12 Promises

There is a line from “Life as a House” that has been bobbing in and out of my mind lately- “You know the great thing, though, is that change can be so constant you don’t even feel the difference until there is one. It can be so slow that you don’t even notice that your life is better or worse, until it is. Or it can just blow you away, make you something different in an instant. It happened to me.”  I love that idea- and I think we all are familiar with either end of the Change Spectrum, if you will. Whether you fell head over heels in love quickly, and had your world turned upside down, or you were diagnosed with an illness that slowly changes your body or mind. We all are subject to change.

When looking back on the last year of my life, I have a sinking feeling that nothing has really changed. I am in the same job (which should not necessarily be construed as a bad thing), I have primarily the same friends, I weigh the same, I still occasionally sneak a cigarette, and my “future goals” are still as vague as they were one year ago today.  I for the most part enjoy my life, but it is that lack of transformation in the course of a year that prompts me to want to do something drastic- something that can blow me away.

I have spent the last couple weeks thinking about what it is I could change that would have the biggest impact. I could give up meat. I could take up a language. I could delete my social media accounts. I could force myself to lose 20 pounds. I could take up a new hobby like glass blowing. I could go back to school.  The list goes on and on. I pondered each of these things, and found them to be far too restrictive, or to be too much of an undertaking, while still maintaining a full-time work schedule and social life. That is why I have devised my 2014 Battle Plan: I will make one of these changes each month.

Think of it like a rule in Kings (the drinking game). When someone pulls a King, they are allowed to make a rule. However, that rule will only last until the next King card is drawn.  I suppose some people play it with the rule that those laws overlap, but I have always preferred a turnover of King’s card rules.  So, when it comes to the year: Each month, I will make a new rule for myself- Whether it is to give something up, or to do something a certain amount of times, or to introduce something new to my life, if only for the month.  Some may call it the cheater’s way out of making a full commitment to any one change. Rather, I believe it is a more realistic way of making several positive changes over a long period of time. I don’t know which ones may stick, and which ones I may cast off after the month. Either way, it is more of an experiment in will power than it is a Resolution.

Now, for the months.  This month, I came up with the initial plan a bit late into the game. However, something I did last week somewhat fits with my year-long plan. I emailed the conductor of a local symphony, inquiring as to whether or not they had need for a violist. I got a rather eager response, and am going to take a leap of faith and go ahead and join. My first rehearsal with the Eastside Symphony Orchestra is this Thursday night- I’m not sure if I’m more excited or terrified. Mostly excited. I have missed music in my life, and feel that its presence (or lack thereof) has always had a huge impact on my mood and overall wellbeing. So, although I do certainly plan on making music a full-year (and perhaps full-life) commitment, that will be my January promise…..I hadn’t thought of what I’m doing as a promise until just that moment- but that’s what it is. A promise to myself to make the changes necessary so that in a year’s time, I will look back and have only feelings of pride and accomplishment, rather than regret and listlessness. So yes, I promise to be the change I want in my life. No one else is going to do it.

Thus far, I only have this month solidly decided. However, I have already been toying with ideas for what I would like to promise myself to do in February. I am most seriously considering making it “No Facebook February”. But I haven’t quite decided yet.

Stay tuned.

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