This year I made resolutions for the first time ever. Many situational changes in 2013, combined with internal shifts, required that I plant my feet and carry on with intent. Since I need logic to keep me going, I had to spend some time thinking about the architecture of resolve. Here’s how I deconstructed my resolutions, and built them back up.
If I abstract all my thinking up, I resolved to work at, in, and towards more good. So abstract as to be useless. We’ll try the next level of detail. I want to work towards feeling good for myself, and doing good for others. How about that? Still too vague. We’ve arrived at the point where detail lives in implementation.
Here’s something I know.
It’s a waste of capacity to bash away heedlessly at what you want. Better to try as hard to remove obstacles as to set goals.
Obstacles In The Path Of Goodness
Two things really get in my way.
- Aches and pains. Over the past 3 decades I’ve remained moderately active, relying largely on native strength and health. The bell has rung for that approach. I injured my foot, just walking. Recently I have torn something in my shoulder, through a mix of careless weight-lifting after a few years off, compounded by the incredibly dangerous past-time of putting on a fitted jacket. Exactly. Time to admit that I have to put my body first. This has nothing to do with weight, or visual appeal. It has everything to do with reducing the distractions of pain and physical constraints of age.
- Organization, of both space and tasks. The two years I spent working wreaked havoc on my paperwork and closets. Stuff overflows, tasks niggle. Time to complete and clear.
Resolutions: 1) Sign up at a gym with personal trainers, one to which I belonged a decade ago. See it as a medical expense, not one of vanity. Shin splits prevent running, I hate cold swimming pools, I failed at finding a good yoga class. But I’ve always loved a gym. 2) Reorganize my space, file my papers, and learn how to use eBay. I will be selling the good pieces of clothing I no longer wear, taking the decent stuff to Goodwill, and donating bags of books to the library. Look for a post soon on how to use eBay. Just as soon as my advisor explains it.
I do not call these goals, by the way. My goal is not to be organized and fit. My goal is to feel good – torpitude and chaos are just obstacles I’ve got to remove.
Picking The Dangling Fruit Of Good
There must be a million and one ways to actively feel good. I’m genetically cheerful, and life has taught me by now what sets off my endorphin flow. Writing, reading, being read, and caring for my loved ones. Also eating and drinking, but those are in maintenance mode, with an occasional slip and resultant recommitment. No need for new focus.
So here are my 2014 goals and plans.
- Blog on.
- I love writing Privilege, and I will continue to try very hard to balance self-driven writing with value to you guys.
- Posting will stick to the same schedule and topics – perhaps with a few more house style discussions. After all, I’m home now.
- The Privilege monetization model will change. I used to have ample finances and no time. In that context I set up programs to drive Privilege revenue, i.e. RewardStyle, LinkShare, Amazon Affiliates, and ShopSense,, to be donated to Dress For Success. How much did I actually collect? Spoiler Alert: Turns out making money from a blog requires skills more advanced than mine, or an agenda more accommodating of product links.
- $200 from Satchi Online. Remember that post? I wasn’t thinking about Mr. Saatchi’s controversy at the time. Perhaps I would have had second thoughts, but the women who run that site deserve support despite their boss’s terrible behavior.
- $200 from LinkShare. And I’d sure love to know which lucky person is now sporting the Halsbrook tunic. Love that piece.
- I ostensibly earned about $5o0 from RewardStyle, but they delay payment for a long time, waiting to see who returns goods, I suppose? Let’s assume eventually I will see a check.
- I have also earned $60 via Amazon Affiliates, but they won’t pay out until the end of this month.
- So this January I’m giving $1000 to Dress for Success to fulfill my original intent.
- Now that I’ve got more time than money, in 2014 I will use any proceeds from blog monetization to buy clothes to wear and show here.
- I’ll be including more items from lower price ranges, and reviewing more clothes that I don’t actually keep. I hope that a thorough analysis of boyfriend jean options, for example, avec photos, will make a plausible substitution for real life viewings of a Dries van Noten dress. We shall see. And I’m always open to feedback.
- Volunteer to help mothers and children. Although I’m changing the blog monetization model, I’m not abandoning service. This I approach with heart, not logic. Mothers and babies move me to tears, and that’s something I want to give space. I’ll be reviewing related programs in my area and scheduling in regular volunteer time.
- Care for my husband. I’m newly married. My husband works hard. For the first time in my life, I am supporting someone else not with financial resources, but with time and care. I plan to do a good job. And yes, I’m a feminist, and yes, I’ll be caring for my family and children too.
- Writing With A Capital W. I still have that book outline and brief proposal that I filed away in 2011. I will take another stab at getting an agent. However, if I realize in the process that I am simply not a book-writer, that I love the 1,000 word format too dearly, I will also make a stab at getting an article published somewhere. This blog has allowed me to settle into a voice, and hone my skills. What I really want out of writing that I haven’t gotten yet is broad audience. I may fail, that’s what stopped me in my 20s. What good is life if you can’t work up some courage over 30 years?
- Stay open to the idea of a new job, if it’s the right one. Somewhere I love the product, I can manage a team, and the company culture is a good fit. My time at VerticalResponse reminded me how much I love software, conceiving it, designing it, and working to help get it built.
It’s been interesting to actually write out this list. I find myself thinking, “Wow. That’s a lot. How will I manage to take walks to Whole Foods, putter in the garden, watch Game of Thrones?” So let’s just put recreation into the goal category too. After all, this is retirement, not How To Execute The Bejeezus Out Of My 50s While Winning Prizes For To-Do List Completion. Some of us, we know who we are, need to remember that smelling the roses is not a competitive sport.