I was recently told by someone I greatly admire, “I don’t make resolutions, I make goals.” I had to pause a moment, for some reason that turned everything in my head around and the gears of my brain started to click. It had been such an accepted term all of my life, I never thought twice about it. It’s true! Why would we make a resolution instead of a goal? Perhaps that is why everyone is always ‘trying’ and not really ‘doing.’ Or maybe, our resolutions are supposed to just be more of an outline, a guideline of a way of living in the coming year. Do you ever actually follow through with your resolutions? Or because they are just “resolutions,” or shall we call them “attempts,” are they too easily let slide, to follow through with for just the first two-weeks of the new year, only to be washed away by the daily distractions of reality?
I know, its hard to care sometimes. I also know, it hurts to care, sometimes. But unless we care, unless we keep getting beat down for our cares and efforts, we would never move forward, of course its not all easy. Essentially, I’m following along with what the wonderful woman I work with, Aliza Sherman is doing this year, and her blog “Getting Back to My Roots.” She has written other articles on not only returning to our basic, human needs, but she also breaks down our basic “need” for the internet and connectivity. We live in a world where if we have a question, we can immediately consult the Internet for an answer. The Internet is quickly and readily available in our pockets most of the time and we find ourselves living in the virtual world of our cell phones. We don’t have to apprentice somewhere to learn how to jump-start a car, or even wait for our own father’s to show us how, we can go to a quick and easy “How-To” guide on the internet. Why are we constantly on these devices and the Internet? They can answer most any question, they coddle our fear of being alone, our need for social interaction, the things we don’t have, and our need to feel important. We want to feel as if what we have to say matters. On the Internet, on YouTube, Twitter, Vine, Facebook etc., whatever it is, one cool video made by some kid sitting at home on his computer can go viral and provide insta-fame. He doesn’t even need a film degree. Viral videos can be created completely by accident and suddenly (I’m sure a few ridiculous viral Youtube videos come to mind) are splattered across the internet and social media platforms are displaying something that probably wasn’t intended to be anything, now its famous and Grumpy Cat for example, has his own line of clothing.
The Internet gives everyone an equal playing field; people can sit at home and make great things without being the best or most educated at anything. Everyone wants their turn in the spotlight. So what happens when we shut these devices off? Are we forced to step back into the world of just television and video games? (So 10 years ago, right?) Now we have iPads and iPhones and Itouch… What if we step back even further in time when we couldn’t make the excuses to be late? There were no phones, no text messages, if your car was stranded on the side of the road, you had to talk to an actual passer-by for help! The horror. What if you couldn’t casually cancel a date by a simple text, and shatter the person sitting at that table waiting, wondering if you had stood them up entirely, or if some sort of accident had happened. What if, in order to talk to your friends overseas, you had to write a letter?
I stripped back the technology even further in 2014 and upgraded my calligraphy set this year. I bought a new set of pen nibs and a feather pen. I set out in 2014 armed with a feather pen. I found that those old pen nibs hold a ready amount free-flowing ink that kept my hand from pressing as hard and allowed me to freely glide across the page without straining my hands as modern pens seem to do. Despite the initial mess I had by accidentally turning the tip of the pen while writing and splattering ink all over the page, and successfully covering my right hand in black ink, my first letter was a success. I even had enough ink on my thumb to put a fingerprint on the end of the letter to show for my struggles on that first letter. That first calligraphy, hand written, wax sealed letter is going to Afghanistan, to a solider at war who I adopted through adoptaussoldier.org . I tell that man at least a story a week per hand-written letter because being far from home, a hand-written, human touched letter provides a small piece of home and comfort, it shows that someone cares. I could write an email, he of course can write back much more easily that way, but the website mentions that handwritten letters are like a “hug” from home, it’s a tangible object that was sent just for you, by someone who cares. He doesn’t write me back and I don’t know anything about him except that he is a man fighting for what he believes in. But as long as he is getting the letters, I’ll keep on writing.
I lit my candle on my small antique desk, and let the stories flow. I poured out words through that calligraphy ink in English and German while Rachmaninov serenaded my fingertips. That letter turned into more letters, I started writing my friends in other countries. I want to write each one of my faraway friends and handwritten letter this year. Not only will this be my year of writing (as in stories, books, poems, what have you), but in getting back to the art of writing itself. In stripping down to the basics of the beauty of handwritten letters and script and handwriting, it is an art that seems to be dying. Writing is me, it is what I do and the art of writing is something that I hold dear to my heart. I also want 2014 to be a year about making sure I set aside time to embrace my own creativity, and to run with it. What makes you happy? What are your 2014 goals?
And inspired by Aliza Sherman’s 3 words for 2014, my words are
Write. Create. Feel.