Happy New Year! On my block there have been the requisite fireworks along with lots of gunshots. The gangbanger family down the street has been surprisingly tame lately, though I expect to see a police car down there in the not too distant future. But we’ve lived in this neighborhood for almost 13 years, and we know the score. Urban life is a kick in the head. But hey, when all is said and done, we’re all still made of the same stuff, have the same fears, desires, and needs. Welcome to the human race…
So some of my continuing goals for 2013 are the practices of loving-kindness, living in the present moment, and radical acceptance. Though I was raised in the Presbyterian church (can you get more Rainbo bread bland than that?), as I’ve gotten older I have found considerable wisdom and comfort in Buddhist philosophy. It has helped me make sense of an increasingly screwy (and often downright scary) world. And it reminds me what is most important to me: being present for and loving other people. Hey! That sounds suspiciously similar to Christianity. In the end we all have that final date with our mortality. In the meantime, living with good intent and genuine concern for our fellow humans seems like the best way to go, whatever you want to call that.
And now . . . with no further ado . . . my annual list of goals for the coming year, in no particular order:
1. Practice patience.
2. Talk (and text) less–rediscover the art of real face-to-face conversation.
3. Shock someone by writing an actual letter and mailing it to them.
4. Judge less, humble myself more.
5. Never let go of my rock’n’roll soul.
6. Dance my ass off to aforementioned rock’n’roll in the privacy of my home (don’t want to scare anybody).
7. Keep painting; keep entering art in local gallery shows.
8. Wear brighter colors. (Even if I look good in black, color is the bomb.)
9. Continue ongoing responsibility as Universal Mother to all Cats.
10. Work on mortality stuff. At 55 with a hx of cancer and neurological problems (brain lesions, anyone?), it never hurts to start doing the prep work early. And anyway, none of us knows when we’re going to die, so no sense in procrastinating. This means, essentially, that when I reach the end of my life, I won’t reflect back and say, “I wish I’d spent more time surfing the Internet.”
11. Eat more fresh food!
12. Write more!
13. “Sing songs, ride horses, and eat breakfast.” Actually I pilfered that phrase from a decades-ago tv commercial for a cereal called “King Vit-a-Min”].
14. Quit staying up until 1:00 and 2:00 in the morning.
15. Say hi to and smile at more strangers.
16. Continue working with my doctors to figure out what’s going wrong in my brain. (MS?)
17. Keep listening to favorite music (including my recent obsession with ’80s bands like Midnight Oil, The Church, Depeche Mode, The Cure, Morrissey, Tears for Fears, along with lifelong faves like Mark Knopfler, Neil Young, Lucinda Williams, Lou Reed…etc.).
18. Say goodnight to all the nice people in your blogosphere. Good night, nice people!