A Fabled New Year

the-ant-and-the-grasshopperFirst goal attempt of the New Year: giving myself only 30 minutes for writing.

Like lots of folks, I have spent the last few weeks, rather months–oh who am I kidding, a lifetime– scheming and dreaming about the myriad ways I can become a better person. Similarly, I have tried to think of these goals, resolutions, etc. in realistic, actionable terms.

Perhaps like fewer folks, I have also spent a great deal of time trying to figure out how to phrase them.

Take some of the “big ideas” I have been circling around in anticipation of 2014:

  1. Don’t let perfection be the enemy of the good
  2. Be early
  3. Choose wisely
  4. Treasure each moment
  5. Have a place for all things and put all things in their place.
  6. Be kind

I could stop there, because those truly are the ways of being I want to work on. When I test out my specific goals, they fall into one or more of those categories. But:

  1. I believe in the power of three item lists. Six is too many, too easy to forget.
  2. Even though the first mantra is the most important one, I don’t like phrasing directives in the negative. Oops, I mean I prefer to phrase them as a positive. Do instead of don’t.
  3. Though technically parallel in structure, starting two lines with “be”=blech. Number five also sticks out in length and overall vibe.

After spending too much time trying to solve this puzzle (see perfection vs. good), I had another idea, that is, alas, more complicated and cumbersome. But it seems like more fun, and has catchy phrases built in.

So, I hereby declare 2014 to be the Year of the Fable. Humans have been trying to get their shit together (and telling others how to do it) for a long time. Why reinvent the wheel when I can turn to venerable voices such as Aesop, Ben Franklin, Mark Twain, and “unknown”?

Here are a few that are already on the list:

  1. There is a time for work and a time for play. (The Ant and the Grasshopper)

Drat—time is up! And per the ants, I need to tackle cleaning the post NYE house instead of continuing to write like a grasshopper. Here’s a link to a list of other lessons linked back to Aesop’s fables. I’d love to hear which ones resonate with you!http://aesop.pangyre.org/morals.html

Confession 1: Between looking for an image and moving the text to wordpress I blew the 30 minute quota. And the fam came back early from sledding which will make it harder to clean.

Confession 2: I do have a soft spot for the grasshopper. Music is also important for getting through the long months of winter. . . Takes all kinds, right?

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4 thoughts on “A Fabled New Year

  1. I, too, am an Aesop fan and had a giant, illustrated edition as a kid that I treasured. I’ll never forget the story of the man, the boy, and the donkey, and I was haunted by the drawings of the narcissistic dog and the vain, slightly terrifying, cat.

    Kudos to you for your 30 minutes a day! A good moral in that story for us all.

  2. Aesop, an illiterate Greek slave, has much to teach us all. I like your 30-minute quota, Gin, even if you didn’t abide by it 100%. To know that you chose to write instead of clean is impressive.

  3. I like number 4. Especially when it comes to spending time with children when I want to be doing something else. So very soon they will not want to spend time with us (Fableist: Harry Chapin–Cat’s in the Cradle).

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