Barbara Boehm Miller
Fiction writer and creator of the character, Lola Rolls

New Year, Same Me

Posted By on Thursday, January 2nd, 2020

Happy New Year, my friends!

That exclamation point, I’ll have you know, is no punctuation formality. The prospect of a new year and a new decade really does excite me, making me eager and ambitious for the closets I will clean, the drawers I will rearrange, and the papers I will organize. And the lists! I will create an outrageous number of them in my best, beautiful cursive writing: master lists, bullet lists, and even lists of lists. They will be filled with ideas for new projects, schedules for effortless success, and strategies for time management. With regard to that last item, my current favorite is the Pomodoro method, particularly because it involves setting a timer (possibly an old-fashioned, wind-up kitchen timer in a good, retro color like aqua or tomato-soup red) and filling in worksheets. (Full disclosure: I am using that method to get this blog post written.)

If past years are any indication, however, these resolutions, if indeed they should be called such, will not yield significant results. To wit, in January 2019, I crafted a rigorous time frame for purging my dresser drawers, and, in October of that same year, I unearthed a pair of 8-year-old maternity tights while digging for a scarf. By that point, it was already quite clear that the idea of a place for everything, and everything in its place had not been implemented, so I was not actually disappointed in myself, so much as I was surprised to find those tights, which I knew I had put somewhere.

Over time, I’ve experimented with setting big goals, like finding a different career or taking steps to earn a new degree, and, as a type of backlash or rebellion perhaps, with making modest changes, like flossing my teeth twice daily or wearing matching socks every day. The large structural changes I considered making to my life tended to resist tidy, one-year time frames, and, likewise, sometimes lost their standing as good ideas, while the small-scale stuff remained elusive for no good reason. Why couldn’t I floss twice a day, every day, and wear matching socks?

Having been alive long enough to experience a hearty number of new years, the 2020 trajectory is easy to predict. I will begin with the plans and lists, for which I will need fresh sheets of paper and desirable pens or maybe a packet of new pencils, sharpened to razor tips and certain accessories, like the wind-up timer or an instructive book, or maybe specific notebooks or journals with good covers — in any case, more paper. I will love playing with what, for me, amounts to grown-up toys and will get special enjoyment from looking at my handwritten pages.  The best part though will be the reverie, the dreaming of what could be, not necessarily as a goal that I expect to achieve, but as a story that I tell myself, a tale in which I, as the delighted and delightful protagonist, am competent and strong enough to control time itself.

The process is a bit like making a scrapbook, except that I am creating a record of the future, which, I suspect, is no more or no less realistic than the vacation photos or upbeat narratives of others, who want to preserve a cherry-picked, happy, energizing account of their past exploits, rather than a comprehensive documentary that includes  less-than-pleasant details, like petty arguments, vomiting children, or underpants washed in a hotel sink.

And so, I wish you all that good, extended period of dreaming that is most possible at the start of a new year and the sweet pleasure of imagining the best possible person you can be.

Barbara Boehm Miller
Fiction Writer and Creator of the Character, Lola Rolls

4 responses to “New Year, Same Me”

  1. Barbara says:

    I also love making lists, never have enough. Happy New Year !

  2. Awesome post! Keep up the great work! 🙂

  3. Great content! Super high-quality! Keep it up! 🙂

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