A New Year

My new year always begins with a breathtaking infatuation.

The first seconds of the New Year start my pulse racing. I am swept up with all the romantic possibilities that the blank calendar pages can muster. The pure, empty hours ahead are like lovely, skipping promises. The unplanned days make me swoon with girlish anticipation. I sharpen my pencils and spread the months across my desk. I smooth the clean pages against the polished wood and I am enticed with great, growling bears of ideas, goals as big as the sunrise; no commitment seems too daunting, no obstacle can deter me.

I am full of power and hope. I will ride the year hard. I will stretch my days out wide and long, and wear myself thin. I will run my fingers across the ragged edges of myself and throw my head back in surrender only when the year is entirely spent. I will forgo sleep and reason until I am too worn for laughter, too exhausted for risk, too sated for desire.

My year will be inspiring. I will sip champagne in a palace with the Prince of Monaco. I will photograph cannibals in the jungles of South America. I will hunt for fragrant spices in dark forests and take seafaring voyages to the Aleutians. My list cannot contain all the dreams my heart can conjure. I have visions of adventure and poetry and music. There will be star-filled night skies and I will swing from day to day on the feathered wings of angels.

Yes, each year, this is how I begin.

So often the squares of January are filled with my improbable, beautiful dreams. By February, my hopes are dashed and my days become filled with small, sterile duties and empty, tired spaces. My rose colored glasses lose their tint without a view to inspire them. My spirit begins to pale as ordinary days take over. I barely notice as the pendulum swings all the way back to its monotonous beginning.

By December, I will wonder how the year passed so quickly. I will pretend I don’t remember all the fiery heat and splendor of my January desires. I will pat down any sparks of earnestness and become routine’s lover. I will lose pieces of myself in the muddy trampings of each day, and I will wither, wasted, wondering what it all means.

Until January beckons anew with the perfumed promise of a magical, unspoiled year. My soul will awaken with those first strokes of the clock and I will face the year with fresh hope, beginning the cycle once more. This unhappy rotation will continue forever if I let it.

So this year, things are going to be different.

Instead of teasing myself with exotic adventures and grizzly-sized exploits that never come to fruition, I am going to sustain myself with sparrow-sized pleasures each and every day. I won’t make goals for the things that are basic and necessary, because duties at this stage of my life are tedious and uninteresting. Performing them is not a celebration. They are just essential and I do them without fanfare.

I will keep my ideas small and delightful and they, in turn, will help me live large. I will hold my soul in the palm of my hand, and nourish her with little seeds of beauty, creativity, curiosity and laughter. She will sip from the well of my own gladness. I will fight to keep her alive through whatever storms the year always seems only too happy to bring.

To this end, I have made a list for the year ahead. There are three hundred sixty-five dalliances, little flirtations for my spirit, to keep my soul light, to keep my heart full.

Do you need to feed your little sparrow soul too? Is she languishing under the weight of dreams that are too unwieldy or too loathsome or too frightening? If so, open your hand. Let your sparrow light there. Tell her she is safe.

Come with me. Let us spend the morning chirping about all the wonderful and happy little things we can do together.

Read my list. Make your own if you like. Share it.

Let’s fly.