Contest Entry, letter to self
First, New Year’s is just a date on the calendar. You can start a new year whenever you decide you want a change. You can revise a resolution, drop it, or create a new one any time you like. There are no rules, okay? You can change your mind because a resolution is too hard, not really what you want after all, or you just had too many at one time. You can delay one due to illness or other life circumstances. There are no deadlines, only targets.
Now with that out of the way, you will not berate yourself or dump on yourself when you’re disappointed or miss your target. You will celebrate your successes. Stop and analyze once in a while to see if you’re making progress.
All in all, 2014 was not your worst year. It may have been better than any in recent memory. It had some low moments, but you’ve had some pretty rotten years, and this one didn’t come close to those. So be thankful, and decide that 2015 will be good.
You know you want to de-clutter your life. All those special dishes, holiday cookie jars, and so forth need to go. The TV console that sits on the floor needs to go, even if it does still work. The piano in the garage from the early 1900’s is going to be someone’s firewood. Let it go. The clothes you don’t wear, no matter how expensive they were, need to hang in someone else’s closet, maybe a theatre wardrobe. They’re not coming back in style. If they’re too big or too small, get rid of them. Heavens forbid the big ones should fit again, but if you lose weight, you want new things, not styles from three years ago. They’ll just make you look older!
Knick knacks, keepsakes, memorabilia…you don’t need them. Pick out one or two and let two or three go. Then start over. Buy some new bed pillows and throw out the ones that have compacted to half their size. Replace that chair that your dad sits in. He’s not attached to it emotionally. He just hates spending the money on a new one. So you do it. The house needs refreshing, just like your closets, and drawers, and jewelry boxes.
Be honest; you’re not going to find more time for reading or writing. Your dad is requiring more of your attention and chauffeuring. It’s a year for catching up on overdue medical tests for yourself, and you might require some minor repair on joints. So settle for the status quo with your responsibilities; at least maintain what you already do on that front, and pay attention to your duties.
You don’t have children or grandchildren of your own. When you’re in the nursing home yourself, or needing assistance in your old age, you need to be sure you have a circle of friends who will look out for you. So that means you’ve got to start looking out more for others not related to you now. You need to spend more time with friends. You have an excess of things, but not relationships.
Then there’s that negative voice in your head. It fusses at you all the time. It points out your faults and your shortcomings. It tells you that you deserve not to have things work out right. It even jumps into the stories you write and tries to control how things go. This is harder than it sounds, I know, but you have to tune out that voice. Fight back. You do deserve happiness. You deserve to finish your stories on time, to write poems, to spend time with a book. You deserve success as much as the next guy, so don’t let that voice tell you otherwise. And the characters in your stories can find happiness and love without being sappy.
It’s okay to feel proud of your accomplishments. I don’t think we have to worry about a swollen head or ego trip. At this point, you know you won’t lose your sense of humility, so enjoy a pat on the back once in a while. Remind yourself that you are a good person, a stable, realistic, well-balanced person. You’re no better than anybody else, but you aren’t any less important either. You can hold your head up around beautiful, powerful, sophisticated people and know that you are just as worthy of respect and dignity.
It may be embarrassing to you to give yourself such a pep talk, but read this from time to time. Maybe you’ll have the reassurance you need to have a good 2015. Celebrate life.