In the past few days, I have heard repeated wishes for a happy new year, always including some form of "hope it's your best yet." We always wish this for one another and for ourselves. Who wants to have an mediocre year? On the other hand, how realistic is it that each year will be better than the last? First, we must define "better," which generally implies more of something. More what? Happiness; prosperity; peace; generosity; enlightenment? Is it that we accomplish what we set out to do or enjoy what life brings? Should we try to make more money or be happier with less? Concentrate on the pounds, the energy, or the miles run? I suppose that there are so many ways of defining better that we could apply the term to our detriment; imagining that things are better even as we sacrifice our personal best to the pursuit of someone else's.
My ability to present the tangible is more of an inability. I've started more projects in the last few years than anyone could finish in a lifetime. Yet I want so badly to finish. I need to have something to show for myself. One year, my single resolution was to finish what I start. But I can't tell you which year that was...must have finished just as much as in any other year. I should be producing, though, right? How else can my talents be judged? And without judgment, how can I know if I am getting "better?"
A few days ago, I was explaining the intricacies of my town...you know, the one I've been designing for years; the one nobody but me believes will actually happen (and I have no choice but to believe in that which compels me). During this explanation, it occurred to me that though my portfolio is weak, my catalog of design is strong. (Sure, I didn't actually start a town, but I do have some genuinely innovative designs, maybe even important ones.)
I have always been a designer. Some people think of me as an artist or dancer or teacher, because I have done those things. But who I am, at the heart of all those pursuits, is a designer. I have been busy working at the skill of designing all my life. It is my impetus for acquiring skills, the means to experience the manifestation of my designs. Unless I bring those designs to fruition, I have nothing (much) to show. But it is not because my hands are empty that I feel inadequate. It is because this measuring stick was made for someone else. Perhaps I should design my own stick. I live in a world of ideas; the root rather than the fruit. In that light, what I am is actually important...so long as I am the root of something.
Therefore, this year I resolve to be who I am. I will love my gifts and nurture them. I will not measure myself in the light of another man's mystery, but seek to solve my own. This is my only hope for a year better than the last.