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  • Writer's pictureJacke Karashae

a p.s. for my resolutions

happy 2016!

i very happily made a list of 2016 resolutions. yes. indeed. i am taking part in the tradition. however, for the sake of my sanity and not wasting my life, i’m also reminding myself of their importance and scope.

resolutions are a good window into the ideal that i imagine i should be reaching at any one given year. inside that list of resolutions is a flurry of lies and exaggerations about my value, my worth, and the source of my well-being that wrap themselves into a nice to-do list. (i am quite a fan of to-do lists.)

the resolutions that root from the lies i tell myself are the ones i beat myself up the most about. they’re the ones that turn this little annual tradition into a toxic event. to fight the tide, i want to go through some of my resolutions and add a postscript to put them in their proper place.

so for this exercise, i’m going to pull out a few things that i know will likely become (or have been) problematic for me.  feel free to play along at home.

here’s a subsection of my list, with some added description of why they give me trouble

  1. release a song (as the year goes on, my stress increases about releasing stuff.  i start to believe that i’m wasting my life and talent if i’m not showing off work every few weeks.)

  2. try out the gym at the new office for a week (any time i try to do this, i tend to not really take into account sustainability in my lifestyle, and just sleep less during the week.  i enjoy the pattern of working out before work, but if i am getting 6 hours of sleep a night to do it, i just collapse in a pile of shame and soreness).

  3. eat sustainable but minor portions for meals during the week (again, i never plan this enough to be sustainable or even give myself any sort of break from the rigor.  odds are i’ll tell myself that i’ll eat the same thing for lunch every day for six months.  not.  very.  smart.  also, it gets totally out of proportion when i have a big lunch/dinner/snack/etc and it feels like some massive failure, because i’ve put my worth and value into how i’m eating.)

  4. go to an open mic night again (see #1 – this looms way bigger in my mind than it should, and i spend way too much time obsessing over the idea of a show than i actually do preparing for and going out to one.  when i’ve successfully beaten back the recording-artist-as-an-identity, the live-performer-as-an-identity starts to rear its ugly head.)

  5. write on this blog/write more songs (over time, the fact i haven’t posted here becomes a nagging sense of failure, because jacke karashae the content factory™ isn’t getting stuff written.  on top of that, because writing is so cathartic for me, it’s very easy to simultaneously believe that it will somehow make me better as a person or make my life more meaningful.  2015 has shown me that the pursuit of a quiet life, seeking God and loving others, is so, so, so much more the point than writing something–or a lot of things).

  6. read more (in some periods, i am not in a mood to read, and i feel like–once again–i’m failing to unlock some magical life from reading.  in other periods, i am totally in a mood to read, and the danger is that i will just hide behind a book rather than living the messiness of human interaction).

in 2016, i want to…

  1. release a song, because i deeply enjoy writing and producing music. however, if it has to come at the cost of my sanity, my rest, and the strength of my relationship with God or other people, it’s more of an achievement to let it pass and be patient for when the time to record is ripe than it is to wreck myself for a release.

  2. try out the gym at the new office for a week, because i enjoy having the practice of exercise in my life (once it’s established) and it’s a healthy and helpful thing to do since i am sedentary for 40 hours a week. however, exercise is not a ticket to attractiveness or a key to unlock some hidden life.  it’s just a good thing to do.

  3. eat sustainable but minor portions for meals during the week, because it legit makes me less tired and more energized while working if i’m not digesting a massive meal, and there are health risks with being sedentary and overweight.  however–*once again*–this is not a barometer to measure myself by, but rather a thing to implement as i can, when i can.  specifically, if there’s free pizza, i’m going for it.

  4. go to an open mic night again, to have fun playing some songs and hearing other peoples’ music.  if trying to do this requires me to damage other parts of my life or my own well-being, then–once again–it’s more of an achievement to be patient and ready for an opportune time.

  5. write on this blog/write more songs, because i like writing and it’s good to have some variety in my life.  however, a blog is a like a journal — it’s there when you need it, and stays there when you don’t.  if you have to choose, it’s far better to forget about the blog for six months than to hamstring your own growth by siphoning your life through a blogging sidechannel.  writing will not absolve you, fix you, comfort you, or justify you, so don’t pursue it as if it will.  if you have the choice to do something good or write about doing it…do it first.  always.

  6. read more, but ensure that time alone is (a) something you actually want to do and (b) is not something you’re doing just to avoid people.  there is little good in an obsessively reclusive life, just like there is little good in an excessively social one.

in the end, i know that pretty much all of these things won’t matter to me on december 31, 2016.  they won’t be the way that the year mattered.  2015 was good in the times that i grew up and, discovered more about God and lived out that glorious upward call to serve and love beyond my ability and comfort, daily renewed in hope and daily letting go of desperation and a dozen ways to go numb.  2015 was bad in the times that i hampered that journey, sometimes at the hands of self-focused resolutions like these.

on top of that, resolutions presume upon my life turning out a particular way in 2016, and they all look inward, not outward.  if i pass up the opportunity to be part of something bigger than my own development because i wanted to satisfy a list, the list will be the worst thing for me.  being open to the new turns and opportunities is how i can use my time best…even when they require that i drop my former plans and expectations.  this list is filled with (presumably) “good” things, but of all the things i learned in 2015, one of the biggest was that you can kill yourself slowly by a million tiny good things held to religiously when they crowd out the essential things.

i go into 2016 looking at my resolutions like i would a hawker at a street fair — part of the scenery, worth glancing at for the spectacle, and worth my time and energy as i have it to spare…but tangential to the path i want to walk, a quaint sideshow to the quiet, dynamic, challenging, uncharacteristic, unknown, and messily glorious path ahead.

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