It's May: Happy Arbitrary New Year!!

I have a tendency to just make stuff up as I go along.  Stuff and holidays and words.  Recipes.  Family rules. Paint colors.  Really, it's kind of an illness with me.

I guess you knew that.

So it should surprise no one that I'm ready to wish you a Happy New Year.  Today.  On Tuesday, May 17th, 2011. (Yes, I'm post-dating this entry.  Because right now?  It's a rainy Monday morning and mostly, I just want to go back to bed. I love a good spring rain.  I mostly like Mondays. But Rainy Mondays should be illegal.) (It's supposed to rain tomorrow, Tuesday, too but by then we will have momentum on our side.)

Pretend, for a minute, that this is last week, when the weather was spectacular and the garden beckoning. When I spent as much time as possible outside, noticing the dogwood and azaleas in bloom.  Or the week before, when we celebrated Cinco de Mayo (except we celebrated it on the seventh because that's just how we roll around here) by breaking in our new fire pit, built by moi in a fit of Spring Giddiness.

(I will now use parenthetical photos to illustrate, just in case you needed further proof of my digression prowess.  (Seriously, I am a master.  They ought to add this sport to the Olympics.)

Fire pit in use. How much do I love this thing??
Roasting marshmallows--a totally awesome added bonus!! (My friend Shirley brought sombreros, because she understands the need for appropriate and whimsical headware when celebrating the Siete de Mayo.) 
Opening Mother's Day presents outside, surrounded by gorgeous flowers in bloom (especially the one in the softball uniform.)

See, it occurred to me this last week, as Spring is bursting forth all around me, that THIS is really the time when I want to make my New Year's Resolutions.  In January, when most New Year's Resolutions are made, I'm so tired from the hectic holidays that all of my resolutions have to do with relaxing and getting more sleep and notfreakingmakingmyselfsocrazyNEXTyear, whatwasIthinking. But during THIS time, when you can almost measure the new growth of the plants on a daily basis, when hibernation is over and the need to go out into the sun is a compulsion, when it's impossible to practice restraint while buying flats of impatiens --THIS is when I feel renewed and energetic and resolved.

So, first, I decided that I would resolve to give up refined sugar. Since we got back from Texas, I haven't been feeling very well and I think it's because of the reintroduction of processed, refined foods back into my diet after a pretty significant hiatus.  (My husband is always talking about "respecting your ride."  I never really got this until I found yoga, which inspires me to live healthier in order to get better at it.  I think that's why I lost weight --I started eating more mindfully and listening to what my body wanted.  Oddly enough, it never wanted dense, high-fat sugary stuff. (I know what you're thinking.  Just keep it to yourself.  I've lost 25 pounds! However deluded I may be, you can't argue with the results.)

Anyway, I gave up sugar for about half a day before I had to make my daughter Ana's birthday cake.  (Yes, she turned 13 in MARCH.  It's my calendar and I reserve the right to celebrate things whenever the heck I want.)

Got refined sugar?
The great thing about just arbitrarily declaring New Year's in May is that if you fall off the wagon, you can just start again on some OTHER completely arbitrary day.  (Y'all, this is brilliant.)  So, on this Arbitrary New Year's Eve, I am resolving to give up refined sugar. (Again.  Shhh!)

My other resolution is to begin my next book and to write something on it every day.  One of the things I took away from Stephen King's book On Writing is that you have to stay in touch with your current Work In Progress every single day or it will die on you.  (I know this to be true with knitting.) So I started my book on Tuesday, May 10th but so far, I've only written 341 words.  TODAY, on this Arbitrary New Year's Eve, I just cut my fingernails in preparation for much typing. (I am a terrible typist anyway, but with long nails, I am an EXCRUCIATING typist.  Sorry to everyone who received e-mails from me over the past month.) The working title for the book is Inhaling Wonder: The Story of One Woman's Journey Through Chronic Pain. (Thank you all so much for all of your encouragement. I may never be able to express how much it meant to me.)

I have a few other sub-resolutions concerning my yoga practice and my household money management practices, but those are the big two.  I invite you to join me, because simply writing down your resolutions seems to have magical properties.  I'll even throw in a giveaway, Barb-style.

Tell me what your resolutions are in the comments of this post and you will be entered to win the donation of a vegetable garden in your name. (Contest closes one week from today, or a week from tomorrow, depending on when you celebrate the Arbitrary New Year.)

Happy Arbitrary New Year, either today or tomorrow!  Have fun!


Ei said…
Funny May 17th always holds a special place in my heart...I graduated from high school on a May 17th (year withheld to protect my own sanity).

My resolutions as of the moment...get to the Farmers Market at least every other week all year long. MMMM...fresh organic veggies. Start my own walking & yoga practice. (Restart? A new beginning?) And to get my porch painted and build a fire pit just like Barb's because that is just too cool. :)
shaatzie said…
This was inspired. I also fall into the category of folks who celebrate when the right day presents itself.

I am awaiting your book. This may mean we see less of your blog as you dig into the book in progress?

Sugar is my enemy, too, I feel so much better without it. And if only we could salt out of foods seemingly are not high in sodium—what this with injecting fresh chicken with salt water? Why? Is there some conspiracy by the drug companies to keep us on "water pills?"
Sarah said…
Oddly, I just today, and after Yoga class (!), decided what my words for the year should be. They're not resolutions, they're more like directions. They are Strength and Balance. I've had others in past years, but this year I'm seriously less strong (physically) than I have been. I think I'm talking about physical strength and physical balance, but words like that have a way of turning metaphorical on you, so we'll see.
Barb Matijevich said…
Oh, Sarah! I might have to donate some worms in your name for your Year Words comment. Very profound, and a wonderful message I needed to hear today. Thank you.

Shaatzie, I hesitate to say this because I never know how things are going to work when I'm in the writing zone but what has typically happened to me before when I've been deep into a creative piece is that I tend to write MORE. Like, the more I write, the more I WRITE. Y'all are probably going to be sick of me.

EI? I love you.
MamaBeth (Becky) from Shreveport said…
Barb, I totally "get" your idea of postponing New Years. I mean, why on earth would I want to start another diet during a month that has no tomatoes, no strawberries, and no watermelon. Winter is for making BREAD, for Pete's sake.

I really like Sarah's idea of having words for the year. Sounds more do-able than resolutions (which set a person up to fail). I decided MY Arbitrary New Years word will be "perseverence." As long as I work toward a goal - be it healthy eating, weight-loss, getting my house decluttered - I'm succeeding, right?

Looking forward to your progress on your book. In Stephen King's most recent collection of short stories, he said he had been writing novels for so long that he almost forgot how to write shorter pieces. So yes, daily diligence, my dear!
shaatzie said…
It's all right. I don't get sick of reading your stuff. Write when you can as much as you can. There are fallow times when the words go away, and nothing wants to come out. Play when the sun is out. It's neat to know someone with quirks I can relate to. So, go, write, publish, immortalize!
momwhoknits said…
Seems like May is a good time for new beginnings. I am always so full of them in January and they are easy to give up on (like blog twice a week? Apparently not in this lifetime). Derfwad Manor had a little piece about dreamlets awhile back. I had no problems thinking of 4 things to do - right away - for the month of May. And you know, they all seem reasonable and achievable. And so maybe that's what my resolution will be - try to live in the moment more and achieve what is reasonable right now.
Susan said…
I love this idea, too. I do get much more inspired to make changes in the Spring. I have been having foot and knee issues whcih I can tell subside a bit when I cut out the sugar. I have been thinking of trying a plant based diet to see if it does actually relieve infammation. If I decide to do that (more research needed) that will be a big Spring resolution.

I also want to lose enough weight to actually start yoga...
Judy said…
My word/ resolution/ intention/ commitment
will be GREEN!
... my diet
... my global responsibility
... my immediate environment
... my inner growth and
... my continued spiritutal unfolding.
Keep it Green!
Thank you for the springboard into this state of awareness.
lynn a said…
Rebirth: of a life that has been shattered and torn to shreds the past year.
Rebuild: My spirit, soul, body, and confidence that was destroyed in the process.
Compose: The blueprint for the story that I want to be the beginning of my life from here on out.
These are my words for this year, and what better time to bring them out, then in spring..
I am so happy to have found this blog (thank you, Judy). Last night, I was hosting my book study of Oriah Mountain Dreamer's "The Invitation" and had a huge breakthrough on my mindset around food and my yoga practice. I declared, in that one moment, that everything was different now. Then, I got this from Judy, and it's all of the confirmation I needed. I have that King book. I am already writing my *ss off, but everything else... DONE. Sick of screwing around. And, even though you're two days ahead of me, May 19th is as good of a New Year as any, right?

Seriously, thank you for this. It's nice to find another Wild One in the garden ( I'm going to have to go tell the others about you now. :)
Samantha said…
Happy Arbitrary New Year to you and thank you for sharing your ways with the rest of the world.

Your way of thinking totally has me on board. I don't like to buy into the making New Year's resolutions because I have to, but because I want to, because the time is right - and the time is right for me!

I am in the process of making big changes - have given my notice to leave my job and assume what I WANT to do to earn a living. No its not as illustrustious or as grande as writing a book, but it will help people and make them more capable in a different way. May is my month to live for me - I am not being selfish, I am just loving my self more and giving myself permission to put me first! AND THAT is my resolution - put myself first!

Thank you!
Lisa said…
My constant resolution: Consume less and love the stuff I have more... and if I don't love it– give it away!
Anonymous said…
One and only one : let go of my daily frustrations and anger, and just enjoy what is in front of me. Be present, not reactionary. Likely will require therapy. What a great gift to give! I drool over the heifer international catalog every christmas, giving a way to live is such a cool thing!
Kathy Ireland said…
I almost hate putting this down in writing for the WWW to see but my resolution is to start making myself matter. I think I have a care-taking problem. Two kids - 1 who hasn't needed me in a while and another who really only needs me these days to take her to the mall and pay for stuff. My job makes me nuts but I've started to feel that maybe the reason I've stayed in it so long is because I can't wean myself off the how much they need me. I have a husband that only wants to take care of me but I won't let him. The last month has been exhausting for me because I've my "over caretaking" of our sick kitty. I've sat up with her at night, and cooked special food for her and basically spent the last month worrying about her and now, she's gone and I'm lost.

Anyways, this condition is becoming clearer to me and I've decided that I need to start putting a little thought, time and probably money into taking care of myself. I'm slowly forming a plan to change from care-taking to taking care. But it's not easy.
I'm going to start bicycle commuting again (4 miles). I did it for 7-8 years and then got lazy (and last summer was REALLY hot). It means going to bed and getting up earlier, but I know the benefits will be worth it. I'm even trying to get my neighbor to ride with me a couple days a week (more incentive for me!).
Lomagirl said…
My resolution- do my exam readings and finish before this baby comes out. Then have a baby. That's kind of taking all my resolve lately.
Great giveaway!
tanita✿davis said…
Right now, I'm overseas, my husband is ill with something the doctors cannot figure out, and I have a novel I'm supposed to be revising.

I'm torn between being too stressed to make a resolution, and having too many things to resolve...!

However. People of the world deserve gardens, and I need to pull myself together. So. I resolve that this new year I will pull back on the emotional Dear-God-What-if-he-dies eating, finish revising my novel within the next three months, and start taking care of myself again, in light of the fact that even bad phases of life don't last forever, and to remind myself that This, Too, Shall Pass.

There. FINALLY, I did it...
Karen Stopnicki said…
To work on my art more (or actually any)... there is a show in the Fall for an arts organization I belong to and I would like to have some paintings ready so that I can PICK one not just try to find one that may be OK enough to enter. If I can get that going, then maybe I can set some more art related goals. Sometimes I feel the overall goal is so high that I never get anything off the ground.
Ann in NJ said…
Oh my goodness, after reading all those resolutions, I don't even know where to begin!

I'm more of a "September is the new year" kind of person, but I've been feeling the need to make some changes so this works. My resolutions:
Go back to eating well - meaning eating food that is good for me, not just tasting good at the moment.
Keep working on art - I like making stuff, and while I don't FEEL like I can call myself an artist, I can continue learning techniques and making more stuff!
Being kind to my body - mostly by keeping it moving through exercise and stretching. The more I move it, the easier it is to move.
Colette said…
Resolutions....made annually and seldom kept through the entire year. Two things I strive to do are live more simply and leave no one in a worse position than they came to me.
I don't resolve to do these things, I simply think about them each day....deliberately,consciously in all that I do.
Bullwinkle said…
Oy - I'm with you on the sugar thing. I'm working on the refined carbs as well.

My (major) goal for the year was to make peace with the day job. I'm working on it. Maybe more yoga ...

(Yes, this is catch up time. It falls right in under "celebrate when the proper time appears". Happy New Year!)