3 themes for 2013

Just because I don’t make New Year’s Resolutions doesn’t mean I let the years come and go unacknowledged. To the contrary, I love this time of taking stock – especially the part where I remind myself of everything I’ve gotten done over the past 12 months. (I’ve always been surprised by just how much there is, especially during these obstacle-strewn Plan B Nation years.)

I also look ahead, but instead of making resolutions, I tend to reflect on themes – points of orientation rather than destinations. This year, over the past few weeks, I’ve settled on three.

The Year of Connecting – and Re-connecting

I can’t imagine having gotten through the past few years without my friends, old and new, virtual and real-life. This year, I look forward to expanding on this richness, reaching out to people I’d love to meet and strengthening existing ties.

For me, this will be what Tara Sophia Mohr refers to as a gift goal – a goal that is also a joy in the doing. I love spinning the web of human connection. People often tell me that I’m a great networker, which always catches me off guard. In reality, I’m good at this only when I enjoy it. No one would have ever described me thus when I was practicing corporate law, ensconced in a world that never really felt like mine. It’s an aptitude that surfaces only in connection with people who strike me as potentially being members of my tribe (or tribes).

And it’s not only about people. The theme of connection (and re-connection) resonates for me in many spheres. It’s also about connecting – and re-connecting – with places, interests, and ideas that have been sidelined if not forgotten. It includes a yet-to-be disclosed law-related project I’ve been mulling over for years now. (Because while practicing law wasn’t my path, there is much in that world that still speaks to me, and with which I’d like to re-connect.) It also includes my recurring thoughts about paying a visit to the place I grew up and getting back to a regular yoga practice (aka re-connecting with my body). In times of confusion, I imagine asking: What do I need to connect with?

The Year of Emptying and Replenishing

I got this one from Havi, who has proclaimed it the theme for her year. Interestingly (at least to me), my first reaction on hearing it was: Not for me. I’m busy, busy, busy. But for some reason the idea lingered. Because, in fact, it is for me. Busy is a symptom.

I see this as being about both prioritizing and refueling – about letting go of things that don’t enhance my life while creating a greater capacity for the things that will. During my years between full-time jobs, I often struggled to fill days and weeks in ways that felt meaningful and likely to me forward. Life as a blank page, that’s often what it felt like. Today, I struggle with what seems like the opposite dilemma: How to carve out time for  work I care about when my days are already more than full.

I have only the faintest glimmerings of how this theme will evolve. Yoga? Time in the country? A more orderly home? I don’t really know. The themes are breadcrumbs, and for now, that’s enough.

The Year of Being with Things As They Are

I find it so endlessly easy to slip into battle mode – Me vs. Things As They Are. My goal: Make Them Different. Life is so much more pleasant when I can remember to let that go, to treat reality as a friend, rather than an adversary.

Do you have New Year’s resolutions, themes, or musings that you care to share? Please leave them in the comments section – and best wishes for 2013!

Copyright © Amy Gutman. All rights reserved.

9 thoughts on “3 themes for 2013

  1. “Welcome the present moment as if you had invited it,” says Pema Chodron. “It is all we ever have so we might as well work with it rather than struggling against it.”

    I preached on the tension between “that which we are given” and “that which we make of it” at the Unitarian Society this past week. I think this is the central challenge of life: to accept what is while never abdicating our own agency.

    Check it out:

  2. I am a first time visitor and have been reading your january posts, love your “voice”. Finding virtual connections is on my list for 2013, glad to have found plan b nation. I have found during times of adversity (illness, divorce, career stall…) that the moment I let things be as they are, is the moment when everything changes and nothing at all.

    • What a lovely note, Nicole! And yes, virtual connections can be a wonderful source of enrichment–by far the best part of blogging for me has been the people, ideas, and organizations with which its connected me. Glad you are one of them now. : )

  3. I prefer themes to resolutions since they are flexible and more broad. Surprisingly, we often act more fluidly and with more conviction when we have an out or a full array of options. My themes are create and energy and they can be applied to most things in my life.

  4. I accidentally left my suitcase in Chevy Chase last week before return flight southward. A minor incident but still kind of liberating to come back sans valise. One more reminder of the pleasure/importance of clearing out stuff, stripping down and unencumbering oneself. Don’t know why it is still so hard to do. Maybe this year….

    • Welcome back! And yes, clearing is tonic. I had this idea the other day that I should celebrate each holiday when gifts are given by getting rid of things.

  5. that last bit: “I find it so end­lessly easy to slip into bat­tle mode – Me vs. Things As They Are. My goal: Make Them Dif­fer­ent. Life is so much more pleas­ant when I can remem­ber to let that go, to treat real­ity as a friend, rather than an adversary.” SO GOOD. SO RIGHT ON! :)

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