New Year’s Evolution


On New Year’s Eve, I had the depressing Come to Jesus moment of looking at my 2012 Resolutions.  What were the big important things I wanted to do?    For the record, they were:

  1. Sell a script I had finished.
  2. Transcribe a letter I wrote to Mazie in the first year of her life
  3. Clear my office
  4. Build a Table

What a weird list.

And little surprise here.   Not a single item had been completed.  Not to say I didn’t do anything in the year.  I excavated our yard and built a rock wall (with a lot of help).  I cooked a lot of meals and pressed apples and made hard cider and ran regularly.  I published some editorial pieces around the election.  I submitted  a script to several places and got some good feedback.

But what about those Resolutions?  Why didn’t I fulfill any of them?  Some of the items were not the right ones (build a table).  Others were right, but not at the right time (clear office).  But there’s a deeper fault here, and it’s related, I believe, to discipline and execution.

So I’ve spent the first month of this year thinking about that 2012 list, and also thinking about what it means to make a Resolution. What have I discovered?

  1. I believe in Resolve.  But I don’t believe in Resolutions.  Resolve is the ability to commit.  Resolutions imply that a task has been brought to completion.  But are they are ever, really?  A resolution is an end.  But does the world ever end with an end?
  2. I believe in Revolving.  But I don’t believe in Revolutions. Revolving objects return to the place of beginning, except that time has passed.  You appear to be in the same place, but the world is in fact subtly different.  But a Revolution implies a large and sudden change.  It implies upheaval.   It also suggests “progress” or improvement.  But the world neither progresses nor improves (these things require criteria and criteria are subjective.)  Instead the world changes.  It fluxes.  But change is neither progressive nor regressive.  It’s simply change, and the direction of that change depends entirely on one’s vantage. (The eradication of polio is good, unless, of course, you’re polio.)  And Grand Revolutions in hindsight are sometimes not so grand.  Our own American Revolution was essentially a tax revolt (remember the Tea Party?) and assertion that we had the right to protect ourselves from overreaching power.  Which is why 2013 is shaping up to not just be about the pursuit of happiness, prosperity, and equality, but also about keeping guns and not paying taxes.True revolutions don’t result in great movement.  You just become a little older. And hopefully a little wiser.  And if you’re lucky you pass on a little of what you learned along the way.

Which ultimately explains why the one true thing I believe in is Evolution.  Evolution is not about progress (ditch that misleading image of the monkey slowly becoming erect until he is homo sapiens).  And forget that whole creationism god thing.  Evolution in the simplest terms is a model of how life adapts to occupy ever changing and ever emerging environmental niches and conditions.  Even more importantly, Evolution is a vast body of thought that explains the mechanisms of change and inheritance (more on this later) across both living and non-living things.

Perhaps we’re sowing the seeds of our own destruction if we strive to make Resolutions that are Grand, and Final, and are Revolutionary in Their Consequence.

Change (in most cases) is incremental, non-directional and without closure.  It’s closer to Evolution.  So this year I’m giving it a different approach.  This year I’m going to try and slowly jettison vestigal stuff that’s been bogging me down for years.  And I’d like to devote some attention this year to evolving some new habits.  And some of those new habits, as they take form, will hopefully have real world consequences.  In some ways it’s similar to making Resolutions.  But instead I want to slowly accrete these changes over the year.

The list should be short and finite.  One of my present habits, however, is overreaching ambition.   I sometimes try to do everything and succeed in doing nothing.  So for now, though the list is long, the underlying intent will be to accomplish just one of the things on the list.  Another intent will be to observe the process.

For the record then, here’s the abridged list of my 2013 New Years Evolutions:

Writing

  1. Revive Snowflakes Edge
    1. Boat Story – finish
    2. Creatures
    3. Habit
    4. Energy
  2. Get an Agent
  3. Dani Q – send out to folks
  4. Finish Family Photo Immigration Narrative
  5. Transcribe Mazie Letter
  6. Get Natwani funding
  7. Write Summary of Riemann’s Hypothesis that could be understood by a 14 year old.

Personal Stuff

  1. Develop new Organizational Habits
  2. Clear Office
  3. Organize computer files
  4. Organize Library
  5. Clear Room of Recapitulation

The Damn House

  1. New Electrical Panel
  2. Refinish Porches
  3. Convert Room of Requirement
  4. Plant fruit trees and olives

Well Being

  1. Wear fluoride trays every day
  2. Get fillings
  3. 2 teeth cleanings
  4. Run 1/2 marathon
  5. Learn to Swim.  Really.

A greater explanation of some of this stuff is forthcoming (Fluoride trays?  And why is teeth cleaning on my list and not on yours?)  Let’s see what change happens.  And what does not.

Wish me luck.

On your mark.

Get set.

Go.

Advertisements

5 thoughts on “New Year’s Evolution

  1. Pingback: Ditching the List | Snowflakes Edge

  2. Hello webmaster do you need unlimited content for your page ?
    What if you could copy article from other blogs,
    make it unique and publish on your site – i know the right tool for you,
    just search in google:
    Ziakdra’s article tool

  3. I’m really enjoying the theme/design of your site. Do you ever
    run into any browser compatibility problems? A few of my blog readers have complained
    about my site not operating correctly in Explorer but looks
    great in Safari. Do you have any ideas to help fix this problem?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s