Where I make a resolution that isn’t really a resolution

I went back to look at my end of year post from 2010 on my old blog to see if there was anything I could pilfer for this years’s year end post and I found this:

2010 changed me. More so than 2009 did.

But there will be no 2011 resolutions post, because I’m done making promises. 2011 is the year things will get done.

Well, damn, Kelly. Way to go actually make a resolution without making yourself aware of it, then FUCKING KEEPING IT. So much so, that I might start calling 2011 my “Quit your bitching and just fucking do it already” year.

What did I do? God, what didn’t I do – I wrote nearly an entire album’s worth of ridiculous songs for the Clarion write-a-thon (I still have a few pending), I went to VP, I had my first scientific journal article published (8 years later), I sold my first short story, I went to my first con, made lots of new friends, celebrated the last birthday of my 20’s, won NaNo, wrote a bunch of new short stories, became a slush reader for a magazine I really like, became single again, joined a REAL band, got two new tattoos, and read somewhere between 30 and 40 books. I also got 18 short story rejections this year (last year, I only got three).

A lot of these are firsts for me (the publications, the slushing, the band, the con, the workshop, the songwriting), and seeing an entire year’s worth of intense emotional experience condensed like that, it certainly LOOKS impressive. But each one on its own was the culmination of a series of consistent efforts. I didn’t have to change anything about my life for them, I just had to exert a little more effort. As such, 2011 was an incredible year, full of moments I still can’t quite believe actually happened.

I could look back on all of the resolutions I made in years past for how I want my life to be, but I’m of the mind that resolutions are terrible things. They’re a massive amount of effort to become conscious of at one point. I don’t ever want to resolve to do anything important ever again (unless it’s resolving to finish this cup of coffee, or resolving to go to the liquor store this afternoon before the party – y’know, small shit). Last year, I didn’t make a resolution for anything in particular. I just promised myself I would actually fucking DO things instead of endlessly thinking about them. That’s a slight shift in mindset, not a radical change. I can DO the slight shift in mindset thing. I LOVE the slight shift in mindset thing. And that made all the difference. That’s what made 2011 such an incredible fucking year.

So for 2012, I’m going to follow a similar tack. Sure, there are things I would LIKE to do, like read more, get more rejections, finish writing this book, write more short stories, sell another one, walk more, play some live shows, etc. But those things are things I’m already working towards. Instead, I’ve got something in mind that could be seen as a similar resolution to last year’s:

I resolve to try my hardest to make 2012 even MORE awesome than 2011 has been.

And in order to do that, I’m going to be taking Neil Gaiman’s latest New Year Benediction to heart:

I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.

Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.
So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.
Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do it.
Make your mistakes, next year and forever.

On that note, I’ll end with my own benediction. I’m not gonna try to touch what Neil said – dude’s got a way with words. And besides, I’ve put that sentiment into practice for the past three years and it hasn’t steered me wrong yet. So I want to end with something unique to this year, and hopefully unique to next year:

Be selfish: Love others like you want to be loved. Change according to how you want to be changed. And NEVER pass up a chance for adventure.

Wishing you all the happiness I wish for myself,

Happy fucking new year.

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