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Erase the Lines You’ve Drawn Around Your Life

Do you make resolutions? You know, that long list of 2014 things you should’ve compiled by now if you have any intention of accomplishing them in the new year??

I stopped making resolutions a decade ago. Life is a series of constant adjustments, tweaks I can’t always coordinate to a big change in the calendar.

But if I could challenge myself for 2014, I’d like to accomplish three things.

Maybe my list will inspire you.

I will read books with too many pages. I will seek out genres that challenge me: to see a different world view; to grasp something I don’t believe; to commit time to a few topics and characters that make me think or cry, laugh or feel. Life becomes stale when my box contains the same ingredients, recycled over and over again. I want to color outside my own lines.

I will visit a place I cannot stand, a building I’ve only seen in a photograph. Every place is alive. It tells its own story. I cannot possibly judge a place from a picture. It isn’t fair to the unique play of shadow and light, to the stories the place can whisper, to the scents and sounds that give a building life. I may come away from that place thinking it even uglier, but at least I will speak from a full experience.

(Maybe I will expand this view to everything in Life, because I am generally to quick to judge, to categorize, to write off.)

(I miss a lot of living by sitting in my own box.)

I will make a friend who sees the world from the seat opposite me. We won’t vote for the same candidates or worship the same way or even value the same things. And I’m not going to give a damn. Life is boring if I surround myself with people who are just like me. Who agree with me. Who think like me. Who do all the same things I do. Maybe, just maybe, I will learn to accept people who see the world differently without calling them things like ‘stupid’ or ‘ignorant’ or ‘uninformed’ or ‘wrong.’

However you plan to tackle the new year, I wish you nothing but seconds that build into minutes that become hours that morph into days that transform into months that make up a year of EVERY SINGLE THING YOU WANT.

Happy New Year, Dear Reader.

82 Comments Post a comment
  1. I would love to see where you go and who you meet as a result of this Andra. Happy New Year from a lapsed blogger.

    December 31, 2013
    • Happy New Year!! I have missed you.

      December 31, 2013
      • Oh thank you and ditto! 🙂 I wish I had time to come back…

        January 17, 2014
  2. I’m not a resolution person these days either, as I need less pressure to make my life more complicated by tackling too many things just because a specifically ordained day rolls around where stuff needs to be listed and tracked until every thing on that list is completed and woe betide you if you lapse or fail to achieve a goal as written. Blech.

    But people go for that symbolic self-sentencing with fervor-filled zeal, so I don’t stop them. Of course, due to over-extending themselves a wee bit too much, more than half plus end up like Frank White from King of New York. One hot minute you’re dancing up a storm:

    And at the end of the year or before that, you’re crumpling over somewhere with that list dangling from your fingers as the last gasp of life slips from those wishes to make yourself a better person (and you were mostly fine to begin with).

    That said, nice list. It’s not the usual “I will lose XX pounds” or other set of things that tend to frustrate the easily frustrated when they fall off and under the wagon. I’ll keep an ear to the ground for updates and if you do fall off somewhere (because your new ‘stupid’ or ‘ignorant’ or ‘uninformed’ or ‘wrong’ acquaintance makes you jump or pushes you off the edge of nowhere (that place you can’t stand?), well… at least that will be an interesting post about trying something different and dealing with the consequences.

    Happy New Year!

    December 31, 2013
  3. all wonderful places to travel out of your comfort zone, andra. may you find great adventure in your journeys this year ) beth

    December 31, 2013
  4. I’m not a resolution maker either. I do like your list of personal challenges though – makes a change from “lose weight, get organised and start running” 🙂 Number three is particularly interesting – I’m witing with baited breath to find out who you’re going to be pals with 🙂

    December 31, 2013
  5. Smiling at your goal of reading a book that challenges you. Recently sat, sweaty brow, breathing like an endurance runner prepping for the race before I cracked the cover on a long, long book I knew would probably be hard for me to finish. It’s “Read, girl. Read” in lieu of “Run, Forrest. Run”. Wishing you the very best things for 2014!

    December 31, 2013
    • I am just tired of hearing all the excuses people make about reading. “I don’t want to read a book with too many pages/too many words on the page/too complicated/too violent/too sappy/too much thinking required/too sad/etc.”

      Not to mention the people who are surprised I actually expect them to read my book.

      Some of the best books I read in 2013 were ones I never would’ve picked up on my own. I found many of them in this group, and I am really grateful for all the great suggestions.

      Here’s to sweating together in 2014. 🙂

      December 31, 2013
  6. Brilliant. I like how you think.

    December 31, 2013
  7. omtatjuan #

    Happy New Years! BTW I love Ella! Thanks again!

    December 31, 2013
  8. No resolutions, just goals. One goal is to read your book! And then to help your promote the hell out of it. Not sure about other goals, I am still trying to overcome 2013 – haven’t had much time to think about 2014.

    December 31, 2013
    • 2013 was better than 2012, but 2014 is going to be amazing. 🙂

      December 31, 2013
  9. Nope. No resolutions. I never keep them. Why make them then?

    “I will make a friend who sees the world from the seat opposite me.”

    This might be a good idea for some, but I am at a loss for kindred spirits that I would trade 1,000 different points of view for one like-minded individual. If I have a home someday, maybe it’ll be different but right now not so much.

    December 31, 2013
    • Here’s to your finding that like-minded person in 2014, Nate.

      December 31, 2013
      • I’ll drink to that. I’ll also drink to Jeff Buckley, which ends up being a bad idea when he gets to Cohen’s “Hallelujah.”

        December 31, 2013
      • I like that version.

        December 31, 2013
      • It’s not that it’s a bad cover…

        December 31, 2013
  10. Here’s to 2014 – a year of new beginnings!

    December 31, 2013
  11. I love your third resolution. My bestie girlfriend is opposite from me in politics, her strong personality and, at times, how she sees the world. But we care about each other very much and have some really great and respectful conversations. Something that we do have in common is our wacky sense of humor and being single and that alone has brought us closer as friends.

    December 31, 2013
    • These friendships can be so meaningful. I am glad you have her, Mary.

      December 31, 2013
  12. Great list. I haven’t made resolution lists in years either. But I do follow a similar idea to what you have here. I strive to always be just beyond the edge of the comfort zone.

    December 31, 2013
    • It is a good place to live, just beyond the comfort zone.

      December 31, 2013
  13. tarakianwarrior #

    Andra, you’re an inspiration. I hope this New Year brings you lots more laughter, HEALTH, and a continuation of the growing love you and MTM share for each other. And those are just a few of the things I hope the New Year brings you…

    December 31, 2013
    • If that’s what I get, I will be good. Happy 2014 to you, Lori.

      December 31, 2013
  14. Happy New Year, Andra! I’m just returning from my week of vacation only to leave town again. But I loved your resolutions! I need to get my retrospective up as well.

    December 31, 2013
  15. Wonderful goals. My main one this year is to play more…laugh, hop, skip, you get the picture. And to not take life too seriously. Happy 2014!

    December 31, 2013
    • As long as I laugh more, I will be good. Happy 2014, Amber.

      December 31, 2013
  16. No resolutions this year! Instead I will pursue health, sanity, and creativity for myself, my family, and my friends! Happy New Year, Andra.

    December 31, 2013
  17. “… to grasp something I don’t believe…” Nice!

    December 31, 2013
    • It’s a good thing to try, I think.

      Happy 2014, Roxanne.

      December 31, 2013
  18. A great list of goals, Andra. And special kudos to you for #3. When I left the evil empire I used to work for and found myself looking for distraction, I immersed myself into the burgeoning art scene in Las Vegas. Since then I count a handful of bohemian ragamuffin artists among my closest and dearest friends. On paper we have virtually nothing in common, and yet I find myself having the deepest and most interesting conversations with them. It is very, very cool.

    Happy New Year to you and MTM.
    xoxo nancy

    p.s. I sent you an email yesterday. Thanks for Sting! 🙂

    December 31, 2013
    • You can imagine my Facebook newsfeed: I grew up in a fundamental Baptist church and school, and I performed in Charleston theater for more than 20 years. And I dearly love people from both of those worlds. I don’t think it is ever a bad thing to try to know another soul. Things may not always click, but we see the people beyond the noise.

      December 31, 2013
  19. I’ve never made resolutions, it’s always seemed redundant. May your write everything you want to and still burn for more.

    December 31, 2013
  20. Happy New Year, Andra! I love this post and have enjoyed reading your blog for close to 3 years now?! It was one of the first I found in Charleston. Doesn’t feel like that long ago! xoxo

    December 31, 2013
    • It doesn’t, does it? Happy 2014 to you, too. Hope to see you early in 2014.

      December 31, 2013
  21. I’m with you. Resolutions are doomed to cause disappointment and self-loathing, round about March or April.

    BTW, one of my best friends is my diametric opposite, philosophically and politically, yet we’ve managed to sustain our close relationship for more than 30 years. Not sure if we’re the exception that proves the rule, though…

    Happy New Year!

    December 31, 2013
    • I think these relationships are so rich, because they prove there are people beyond the stereotypes.

      Here’s to a bunch of books sold in 2014. Yours. Mine. And all other writers here.

      December 31, 2013
  22. ASH #

    “Andra likes to color outside the lines..”
    “I wonder if she could have been such a success without her true lines of discernment …”

    December 31, 2013
  23. That is the best New Year’s greeting, Andra: “I wish you nothing but seconds that build into minutes that become hours that morph into days that transform into months that make up a year of EVERY SINGLE THING YOU WANT.” and you list is inspiring. I do not make resolutions, though do tuck away a few personal goals, which basically amount to trying to be a better person.

    Happy New Year to you and to MTM! Heres’ to 2014.

    December 31, 2013
    • Personal goals are so much better, because they can be made any time. I actually implemented number 1 in November, when Lisa at NW Frame of Mind suggested a series of books I’d never heard of and normally wouldn’t read. I will knock out number 2 in a couple of weeks.

      I hope you and Tom have a lovely 2014 (and I hope I get to meet you.)

      December 31, 2013
  24. Your list just morphed into my head where I pondered it for several minutes, before blending in with my list. Yep. It definitely inspired me, Andra. Except for it was all in Spanish. 🙂

    December 31, 2013
    • ps. Can we erase the lines nature has drawn around my eyes, too?

      December 31, 2013
      • Haha. I wish. And the rolls I have added in the past week. 🙂

        Glad the post was food for thought, Maria. I look forward to hearing how your whole list unfolds in the new year.

        December 31, 2013
  25. Happy New Year Andra! One of my best friends sees most of the world opposite from me but I think it makes our common points more impactful and frequently reminds me that someone with a completely different point of isn’t a stereotype, they are still a good person.

    December 31, 2013
    • In many respects, I married someone who’s my opposite on so many things. When I open social media and hear myself making snap judgments, I know it’s time to stretch myself again. It is really great when we can find relationships like yours, Lisa.

      December 31, 2013
  26. Happy New Year, Andra! I would like to say that, speaking from experience, it’s possible to have great friends who see some fundamental areas from the other side. Politically, my main friends are somewhat on the other side, although we do agree on some things. Religiously . . . I just keep my mouth shut. 🙂 and sometimes things pop up about the way children should be raised. It’s interesting how the off-beat topics become a big deal when they’re part of your world. Sometimes I wonder why they come at it from that angle or this perspective, and often I remind myself that everyone is different. The important things are those things I like about them. At least, I think so.

    December 31, 2013
    • Ha. I can’t say anything about how children should be raised. But I hear those conversations a lot. My guide son’s mom actually turned to me for advice about something after she got a bunch of that from some friends, and I sat there thinking I was the last person qualified to open my mouth. I think I spoke some reason, though, because she took my advice.

      (I also once called a bunch of those people elitist, intolerant, snide people on Facebook, because they insulted the entire South over one issue that didn’t even happen in my state. She still let me be Cooper’s guide mom after that.)

      December 31, 2013
      • Sometimes common sense is all it takes to crack through the BS!

        December 31, 2013
  27. I love these challenges, and it connects in many ways to a post that I am just about to post . . . stand by. 😀

    December 31, 2013
  28. James Moffitt #

    2013 was not on the Best Year Hit parade but I suppose it could have been much worse. 🙂 I gave up on New Years resolutions a long time ago. I think that my goal for 2014 is going to be enjoying our new place we are moving to. We are moving from a very busy street with neighbors way to close to a very serene and quiet location where the neighbors are at a distance. I can’t wait to sit on the dock and listen to the fountain at night while I look at the stars with Katy.

    I loved this that you said “I will learn to accept people who see the world differently without calling them things like ‘stupid’ or ‘ignorant’ or ‘uninformed’ or ‘wrong.’” I think that if we all tried to obtain that goal that we could make huge strides at bridging the gap in humanity.

    I want to live one day at a time in 2014 and do the best I can with what I have and let tomorrow take care of itself.

    Happy New Year one and all!

    December 31, 2013
  29. Happy new year!

    December 31, 2013
  30. Wow. Great post. Happy New Year Andra and more of same for all of 2014.

    December 31, 2013
  31. Happy New Year Andra and MTM! I, too, gave up resolutions long ago. This year, however, I am going to resolve to get my health back in order and travel more. Whether it’s the result of a resolution or a promise, they are two easy ones to make and keep.
    Best of love to you and yours!

    December 31, 2013
  32. Nice list- I think it’s great to step out of a comfort zone and try new things 🙂 All the best for the new year! 🙂

    December 31, 2013
  33. Brilliant goals, Andra. Here’s to meeting them in unexpected and wondrous ways!

    December 31, 2013
  34. Love this! I have been done with NY Resolutions for some time now. Mine are more like Solstice Suggestions. Room for slipping and sliding forward and backward. More like words of encouragement, both to friends, people I don’t know, and especially to myself. Happy New Year girlfriend!

    December 31, 2013
  35. PS…LOVE that pic!

    December 31, 2013
  36. “Self improvement is masturbation”
    -Tyler Durden

    December 31, 2013
  37. Im gonna take one of your comments and write it again:
    2013 was better than 2012, but 2014 is going to be amazing.
    🙂

    Just being able to go on feels pretty great.

    December 31, 2013
  38. feliz año nuevo..!!

    December 31, 2013
  39. Happy, happy New Year Andra! I love your list of this new year…colouring outside the lines can be awesome, at times a little scary and sometimes uncomfortable but as you said…that’s what makes life interesting!

    January 1, 2014
  40. That’s a wonderful list, Andra. I don’t make resolutions, either, but i do like to set challenges. I always hope to make room for more of what brings me peace, quiet and balance in my life. I do encourage your #3. I have several friends who indeed sit VERY opposite me int erms of worldview, spiritual development and definitely in the political spectrum, and they strengthen my life in all the best ways. They are among my best and most loyal friends, really. I think that’s a wonderful expectation for the new year. I have a long list of things I want to consider in the new year, but they all fit under the umbrella of making sure that every day counts. And that my choices don’t need to make any sense to even one other person. LOL! Maybe some of those options will end up being shared on my blog throughout the year. We’ll see! oxo

    January 1, 2014
  41. A good list to consider. Happy New Year to you.
    Ps I visited you via Linda’s blog-feel I should name drop.

    January 2, 2014
  42. Cate Russell-Cole #

    Andra, I love it! It’s a refreshing change from the many, many task lists I am seeing out there.

    January 2, 2014
    • I think, for me, this is more of a Life List. Things to always remember.

      So good to hear from you, Cate. I hope you had a fantastic holiday.

      January 2, 2014
      • Cate Russell-Cole #

        I’m so bored I came back to work early. LOL Too hot to holiday. It is supposed to reach 105F here tomorrow. Send snow! 🙂

        January 2, 2014
      • Ha. I could’ve sent you a truckload a couple of days ago. I was in Wisconsin. It almost never snows in Charleston, where I live.

        I can send you some pictures of snow, but that may not help.

        January 2, 2014
      • Cate Russell-Cole #

        LOL. It helps. Thankfully my 2014 calendar is U.S. printed and January has snow. Bring it on!

        January 2, 2014
  43. It is a great list of goals and the one thing I do enjoy is having friends that have different views. We might not always see eye to eye but it can make the conversations that much more interesting.

    January 3, 2014
  44. I like what you wrote. It is so much more meaningful than “lose weight” or “be nicer to people”. Challenges are way better than resolutions.
    And a book that might be out of your comfort zone (although not overly long as you mentioned) if you’re interested is The Shack by William P Young. When it was published it was surrounded by much controversy. I won’t tell you what i thought about it and whether i liked it or not but let’s just say that some people loved it so much that it changed their life and others hated it so much that they burned it. I am curious if you read it, what you think 🙂

    January 8, 2014

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Creating the Whole Picture, One Color at a Time | Lisa A. Kramer: Woman Wielding Words
  2. Looking at the Now in 2014 | El Space–The Blog of L. Marie

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