I hate New Year’s resolutions. They set one up for failure and self-loathing before the words are even completely out of the mouth. So I stopped doing them – although now and again, I do actually resolve something; it is very rarely on January 1st! But since it is the end of my ritual year at Samhain and I enter the contemplative, introspective “Fallows” between then and the Solstice celebration? I do find myself making decisions. But more often, simply self-notes and reminders. Very often, the things I do instead of resolutions are simply resumptions of “normal time” activities put off by the holidays. Some are necessary, but forgettable things that I attach, for memory purposes, to particular dates. I don’t resolve. I do.
For instance, although I use less make up than ever? I clean my make up brushes at least once a month at full or new moon. It is when several other repetitive tasks are done, so easy to recall. But once a year, at least, in the week ‘twixt Xmas and New Year’s? I not only soap and clean my brushes, but throw out scraggly ones and soak ALL of them in hydrogen peroxide to really sanitize them.
Similarly, although I drink alcohol less and less; I clean out the booze cupboard and give away things I tried, but know I will never drink again. This habit makes one welcome at New Year’s parties, let me assure you — showing up with bar-reinforcing bottles is never a bad thing.
I look at my bodily condition and resume regular exercise; something that from Samhain thru January barely exists. Because I know what happens when I do not work my body: my body stops working. It is not a new resolution, it is a normal resumption.
I make bookmarkers out of my favorite received holiday cards. This helps me remember those friends all year and saves me money on silly boughten bookmarkers.
I clean out my spice cabinet. No, this is not a 12″ long wooden rack of small glass jars. It is a large mahogany hutch mounted on the wall with four shelves full of bottles and jars. Also a pretty ceramic drawer’d thing full of customized blends. So, getting rid of old unused spices and making note of what needs to be purchased or mixed is a nice culinary tune up for my year.
I play with my tarot cards – often doing a reading with every deck I own. Is this divination? Not so much, for me. While I do believe people can be prescient, I also think most allegedly “modern” upbringing waxes that right out of us. I also feel that is not entirely bad — I’ve seen willfully credulous people frighten themselves into paralysis by being terrified by every “sign”; some critical thinking and logic would serve them better. That said, as a semi-contented little Jungian, I do feel that evocative images on the cards can trigger prescient moments for me. and link me to the collective unconsciousness of humanity. Moreover, I know when I am too triggered-reactive to pay any attention to the cards; I use the cards mostly as a psychological barometer to find out the state-of-me. Hitting six decks in six days will tell me where I am, where I might be irrationally going astray and what might better serve me.
I clean the house to within an inch of every dust-bunny’s life! Why wait until spring? My house gets a pretty thorough going over about four times per year. One at the turn of the year is always excellent because it is cold enough the house is shut-up. Making sure no cereal bowl is moldering ‘neath a bed, nor dog-dragged stolen “treasure” smelling under the desk is a very good thing. For instance, whatever pale winter sun there is comes through clean windows better. All those candles through the holidays smell nice, but do cloud windows unless you are burning pure beeswax with natural wicking and no metal cores.
I lovingly un-decorate. What the hell does that mean, you ask? Well, I don’t just toss things into bags and boxes. I take every single thing down, I dust or polish it and put it back where it goes with care – as I do so, I remember when and where that ornament came into my life. I call back the memories of that year. I connect the dots of my life with the things I’ve chosen to carry with me by resurrecting the past at this time of Auld Lang Sang. And yes, sometimes something does not go back in the many boxes and trunks stashed under the platform bed in the den. Sometimes something pain-evoking goes away, I just let it go.
I plan my candle making for the coming year. I inventory what I have left and what needs replacement. Cold winter days are perfect for dipping tapers out in the Hexen Haus. This year, for example, I plan to try making my own beeswax only tea-lights. This is honesty, for me. I use a lot of tea-lights and those convenient, but nasty little petroleum based bastions of window haze need to GO. I am unlikely to get rid of many candle holders that really work only with the wee tins, so I need better tinned candles.
Who needs a resolution when I have a list of “things I always do”. Occasionally, I have a smaller list of “things I DON’T do” to reinforce.