It’s the start of a new year and everyone is thinking about new beginnings. What goals are we going to set for the next twelve months, what do we want to accomplish within the year?
However, I spent New Years Eve at a funeral and so my interpretation of how I should start the year has turned on it’s head. Instead of considering a fresh start, I want to think about where we end up.
If this were your last year, how would you choose to spend it? What would you invest your time in? How would you want to be remembered once the year was up?
Would you want to start writing a new novel, when you had a half-finished one on file? Would you schedule that over-due coffee with an old friend you haven’t talked with in a while? How would you choose to spend your time if you knew that it was limited to this one year?
If, in answering these questions, your priorities have suddenly changed from those goals you had already set – then maybe it’s time to take another look. Whilst standing at the funeral (because every seat was taken, with twice as many standing) I selfishly thought: would I be remembered as well as this person? I didn’t know the deceased well – she was an auntie on my partner’s side – but hearing the moving eulogy that her daughter gave and learning more about her throughout the service I realised I’d missed my chance at knowing a remarkable woman. I also realised that I’d spent the last year of my life focused purely on what I wanted, rather than how I’d want to be remembered.
Remembrance is a key theme in a lot of my writing. I had thought it was loss – as these two things can often go hand in hand. But, in revising my first novel I’ve noticed that I’m so intrigued by the topic of loss because it is so related to how we are remembered. And I want to be remembered. It’s part of why I want to write.
So this year, instead of giving myself a list of things I want to achieve by the end of December 2015 I intend to write a personal manifesto that will emphasise the impact I hope to have on the year instead. At the end of 2015 I hope that somewhere out there in the world there will be another person who believes in my writing the way I do (aka: find an agent); I hope that people will be grateful for my contributions and find my input valuable (which might read as continue volunteering for Huddersfield Literature Festival); I hope that I can be described as a compassionate, loving individual who supported others (otherwise known to be a good friend and celebrate other writers’ good work).
This doesn’t, of course, preclude me from making that list of 2015 Resolutions and Goals for the year. But it does mean that I will understand how they contribute to the bigger picture of my life and how important they are on the sliding scale that is the life I lead. At the end of it all I just want to be remembered well – and, in all honesty, that’s more important to me than the number of books I read in a year.
How do you want to be remembered in 2015?
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