January 1st, 2010

Here we are.  The very beginning.  I will welcome you to this blog, and then we will get on with it, okay?


Welcome to this blog.

Okay, fine, I’ll add a bit to that… We (my blog and I, clearly) are excited to be here and we hope you are too.  Don’t get too comfortable, though, because this blog is not meant to be a virtual club chair, upholstered in chintz and scattered with pillows.  This blog is meant to be uncomfortable.  Not shoes-too-tight uncomfortable.  Rather, perhaps, shoes-too-big uncomfortable; the kind of uncomfortable that reminds you (and me) that we have room to grow and that we should do just that.  And so, with that in mind, I will be writing about topics that will challenge me, stretch my mind, and prompt me to think about things in new ways.  As I work to challenge myself, I hope to challenge you too. And I hope that you, in turn, will challenge me back.  It’s a two-way street, this blogging thing…

Now that we’ve dispensed with introductions, I’m moving along.

New Year’s Day has always been one of my favorites. I suppose this is because it’s a holiday with nothing to do. No large meals to prepare, no presents to open, no eggs to hide, fireworks to ignite, or costumes to don. And while I love those other holidays and their pre-ordained activities, there’s something soothing about a holiday that arrives without an agenda.

Of course, what do we do with this perfectly empty holiday?  We ruin it with resolutions. We make long lists and craft complex self-improvement programs.  We quit smoking. We quit drinking.  We quit cursing.  We work out.  We make vows. We will pray more, thank more, praise more, hug more, forgive more, love more. We will quit watching reality television and start reading Pulitzer-Prize-winning novels. We will cook from scratch. We will drink 76 glasses of water a day. And on, and on, and on.

And so I am prone to wonder.  What do I want for this year? In what ways do I hope I will be different when the doors of 2010 close?

They are compelling questions, and questions that I haven’t answered in several years; at least not in the form of a list of resolutions.  Why?  Not because I have no room for improvement.  Certainly not.  I suppose it’s because to me resolutions beg us to define ourselves as a set of faults.  These are the things that are wrong with me.  And I think that’s rather a sad way to start a new year.

But yet, anything less somehow seems like a cop out.  I have decided that resolutions are negative and sad, and so I will not make them. Cheater!  Hardly in line with the aforementioned purpose of this blog.  Perhaps there is a middle ground.  But as I consider what that middle ground might be, every option I weigh seems like a watered down version of a resolution.

And so, if I am setting out this day to commence a year of challenging myself, then I see no option save for a return to the classic list of resolutions.  I will almost certainly fail at some of them.  But perhaps I will find some victories as well.  And perhaps I will have made strides that I’m proud of at the end of this year.  One thing I know for certain, I will not have any accomplishments under my belt if I don’t have any goals.  With that, this year I resolve to:

  1. Challenge myself mentally by considering new ideas and by more frequently thinking about things broader in reach than the confines of my daily life.
  2. Read more non-fiction.
  3. Meet new people who challenge my preconceived notions about the world.
  4. Eat more fruits and vegetables.
  5. Travel to interesting places; some new adventures and some old favorites.

Now that we’ve got that covered I imagine I will spend the rest of this day idle (perhaps while munching on fruits and vegetables).  Because despite my goals for the year, today is a day for taking it easy (and recovering from whatever it is you did last night).

 I have high hopes for this year and for this blog. And I hope you do too.

19 Responses to “Resolved”

  1. clarkscottroger Says:

    Permit me to be the first to Comment; and compliment you on a blog with a good sense of where you are and where you might not mind finding yourself…
    Being relatively, (actually make that quite), new at this blogging thing, I try to read as many other blogs as possible, (‘tag search’, very useful WP tool) as it is by seeing what others are doing (in this blogosphere) that I learn and develop my skills at crafting my own blog.
    Very good start…
    Resolutions, huh? I’m sure you have done the oldest of the old, “I resolve to never make resolutions”… but I happen to agree with your sentiment that to begin with a negative does not help getting and staying positive.

    (Despite what I may have said on the Doctrine today (lol, I had to write something!) I really think the most important quality is to be open to the new/strange/different/varied, all of what we may not be at the current time.)

    Good blog!

  2. Anne Says:

    Congrats on the blog! I already love it. And I’m excited to follow along with your “ten-dollar thoughts”. Although I can’t always promise my comments will be of the ten-dollar caliber. But I’ll try. Anyway, I think your idea about defining oneself as a series of faults is interesting…so often, resolutions ARE about the things we wish were different about ourselves. I think it’s important strive for the good in ourselves, but to acknowledge that we are, in fact, human. We’ll mess up, but it’s worth the stumble if we end up somewhere greater than before. Great first post, and so glad you’re sharing your thoughts with us all.

  3. JD Says:

    Congratulations on the new venture, Gale. I wish you well and look forward to the challenge and ‘push’ you provide yourself as well as those that follow you on the blog. Being of the sr set these things amaze me as more and more tools of communication and engagement open for dialogue. I look for the challenge, the perspective, and the imagination of your efforts. Well done and off we go. Happy New Year.

  4. Gale Says:

    Thanks, Anne. Your comments are always welcome. My posts may not all measure up to my ten-dollar standard either. But as long as we’re trying, that’s what matters.

    You’re right that we should focus more on our strengths. As I work to challenge myself this year I will also try to leverage my strengths in that effort.

  5. Gale Says:

    JD – Yes, the internet is an incredible tool. I never would have expected to join this community for personal growth and exchange of ideas. Yet here I am. I am optimistic about the opportunities I will find here. And I appreciate your warm welcome.

  6. creat1ve11 Says:

    I’m excited for you and your blog, and happy to read that you want to challenge yourself and others. Let’s hear it for “shoes-too-big uncomfortable”! That’s a laudable quest. I’ll look forward to your future posts.


  7. Meghan Says:

    So excited that you’ve launched your own blog, Gale! I look forward to reading, being challenged, and growing in this year ahead. Happy 2010!

  8. Gale Says:

    Thanks, creat1ve11! This will be a big adventure indeed. I’m glad you’ll be along for the ride. Happy New Year!

  9. Gale Says:

    Meaghan! So glad you stopped by. This blogging thing will certainly be a bird of a different feather for me. But I’m very excited to give it a shot. I think it will be a good challenge for me, and hopefully for others as well. Happy New Year!

  10. Elizabeth Says:

    Congrats on your new endeavor! Anne mentioned you were thinking of starting one; good for you for just doing it! Happy New Year.

  11. Gale Says:


    Thanks for your comment! I feel like an official blogger now. I’m excited to be here and am looking forward to meeting many new people through my blogging. Clearly, I’m off to a good start.

    Yes, resolutions can be a sticky wicket. After a multi-year hiatus I feel good about starting this year with some goals. I’ll be sure to keep you posted on my progress.

    Best wishes for a very happy new year!

  12. Jan Says:

    It has never dawned on me that resolutions suggest a negative view of ourselves. I’ve been making resolutions for about 30 years now, and have probably not kept any–especially the one about weight, which is the same every year. I’ll never make it back to 128 pounds. Anyway, nice blog.

  13. Beth Says:

    Hi Gale–
    Looking forward to reading more! Keep it up!

  14. Gale Says:

    I suppose the idea of resolutions isn’t supposed to be negative. Rather, we’re supposed to be inspired to improve upon ourselves. But nevertheless, they don’t really start with our best qualities, do they?

    128 pounds is arbitrary (someone else might be struggling to reach 185…). Are there more important things in your life that are worth celebrating?

  15. Gale Says:

    Thanks, Beth. I hope you enjoy it here! Happy New Year.

  16. Gale Says:

    Thanks, Elizabeth. I’ve really enjoyed Life in Pencil these past several months, so I’m excited to join your ranks!

  17. christina Says:

    Yes, high hopes for this year, too.
    Looking forward to reading more from you.

  18. Ten Dollar Thoughts » Blog Archive » Pleased to Meet You Says:

    [...] But you do know me, at least a little bit.  You know where my mind wanders.  You know about my goals for this year.  You know of my beliefs about friendship.  You know about some of my insecurities.  You know [...]

  19. Ten Dollar Thoughts » Blog Archive » Eat Your Veggies Says:

    [...] for that goal I stated it clearly and on the record.  At the same time I offered up some smaller resolutions for the year in front of me.  And as it turns out that large goal and one of the smaller resolutions are about [...]