Goals & revisions

I always start to formulate my goals (I avoid the word "resolution", it sounds too much like penance in my head) at the start of December. Something about the process of articulation and internalization makes them feel more real and feasible when the new year starts.

I also find December a very gestalt time of year. We're all living in the present and happy to defer new year decisions until that number on the calendar flips. And that brings a certain clarity regarding real wants and needs versus the more shoulding kinds (the "should" word too sounds like penance).

So my month has started off in a sort of easy, aspirational way. I know certain things I want to achieve and I'm beginning to indulgently formulate a few steps here and there, in the right direction. It's all beautifully gentle and accepting and I find it's a much kinder state to be in than the harsh goal-setting many of us take upon ourselves in January.

And it's calming to be in this gentle state of mind. To aspire to small improvements without conflating them into wholesale overhauls. To see that room for change too, but without chastisement. To feel like it can all be managed and even enjoyed, again like the darkroom process... An extra seconds exposure, the sky burned in a little, the tree dodged. The changes are miniscule, the image is transformed.

And my apartment feels like a very friendly place right now, in similar small ways. I moved things around to make room for the Christmas tree, repositioning a light here and my desk there. And in that way I come home and it feels a little novel, a little improved, but still my same home. But small experiences change; lying on the bed to read I notice the new angle of light and my space feels expanded.

And after years of dreaming of huge transformative and emerging change, I'm finding myself deeply appreciative of these small and considered revisions. So when January does roll around, the goals probably won't even take the shape of a list, rather a gentle mental gesture and sense of continuation.

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