Bacon on the Bookshelf

Savory picks for the free range reader

3 Years of New Year’s Resolutions…

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My friend Patricia Eastwood stops in today with a funny and heartfelt reflection on 3 years of New Year’s resolutions, plus a book recommendation.

I’m starting the book tomorrow, if not sooner! It sounds so intriguing and thought-provoking for January of 2021…

From Patricia:
For the past three years, I have come up with a New Year’s resolution that I felt might make some kind of positive change in my life and seemed easily achievable. The best one was that first year – I am definitely wearing more dangly earrings three years later. Life changing actually. I have found that what I choose to wear does impact how I think. That second year, I committed to more “spa and ah” – it was an epic fail – but, I did learn a lot. I burned my eyebrows and embarrassed myself in spa settings and wasted a lot of money at places with the word “European” in their name. This experience has added clarity to my lifestyle that will serve me well for the rest of my life. Then came the resolution for 2020 – something about having a sugar free day once a week. Ahem. Once food became scarce on the shelves for a few weeks, it was revealed to me what a misdirected goal that really was – making a specific choice begins with having that specific choice available. My 2020 goal should have been “make do” and find ways to not get grumpy about having to “make do.” By operation of circumstances, that is basically what my 2020 goal became and has been my study of self improvement for the year.

Success. I have survived and learned strategies for managing disappointment and, more importantly, as a parent, child, daughter in law, supervisor and sibling, growing my empathy for others experiencing disappointment. The most important strategy I have learned is to celebrate the things that did come through – the moments that were not cancelled – the time together that was had – the technology that did work – the miracles that happened – the moments that affirmed that life keeps going even when it changes (people still got married and babies were still born).

This journey has led me to my 2021 statement of focused resolve. This year it was easy (as is the resolution) – I am reclaiming excellence as a standing life goal. Forget “survival” and “incremental improvement” and “I feel ya” and “please hear me” – after all, 2021 is a whole percentage point of my life, if I live 100 years; and I am going to make the most of it. When making a decision about whom to spend time with – what to do with my personal time – where to place emphasis for my profession – what to read or watch – whether to eat a food group or not, I am going to ask a fundamental question: Does this choice contribute to my desired destination of personal excellence?

Directing my effort is a memoir I am revisiting this upcoming January, “What I Talk About When I Talk About Running” by Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami (translated to English in 2008). The book is really more than a memoir.  The book is, I think, mostly, a statement of personal philosophy that complements deeper “sign post” studies like religion or eating better quite well. Murakami ruminates on his choices in this book (both the big and the small and even some directed by his confusion or lack of activity or preparation) and the reader travels with him as he tells his story of how he “travels.” By joining this journey, Murakami has stimulated my thoughts on decision-making and how my decisions and circumstances (some able to be molded and some not (hello pandemic quarantine!)) lead to destinations.

Happy New Year, everyone! May your 2021 present to you a clear runway rather than a mountain to be cleared.

17 Comments

  1. It is so nice to “see” you, Suzanne!! As always, I adore your candor and the way you view the world. Your book recommendation is very intriguing. I’m adding it to my early 2021 stack. Happy New Year!

  2. Could the New York Times review be covering the same book?

  3. I’m rushing to buy a copy!! Sounds like the perfect book to kick off 2021! And I agree with Suzanne… it’s good to shift from what didn’t/doesn’t happen to what did/does happen. Great mindset… Thanks

  4. I’m so happy to meet you, Suzanne! You sound like a lovely person embracing growth in manageable (thank goodness!) amounts. I will get Murakami’s book ASAP.
    And may I say I find your idea of interior design fascinating.

  5. Whoops! meant Patricia. Evelyn

  6. Happy New Year, Bacon! Sizzle 2021!

  7. The book sounds fascinating and so does Patricia Eastwood.

    In the late ’50s, I served a brilliant young Admiral (he later became Chief of Naval Operations), several years in the Far East. On one occasion we flew back to Washington to marry off his beautiful daughter. Big church, dress whites for the two of us, covered with more gold than a man ought to wear. My task: stand at the rear of the nave and say to each bridesmaid as she entered the aisle, “Chin up. Stomach in. Chest out. Smile.” They all went down with perfect posture and turned with miles of teeth to greet the bride as she came down on his arm. On the way back to Honolulu on his plane, he woke from a short nap, put his hand on my wrist and said, “You know, John, that’s not bad advice for living your life.”

    My resolution for 2021. And thanks for Bacon.

  8. Patricia! What a great voice to hear in the new year. Your resolve to reclaim excellence is bold and admirable, and if anyone can show us how to do that, it is surely you. I am going to start with baby steps…such as dangly earrings! wishing you all the best in 2021…xo

  9. I am inspired as well…and I do love dangly earrings!

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