Beginning next year

When I met with Donna last week I gave her some homework to do leading into the new year. I gave her two sets of paperwork. One was a single sheet articulating the things you’d not done the year past, and the things you wanted to do in the year to come. It required you to articulate goals, but also to detail the things needed, the attributes gained, to achieve them. Finally it required for you to commit to those goals, and to document the person who would support you in that quest.

The other set of paperwork was similar, though aimed at getting in deep to unearth the deep, authentic feelings and aspirations. It suggested methods such as writing with your other hand, or putting it down with your eyes closed. The whole aim of it was to get at the real truth, not just the official truth. Ultimately it was about setting it down to make manifest.

This morning I sat on the front patio of the house with a glass of mojito while Rigby lay beside me busily chewing on his Christmas bone. I sat at a small table and in between sips of my cocktail filled in the first of these forms. It was not overly difficult – I guess it’s not when you’re in my situation. And, I thought, I knew what I needed, as well as what I wanted.

What had I not done this year I wanted to do next? Travel was an obvious selection, though realistically it will likely be problematic in the next 12 months also. The other was be in a relationship. That’s been by choice, but things have changed to the point that I can contemplate it once more. More importantly I’ve come to terms to some of my attributes that has made it difficult in the past – though we’re getting to that.

What do I want to feel this year coming? Loved, secure, relaxed, and happy.

Pretty simple really. The first has an edge because of Christmas day just gone. It’s probably the thing I’ve missed most in recent years. I’ve never been a big one about security, but when you have so little of it you begin to appreciate it. Relaxed relates to that – I’m constantly straining and struggling just to survive. I want that to have subsided by years end. Happiness really will be a product of all that.

What are my goals for the next year? Work, relationships, finances.

I figure there are millions of others who would answer just the same, but once more my situation adds some piquancy.

What do I need to achieve these? I struggled a bit more with this. I put networking and negotiation as my first 2 selections. I struggled for the last before noting down lightness.

I used to be such a charming man. I was quick witted and fleet of tongue and took pleasure in the interchange. My wits have probably sharpened since, and I still take a delight in words, but it’s rare I took pleasure in it anymore. I didn’t lose my charm, I just became more sparing with it. All the same I got by quite well for many years, and there were many still who thought me a charming man. Then with all the stuff I’ve been mired in charm seems a luxury. When every day is a struggle charm seems insincere. I’ve become stronger, but I’ve become blunter too. I like my bluntness, but I miss the state of mind when words come lightly to the lips. I want to be that person again, and need to be.

What are the benefits of this? Better job, improved finances, more friends.

Again, the first two seem self-evident, and absolute necessities. More friends become a requirement not because I’m losing them, but because the friends I have are increasingly becoming entwined with their families. I need more friends for me. And above all I need that one, special friend.

There were other sections I’ll skip over here. The two things I don’t want to be are being too proud and distant. I waste time by being stubborn and being too proud.

Finally this year coming I’m branding the year of redemption.

There was a scorecard at the foot of the page in which I had to allocate a number out of 10 to a bunch of measures:

Happiness – 4; Health – 6; Prosperity – 2; Mental strength – 9; Body Fitness – 6; Relationships – 5; Sex – 4.

One thing not addressed here is something else that needs to change. I feel beholden to so many and so much. In a literal sense I owe people. There’s been nothing I can do about it, but it is a burden I’m keen to rid myself of. I want to be my own man again by beginning to redress the debt I carry, and do the right thing by those I carry it with. That certainly involves dollars, but there’s also a moral debt. So many have helped me. So many have given me their support. I’m very grateful to that, but I don’t want to need it. That’s one of the reasons I refused invitations for Christmas day. Maybe this is me being too proud once more, but I’d rather stand on my feet now that I can than receive help I don’t need.

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