Like many people, I used to make New Year’s resolutions. Most years they followed similar patterns – lose weight, try harder with something. In many ways they were exercises in beating myself up, focusing on ways in which I found myself insufficient. A few years ago I came to the conclusion that it didn’t achieve much.
January and New Year, Calends Januarius is an old Roman festival presided over by Janus, God of doorways. Two headed he looks into the past, and the future simultaneously. It’s one of those arbitrary human dates, no more objectively ‘real’ than any other feature of our calendar. But at the same time, it creates an opportunity that we can use. Passing from the old calendar year into the next one, we can pause and look back, and forwards.
Reviewing what has gone before does not need to be an exercise in blame, judgement or beating yourself up. Life is not a pass/fail scenario. But looking back, with honesty and a desire to learn is worth the time. And then looking forwards, to see what might be possible. What would we do if we dared? Dream big, and wild, and see if it’s possible to make that happen.
Looking behind me, it’s been the weirdest, wildest, most dramatic year of my entire life. I’ve learned to trust my intuition. How well I’d manage to hold that awareness if I was barraged with lies in the future, I do not know. But for now, I have some sense of being able to trust my gut. That’s precious. I’ve come out of a dark time when I doubted and detested myself. I’ve learned that I am not an impossible, unreasonable, demanding sort of monster who makes everyone around me miserable. I carried that for so long, and the chance to learn otherwise has been precious beyond words. I can look forward from there and see that I have a great deal to learn about myself, and the kinds of relationships it might be possible for me to have. I have much to learn about trust, but I am learning, and there will be more. There is so much more I have learned that for all kinds of reasons, I can’t talk about. But I will. This year has made me more determined than ever to share what I know.
Going forwards… I have a non-fiction book in the pipeline, more poetry, an urban fantasy novel at the draft stage, I’m working on young adult fiction with Tom, there’s all kinds of creative stuff in the works, and I feel very positive about that. I’ve an intense relationship, a love affair that keeps growing and fills me with wonder. That’s something I mean to pour heart and soul into, in every way I can. And from that, we will do all manner of things. I have no specific ambitions, only the desire to share, learn, give and go where the awen takes me.
But this last year has left me with other things I must carry forward. There is work to do inside me, finding peace and understanding, healing from what I’ve been through. It won’t be enough to do that. What I’ve experienced has left me with a deep need to work for peace and justice in the world. I’m taking the time to contemplate and plan at the moment. To a certain extent what I can do will depend on the opportunities that come my way. No resolutions this year, but dedications, to creativity, peace and justice, in whatever way I find myself able to pursue them.