Okay, anyone who knows my routine has probably already figured out that I’m starting off this January project by visiting my regular coffee haunts. (Any day now, I’ll branch out. Stay tuned.) It just so happens that today, being the last day of vacation, is an odd day, and I’m not yet into my January schedule. I’ve just ventured out into a chilly-damp afternoon, on foot, to the closest good coffee to my house, Coffee Division. Coffee Division has been open for about a year, but this sunny corner has housed a cafe of some kind since about 2002. The current incarnation is my favorite. It’s light and air, lots of sun when the sun makes an appearance at all, and there is lots of room for people to spread out and do their work, which seems to be what most people come here for.
I wonder how many people are in here living out a New Year’s resolution. Perhaps the person who ordered a decaf latte did so for the first time in a long time. Perhaps the guy sketching is starting his new graphic novel. Perhaps the woman teaching herself Photoshop is launching a new business. Perhaps the guy in the corner with the noise-canceling headphones is determined to finish his book this year no matter what. Perhaps the woman with the pretty braids sewing beads on to a velvet bag is determined to do a little bit of creative work every day. Maybe the trying-not-to-be-so-sullen young woman with an eccentric old lady has resolved to be nicer to her grandmother and take her out for hot chocolate regularly.
I spent the weekend with some of my very best friends and our loud, happy crew of teenagers. Over dinner someone asked what we were going to do this year to make the world a better place. I think we all felt we could do more, or weren’t where we wanted to be on the saving-the-world spectrum, but as I reflect on what people said, I think we’re doing pretty well. One person is about to publish a book on cancer treatment, and hopes it will help people. Another is expanding her efforts to educate her community about climate change. Another is putting in the effort to employ a valuable but challenging staff-person who would probably not be able to find another job. A couple who are in business together talked about looking forward to the day when they can invest some of their time and their business profits into Habitat for Humanity. One person joked about not killing his kid this year. But my favorite thing was this:
“How ’bout we all just keep doing what we’re doing: being good parents, caring for our kids and others’ kids, and doing our work?”
I’ve been reading a lot of about New Year’s resolutions these past few days. My favorites involve just the right balance of creativity and realism, hope and experience. Examples? Check out The Instant Librarian or Let’s Talk About Writing.
And my resolutions? For me they are like Christmas cards: some years I write them, some years I don’t….Some years I make New Year’s resolutions and keep them, other years I make them and break them as quickly as I can, and other years I refuse to even consider the subject. This year I’ve enjoyed using this season as an opportunity to commit to a couple of important personal practices, such as taking vitamins, growing my hair, spending more time with friends, and a couple of goals, such as getting my writing life a little more organized.