarette, I will think first. That I’m stealing minutes from myself to enjoy this tiny little life I was gifted with and am terrified of losing, that I’m stealing time that my son gets to spend with me and I with him. That I am risking the terrifying monster of cancer, what that monster would do not only to me but to those who love me, to our bank account and our psyche, and the demands it would put upon those that I would never wish to inconvenience. I will think of vanity, that each puff sucks calcium and strength from my bones, and makes my hair smell, and will eventually deepen the wrinkles around my mouth until they grow to resemble a tightly cinched drawstring bag, as it steals my healthy lung tissue and the elasticity from my skin.
I promise myself…that I will turn to fidgets and tips and tricks and to overcome the idiotic and irritating disorder called trichotillomania that drives me, without thought, to pull out my own damn hair. I’ll pick up my little Buddha and rub his belly instead.
I promise myself…that I will write. Be it in a journal or on a napkin or on this cool little light up keyboard that I’m banging away at now for the first time in months. Even if it’s ugly or small or terrible, I will write. That I will draw, that I will create, that I will remember how to bask in the joy of dancing even if it’s only to boogie in front of the kitchen sink while I wash the dishes.
I promise myself…that I will pay attention. To the way the cold air blows through the window and how it feels on my face, to the way that the bleached out sky looks the cover of some cheesy 80’s dystopian future paperback novel. To people when they speak to me, even if I’m not that interested in what they’re saying. To the way the warm little fur-covered fat ball of cat feels when it snuggles into my lap. To how fucking glorious it feels to step into a blistering hot shower. To how inherently happy I feel in random moments, and to how the melancholy moods crack open my soul just a little bit more to empathy.
I promise myself…that I will practice mindfulness and gratitude. I will try to slow the hell down, to do things one at a time and stop pretending that multi-tasking is actually productive. I will try to remember to taste the food that I eat, and be thankful that I have it. To be grateful for everything, even the small things, like hitting every green light on the drive home.
I promise myself…that I will remind myself over and over again of what I meant when I got a tattoo that says ‘make your choice‘ – to live from intention and not from habit.
I promise myself…that I will do more than dip my toe into the stream of consciousness that is my truest self, instead of watching it rush by me, lapping over it’s banks and thinking, huh, I bet it would be fun to ride those rapids to wherever they’re going in such a hurry.
I promise myself…that I will remember the joy of the journey, and let go of the fear of an unknown destination.
2016. The year of promise.