So finally we have reached the end of Christmas/ New Year celebrations. Sitting in the shade under the playground at Geordie Bay, Rottnest ( no space on any of the chairs and tables as this small island is filled beyond capacity). It is definitely a time to take stock .
I wonder why we go on about making resolutions each new year. After all, many of us have not achieved the ones made 10 years ago. I admit that I have trotted out the same goals/ intentions/ resolutions each year for a very long time . Always recycled, sometimes discarded, often modified and occasionally partially achieved , initially anyway . But we know how hard it is to change habits so why do we keep making new resolutions . Hey , I’m sticking with the old ones, just chipping away .
I’m sticking with the old while recognising the hard facts that age and circumstance play a big role in achievement. I have always had a list of very specific actions related to broader themes. ( Yes I have in the past spent too much time on SMART goals and have fiddled around writing and re -writing lists within lists within lists…..). Dance has been on my list under FUN. I have named types of dance to try , where they are, how often sessions are held, cost . . But 10 years after that first sortie into change , or rather regaining my sense of being , I really struggle with moves in swing dance and flamenco , both of which I love .
That original spurt of attachment or insight remains . I am not altering my earlier enthusiasm for real dance to embrace “ over 55’s” exercises or ‘ chair yoga’ or whatever the current marketing pitch for the aging population . So I’m stubbornly keeping that resolution in my head and pondering , doing little bits . What I have to do is drop the bar : I am not going to be a wonderful flamenco dancer or do those smooth, fast and fun Swing moves. But I can do a modified , albeit fudged version , of the dances I like. I can just incorporate whatever bits of whatever dance style into my dance. !
I blame Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project ( Harper:2009 . Many revisions) for years of writing specific goals. Despite my somewhat dismissive tone, her book is worth reading. Just because of offering a structured yet flexible approach to adjusting some of the eternal niggles of family life. Her central premise “if my life is so wonderful , why am I not happier?” Is a useful jumping off point . . Only now do I recognise that happiness is not a constant; chasing happiness is like chasing rainbows, or shape shifting entities . The endpoint rarely meets the imagined. Nonetheless human beings are pursuers of happiness, with all its myriad of meanings , interpretations, contradictions and imperfections .
So my drive towards a happier, better life has always revolved around kindness ( good to have a core value thrown in ), having fun and being adventurous . Curiosity I believe is the basis for being and feeling alive . Pretty simple , and I don’t need to overanalyse and prescribe and measure . I’m happy now but may not feel happy just now or tomorrow. Unadulterated happiness is rare and wonderful . If it were a constant it would be another pretty ordinary part of life. So…
Just this instant I have bought a bright headband and a striped skirt at Rottnest’s Indianic clothes shop. Overpriced, but it’s the beginning of the 2023 me in action: Brightness and FUN. Adventure and kindness will follow.