“It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.”
― Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist
I wrote yesterday that ending of a year is a strange time. Of course, there is no difference in who we are or how the rest of the world behaves from December 31st to January 1st, not any more different from any other two days, but something is different though isn’t it. Something about changing the date from 2017 to 2018 changes everything else too.
This morning when I woke I felt a kind of pressure in my chest. I felt full of potential and possibility, and I felt afraid. I didn’t want to explore that feeling. If you don’t acknowledge it, you don’t have to face it right? If you never dare to dream, then you never have to regret your choices or hate yourself for being so cowardly. You never have to try, or fail, or try again and fail again. You can just float through life all the way to the end. Easy peasy.
But what a waste, and I should know, I have been floating along for a very long time. I have been lucky that happiness, for the most part, made its way to me, but lately, I’ve wanted to find a kind of happiness I had gone after myself. I wanted to feel I had earned something.
This year, I need a win! It would feel so good to have something to bring to my family and friends to show them that I wasn’t a loser or a failure. It would be nice to have them feel proud of me. It would be nice to know they didn’t think I was wasting my time. I need to prove that I’m more than a mere dreamer. I want to be a doer too. Maybe I need to believe those things about myself first.
So, I am going to explore that feeling of possibility and potential. I am going to dream big impossible dreams about all the things I want to have and do, and little impossible dreams about what kind of person I want to be deep down inside.
I’ve written a list of 100 dreams that I thought were impossible but aren’t actually impossible at all. It was only that I had convinced myself I couldn’t do because it was too terrifying to imagine a life where I could. Dreaming and trying, focusing and making a real effort, believing in myself and finding the strength to love myself enough not to get lazy, undisciplined, or timid, that is how I will get through my list. This is how I will make my life into the one I’ve wasted all this time dreaming of.
Of course, I can’t tackle all 100 dreams in the short course of one year, but I can start with just a few. Some highlights include:
1. Get over my driving phobia
2. Get my driver’s license
This has been on every New Years Resolution list I have made in my adult life, and every year I fail, but going into 2018 I feel closer than ever to getting it done. I have been driving, to and from work, to the store up the street, and around the neighborhood, up until a little over a week ago. Then the weather turned nasty here, and I didn’t feel ready yet to drive in the snow without having a full on panic attack.
But the roads are all cleared now, and I go back to work tomorrow, so back behind the wheel, I go. I don’t want to lose all that progress, and I don’t want to go on letting everyone, most importantly myself, down. I will get through this by the end of the year. I have to because I can’t keep relying on others to get me where I need to go, and I want to because there are so many places I want to go and things I want to do and driving is the only way to get there.
59. Journal every day
60. Hand make all of my own journals
I already try my best to write in my journal every day, but buying the same old journal, again and again, is sucking the fun out of the habit. It’s boring and monotonous. It’s the same pages every day, with the same number of lines and even if I bought a notebook full of grid or dotted pages they would get just as boring eventually too. Why not pages that were all different? Some ruled, some dotted, some with a hexagon pattern, and some that were completely blank? What about some different color paper, something that pops! Hot pink or bright yellow?
I’ve been looking for a new hobby, something I can do with my hands, in the real world. I want to make something beautiful and useful, and a new journal, one I might enjoy writing in again, sounded like an easy enough place to start.
I found a tutorial by Sea Lemon on YouTube and decided to start making my own journals this year. It feels right that a writer should make their own tools don’t you think? So, a new notebook, and maybe a few notepads, and a pocket notebook, and a planner, and maybe a bullet journal for my sister and if people like them maybe I can make a few more for anyone at all who would like one.
I also have a lot of pages piled up just waiting to be made into a brand new art journal for number 72, “Complete one year of a creative habit.” Then maybe next year I can get to number 52, “Learn to paint with oils or acrylics?”
48. Publish a book of essays and poetry
This one is the hard one. This one is what my year will be all about. This one will take discipline, and focus, and hard everyday effort! I’m starting with 400 words a day, no matter what. No matter how tired I am, no matter what else I am doing, no matter how much I don’t want to. 400 words a day that is all I have to do. I don’t have to write something great. It just has to be honest, and it has to be mine.
I’m not trying to get rich, I’m only trying to say something. I plan to self-publish whatever it turns out to be on my own when I am ready, and I will consider the dream realized if I can get 5 whole people, who I don’t know, to buy a copy of the damn thing.
I have other writerly dreams too. Number 46 is “Publish a sci-fi/dystopian fiction novel.” Number 47 is “Publish a graphic novel.” Those are big, and very far away dreams but number 49, “Publish 2 blog posts a week” and number 50, “Publish a zine” feel very doable for 2018, I think.
66. Read 30 books a year
This is another repeat resolution. Every year I set a goal of 30 books on Goodreads, and every year I fall short, but by a little less each time. Last year I read 22 books, my best yet. I got stuck a few time on books I didn’t enjoy and out of sheer pride refused to let them win and move on. This year things are a little different. This year I will move on when books aren’t interesting to me, and come back to them when I have the strength to try again. Some books take more than one introduction to click. It has to be the right time for you to meet you know.
I’m also going to work on number 58, “Get a library card.” I had one, many years ago but I checked out more books than I should have once and never got them back, and I’m afraid of how much money I might owe to be allowed the privilege again. But books aren’t cheap, and I don’t have the room to bring a brand new one home to stay every few weeks. I’m also going to give ebooks another chance. Number 67 is “Read more philosophy books,” and I happened to have a list of 135 completely free ones! And when I get tired of those there are many more authors, genres, and topics to turn to, all for free too of course.
37. Start running
38. Join a gym, attend regularly
39. Make meditation and yoga a daily habit
40. Become a weekday vegetarian
And finally, finally, I have come to my last resolution, so common and prone to failure I almost chose not to include it, get healthier. I want to start a running habit. It seems like the easiest place to start. Even if I just went once around the block, it would be better than all the couch surfing I am doing now.
Then there is a gym up the street. Walking, or rather, running distance away from my house. If I could prove myself by running every day for a month or two, maybe I could trust myself with a gym membership. I could cycle, take classes, I wonder if they have yoga? And then, I could take the two nights a week I don’t eat meat and make it 5 days a week. A weekday vegetarian doesn’t seem so hard.
As you can see, I’m trying to take it easy and make small improvements to my routine. Too many people try for a 30-minute hardcore workout every day of the week with a goal weight and a brand new radical diet. I have no goal weight, and I have no diet restrictions, as of now. I’m just going to try, and if I can just do that much, I can’t fail.
One hundred dreams feels like a lot, and I doubt the list could be completed in one lifetime. I doubt I would want to complete it. There are things on there I may want to do now, but five years from now or more I might change my mind. So, the list is a dynamic one. Not only will I be crossing things off, but I’ll be tweaking, and adding, and deleting from them too.
Hell, the list isn’t even finished yet! I made it to 85 things before the ball dropped last night and I thought I’d give myself some time to figure out the last 15. There is no rush after all. I have my whole life to figure it out, I only have to remember that lives tend never to last as long as we hope they will. I have time, but I better get started, and no time is better than the first day of a brand new year.
But what about you? Do you have any New Year’s Resolutions? Do you believe they can actually work? Why or why not? Let me know in the comments.
“May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art — write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.”
― Neil Gaiman
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Check out my complete list of 100 Dreams, or what I have so far anyway and if you make one yourself, feel free to drop the link in the comments so everyone can check it out.