Monday, January 7, 2013

Devotion in 2012: My Resolution Review

Michigan Trees Summer Evening 

I for one am thrilled that 2012 is over.  I’m even more thrilled that I did not become pregnant, an alcoholic, or both.  (You think I’m kidding.  I’m not.)  I am probably less happy and healthy than I was at the start of 2012, but I didn’t start digging my grave either.  I’m okay.  I survived.  I have a chance at a new year now, a metaphorical fresh start.  I learned a lot

Today I want to review my resolutions from 2012 with an eye toward what worked, what didn’t, and where to go from here.

* Publish, publish, publish.  I had hoped to publish my first-author paper by the end of 2012.  That did not happen.  I did however submit three grants (one was a resubmission) and self-publish a piece on scientists and teaching that The Chronicle was not interested in publishing.  (The Chronicle is more geared toward the humanities anyway in my estimation, so it’s not super surprising that they didn’t take my piece.)

I put an enormous amount of work into those grants, and I’m hopeful that we’ll get funding for my project this year.  Whatever the outcome, though, I am at peace knowing that I did everything I could to stick with my work during a very difficult year.

As a bonus, I also published 139 posts on the ol’ blog here, and I am darn close to publishing 600 posts total.  Pretty cool!

Verdict: I am going to declare this resolution a success!

* Peace and quiet.  I had resolved to establish some practices to make peace and quiet a routine part of my life as a way to manage my chronic anxiety.  I wrote, “For this year, I am going to try a 2x2 approach: yoga twice a week where I do a 20+-minute session, and two evenings a week during which dinner is a quiet, candlelit meal.”

Yeah, that didn’t happen.  In a year when quiet time usually led to me crying inconsolably (and I cried a lot at night—it was awful), I started to avoid spending time alone with my thoughts.  My days already have plenty of built-in quiet time, such as when I’m running or biking, and I just couldn’t take more of it.  There was too much sadness in my heart.

I did, however, practice yoga once a week most weeks, and I almost always do some yoga stretches before bed.  Toward the end of the year, I rediscovered Gabrielle Bernstein and have become more interested in trying to meditate.  Mostly, though, I remember this quote and feel better:

“Those who are certain of the outcome can afford to wait, and wait without anxiety.”

So now, whenever I feel I am waiting for something to change, I remember that I am certain of the outcome: it’s going to be okay.  I don’t know the specifics, but it’s going to be okay. 

Verdict: Resolution fail, but it’s going to be okay. 

* Thoughtful consumerism.  I’m really pleased with how this resolution turned out.  Let me say upfront that I did NOT do what I proposed at the beginning of 2012.  I didn’t pursue any blog-based partnerships with green or sustainable living companies.  But I did use the idea of thoughtful consumerism to spend more time writing about my approaches to thoughtful consumerism.  I wrote about biking for your groceries, awesome wrapsacks for carrying your belongings, and simplifying my life with small decisions.  I dabbled in veganism for a month and emerged much more aware of how subversive it is to choose not to eat animals.  Toward the end of the year, I started a series on freedom and what it means to me, and I’m going to keep writing on that topic as time permits.  (This post is the most current one in that series and contains links to the other posts, if you’re interested.)

Verdict: Success!  I loved all these projects.    

* Bonus: “Devotion” as my single-word intention for 2012.  That single word really carried me through a hard year.  I thought about it frequently, and it reinforced my commitment to all that I have created and built in my life.  It provided a kind of metaphysical foundation for me when I felt like I was in freefall.  Devotion.  It’s powerful stuff.  Devotion is a prayer, a wish, a hope.  It’s being present in the moment.  But it’s also remembering that life is bigger than whatever is weighing your heart down right now.  Devotion is the union of past, present, and future, woven together into the actions you choose for today.  2012 was a year that needed devotion.  I feel like a warrior.

Verdict: Success.

Some years we thrive, others we just survive.  2012, we are finished.  And I believe that 2013 is going to be a better year.


Chrissy (The New Me) said...

Sounds like a very successful year to me! I especially loved your progress on thoughtful consumerism - it gave me lots to think about as well, so thanks for that.

Here's to 2013!

Raquelita said...

I think you did an amazing job with many of your goals in spite of having a year that took a really substantial emotional toll on you. I'd definitely call those things successes. And I'm going to be ruminating about the intersections between vegetarianism and subversion for a while now.

Rosiecat said...

Oh, you guys! You are so nice to me. I feel bad now that I was feeling more negative than positive when I wrote this post, but you are right: when it comes to goals, 2012 was a great year for me. And maybe that's a lesson for me: that sometimes a great year contains daunting challenges. Maybe I should take a moment to celebrate my success rather than dwelling on the hard stuff. Where's a bottle of wine when you need one? :-)

Rosiecat said...

Also, Chrissy, I am so happy to hear you enjoyed the posts on thoughtful consumerism. It was such a pleasure to explore that topic last year, and I'm thrilled that it resonated with at least one of you.

Raquelita, I have to say that the subversive element of being vegetarian really didn't catch up with me until this year, and that's after more than ten years of meatless eating! I never rebelled for the sake of rebelling (plus my parents are very permissive in many ways), but practicing veganism and vegetarianism last year became much more political for me in ways that I don't think I fully understand. I have to think more about this, but I believe a large part of it has to do with politics, patriarchy, and the practice of domination that our culture reveres. It's heavy stuff, for sure.