January 1st is the universally accepted date of renewal — the calender starts afresh and we get to put behind all the foibles of 2010. As we embrace the new calendar, we make lists of resolutions, of self-made promises to motivate us through the next 365 days (but really, only through January).
My custom before setting fresh goals for the new year is to flip through old notebooks and diaries searching for records of New Year’s Resolutions past, evaluating my success and accepting my shortcomings. There were a number of constants over the years, namely the universal standards:
Write a book.
Find inner peace… Optional and for extra credit: join movement to bring about World Peace.
For the first time, it occurred to me that “Find Love” was the most challenging of the goals. “Find love” — it’s an active, commanding statement that puts the quest for Love Everlasting on par with “lose weight.” It implies that, just as a regimented diet and exercise routine gives me power over my waistline, I have some control over Cupid and his henchmen. It implies that if I grab the bull by the horns, leave no stone unturned and tear the curtains asunder, there will be a shining treasure waiting for me. If I just look hard enough…
But let’s be honest, when it comes to finding love, there are far too many stones in need of turning.
In 2006, I resolved “to fall in love.” This was a mistake. Falling in love is easy and, much to my eventual chagrin, I accomplished the mission before midyear.
So in 2007, I needed a sequel resolution: Make “Bob” fall in love with me. Again, I had conjured a statement that implied I was Venus and Cupid was at my beck-and-call…
It may come as a surprise to you that as of January 1, 2008, I was on a mission to “Fall out of love with ‘Bob.'”
By 2010, after a 2009 dedicated to “Letting Love Find Me,” I had a new journal and a new outlook on resolutions. On the journal’s inside cover, in my best, most decorative script, I scrawled William Ernest Henley’s “Invictus” and decided to commit the poem’s stanzas to memory. I had had enough with these commands to get thin, let love happen, and learn to play the guitar — making this poem my mantra was the closest thing to making a New Year’s resolution I was, and am willing to do.
Yet while “my unconquerable soul” may resolve to make me the “captain of my fate,” something tells me that if I want to cross “Find Love” off my list of future New Year to-dos, my heart may have to accept being anything but unconquerable.