Now, birthdays make great milestones for self-assessment and reflection, marking another trip around the sun and all that. And heaven knows this latest Big Transition - from tenured faculty to administrator, from community college to technical college, from Seattle to Bellingham - deserves some consideration and my future career plans - eight and a half years left and counting - merit some deliberation. But although I tried to come up with something profound, or at least thoughtful, I couldn't develop a strong theme or clear focus for what I want the next year to look like.
Coco and I did make some sort-of resolutions at the new year, which I usually don't do. We used a more of this/less of that format, and my list looked like this:
I'm still working on this list - doing well on some items and not so well on others - and I'm not sure I can add another scheme to the list.
In response to Coco's question, I also thought about whether I had gained any wisdom during the last solar circumvolution that could guide me in the next, and I came up with nothing. Maybe at this stage of the game, growth is incremental or accretive rather than revolutionary or exponential; I could think of no watershed insight to use as a pathfinder. Every day I try to be a little smarter and a little kinder than the day before, and maybe that's just how it goes now.
I did have a minor revelation today, for what it was worth. While cleaning out one of the remaining bins to be unpacked from the move, I came across a cellophane post office envelope. It contained a receipt for a $6.29 cash transaction that either Coco or I made in December 2010, along with the $3.71 change from the ten-dollar bill the purchase was paid for with.
I considered this situation, and it seems to be a good choice to live the kind of life where cash money doesn't get lost in the back of a junk drawer for five years. This little vignette says a lot about being too busy, about organization, about having too much stuff, about privilege.
And maybe that's what the theme of next year, and every year, is and should be: mindfulness of all the small ways that one can live better and be better. There doesn't have to be an epiphany or a breakthrough or a bolt from the blue or a major undertaking. Maybe it is really about just paying attention and trying our best, little by little, one day at at a time.
In any case, that's what I got, and that's what I'm going with.