525,600 minutes


From 2009:
1. "Sleep when you’re dead." And save Facebook for later, too.
2. Suffer for my art… and finish the first draft of “Before the Empty Moon.”
3. Get the female equivalent of balls to tell people what I’m really thinking.
4. Be able to support my sponsored child AND my concert addiction.

5. Take a road trip.
6. Play a show.
7. Meet William Beckett.

Well, two out of seven ain't bad....

Oh, who am I kidding? That's utterly shameful. I must make a greater effort this year/set more attainable goals. Ones that I can control a little more than meeting Mr. Tall-and-sexy Beckett. But then what does one resolve? Most people resolve to stop being lazy and go to the gym, but I already do that. Or they resolve to stop eating so much crap and lose weight. I guess I could use a little work on the not eating crap bit; maybe actually being a vegetarian would be a good resolution.

But those things are all restrictions. Wouldn't resolving to accomplish something be a more positive use of my efforts?

Yes. Yes it would. But I can't resolve to finish my book; with school in the way, that will never happen. So I've gone back to my Bucket List for inspiration and chosen a few items that would be manageable this year even with school throwing a wrench in everything.

1. Read. For my own enjoyment.
2. Learn the constellations.
3. Write at least once a week! And it must be something substantial; Claymore reviews and Scatterday posts don't count anymore! They're just a lazy way of saying I've produced something, but it's not exactly productive if it's not something you'll show off to publishers or employers. I love this blog, and I love you all, but I must confess that it has not been the writing "workout" I intended it to be. I'm getting writer's flab.
4. Do something that scares me.
5. Pray.

And now, a few life lessons from the past 525,600 minutes! I've changed a ton this year, and a lot of it isn't stuff I can articulate or it's too specific to be universalized as "life lessons." I've learned about relationships, religion, and just... life in general. But anyway, here is my attempt.

On relationships:

1. Long distance relationships suck. For EVERYONE, including people who aren't actually part of the relationship. Even close-by-long-distance relationships are tough.

2. Boys (and jobs) are better when you can enjoy the benefits of more than one at a time, or at least it seems that way when finally set free from a long relationship you sort of grew to hate in its dying months. (Oh, and having multiple jobs is always a good idea if you're addicted to concerts ^_^)

3. I have a magnet on my fridge that says this, and for two years I have blatantly laughed at it. Clearly, I said, this statement was engineered by some horny teenager looking for excuses to get some. "Lies from the pit of hell," I said (or something to that effect).

I'm not saying spooning necessarily leads to forking. It does not, and (in my experience) has not. But it absolutely can. Easily.

All I'm saying is, if you don't want to use your cutlery, keep it separate.

4. It’s something special to feel like you’re a better human being when you’re around a certain person, but it’s really exceptional to act like one for that person in his or her absence.

On life in general:

1. "People sometimes say that the way things happen in the movies is unreal, but actually it’s the way things happen to you in life that’s unreal. The movies make emotions look so strong and real, whereas when things really do happen to you, it’s like watching television — you don’t feel anything." — Andy Warhol

2. I CAN dance without arrows! The key, if you are as challenged as I thought I was, is confidence. If you look comfortable, like you know what you're doing, people will just assume you DO know what you're doing. Don't try too hard. Dancing is a natural movement of the body.

If you're worried, bring glow sticks.

3. You can drink irresponsibly responsibly (at least this is what Auntie Debbie and I agreed upon). If you PLAN on getting trashed, fine, whatever; you should also PLAN to give someone who won't be drinking your keys and PLAN to stay put until you're not trashed. I don't understand why this is hard to understand for some people.

4. A home is a gift from God, and like any gift it is meant to be shared.

5. Stop making promises! It's way too hard to keep them unless you really mean them, and when you break your word, you cheapen it. Have your word be the highest insurance of your intentions.

On religion:

Religion sucks. I've always had a problem being associated with a denomination, but I think that was mostly my hatred of labels. It's a bit more personal now.

People say the word "Christian" with such disdain, and you just know: they think you're delusional, stupid, simple or misguided, they think you're judgmental, they don't want to trust you and they expect to be rejected by you. That is the opposite of what a Christian is supposed to be, according to the Bible. If this is what people are going to think about me when they hear I'm a Christian then count me out.

God isn't about rules and rituals. He doesn't live inside of a church or chapel. He doesn't want a bunch of lemmings trailing after him unthinkingly or he wouldn't have given us brains. I think it necessarily comes down to who God is to you, because who can be right? Who has the right to say they know what's going on and everybody else in the world is wrong? It's sheer arrogance and creates conflict. I'm not saying everybody's right and anything goes, but I sure as hell can't tell you which ones are wrong.

Maybe everyone is a little bit right. Maybe we're all dead wrong. I for one cannot look at the world and think it all just fell into place. For me there had to be someone there first, and the fact that he's here and I'm here means I owe him some allegiance. What kind and to what extent I'm still figuring out. I don't know how, or if, I should talk to him. I don't know if I should trust the Bible (or any other text for that matter). I don't know if it's fair for me to ask things of him since I'm not doing much for him on my end.

All I know is this: Love. Drawing lines between people, when we all comprise the same essence, is destructive. It's not love. Killing someone in the name of Jesus Christ or Allah or anybody else disregards the sanctity of life. It's a failure to love. Turning away gay people or looking down on different races or saying that someone raised in a culture that practices, say, Buddhism or animism is unwelcome at your church - those are failures to love. We have failed. And we fail and fail again. We have got to love each other or we'll never make it. What else is there to live for but love?

This is beginning to sound like godly anarchy, which I'm not even sure is possible... but it sounds nice.

At first I was disoriented, scared and upset that my adolescent faith was disappearing, but I've come to see that faith must be dynamic. It's too easy otherwise. Too formulaic. If it’s static, it’s stunted; it’s a small child that won’t grow up. It’s fearful. It’s a sapling with but one trunk, one branch, one direction. So much potential, so little purpose; it’s trimmed back time and again when what it needs is to grow, to change, to branch out into a million different places and hope that, maybe, one of those million places will touch the sky, and even if they don't....

They reached for it with every power in their grasp.

Happy New Year.
Miss Rex


Stephanie Faris said...

I like that about keeping your cutlery separate. Good advice!!!

I was in a 10-month long distance relationship in 2007. It sucked. It was hard for me to enjoy my time with him because I was always thinking about how it would end soon and I'd have to go another 6 weeks or whatever without seeing him. I also learned, in the end, that I was deliberately choosing relationships that weren't "too close" to avoid opening up to anyone. It took me a while to get past that but I had to.

Yankee Girl said...

Keeping NY resolutions is hard. I always make mine really specific so I have concrete goals instead of abstract goals.

Great 2009 recap. It's amazing how much we actually learn one year at a time!

Anonymous said...

Godly anarchy? Theistic anarchy? It sounds strange. And odd. But so did the idea of a heliocentric universe, and we all know how *that* turned out.

"..faith must be dynamic." I never thought about that. But that makes so much sense. *Anything* else that doesn't change and grow - people, plants, muscles (exercise!) - they slowly diminish and disappear. Or just stagnate. Why should faith be any different? If it stays the same for our whole lives, if it hasn't grown or changed, then it's stagnant water.

Aaanywho. I'm gonna go eat. Thinking (or attempting to think) deep thoughts makes me hungry, like most other activities which require time to do (sans sleeping).

emily said...

I really loved this. Your last paragraph was amazing! So beautiful and insightful.

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