Wednesday, January 9, 2013

A Manifesto For a New Year

Hello there all you people in 2013 (which I persist in pronouncing "two thousand thirteen").  I think that this is going to be a good year, because I am determined to take some risks and make some changes.  This isn't always an easy thing, especially for a person who has an anxiety disorder (lots and lots of fun, let me tell you), but I have found that it is an absolute necessity.  My broken little mind tells me that I should just hunker down, stay the course, follow the well trod path, and to mix my metaphors terribly, to not rock the boat.  It's far safer here, hiding in my little cave.  It is also a bit like being dead.

I am reminded of the reason that Thoreau gave for leaving his little cabin in the woods (emphasis is mine):
I left the woods for as good a reason as I went there. Perhaps it seemed to me that I had several more lives to live, and could not spare any more time for that one. It is remarkable how easily and insensibly we fall into a particular route, and make a beaten track for ourselves. I had not lived there a week before my feet wore a path from my door to the pond-side; and though it is five or six years since I trod it, it is still quite distinct. It is true, I fear, that others may have fallen into it, and so helped to keep it open. The surface of the earth is soft and impressible by the feet of men; and so with the paths which the mind travels. How worn and dusty, then, must be the highways of the world, how deep the ruts of tradition and conformity! I did not wish to take a cabin passage, but rather to go before the mast and on the deck of the world, for there I could best see the moonlight amid the mountains. I do not wish to go below now.
I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. 
The well trodden path, then, is worn and dusty place, where nothing grows.  Surrounded by life, it is itself dead.  It is the easiest way to go, to sleepwalk back and forth, denying challenge, change, and possibility.  But nothing good has ever happened to me while hunkering down.  I have done nothing worthwhile, tasted no new fruit, made no good art, or advanced not a jot forward while carefully walking the well worn way.  In this lucky thirteenth year of the millennium I will seek risk and thereby not simply save my life, but make it anew.

I'll let you know how it turns out.

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