wake up and fight

By now, you’ve seen Woody Guthrie’s “New Years Rulin’s.” The list lover in me is as tickled as the fan. Big surprise: Not much has changed in seventy years. We still want to “read lots good books.” We still want to “eat good.” We still don’t learn people very well.

So maybe we are not running out to the banks to deposit our extra money or shining our shoes. But we’re still fighting fascism (or should be, especially right here at home), and we’re still doing what it takes to crank up that ol’ hoping machine every day.

On our secret lists—yours and mine—we’re reminding ourselves to floss more this year, to love people, to make the bed every morning. And while we may tailor our out-loud resolutions to individual goals (“write a song a day”), the two-thirds of us who are overweight are hoping to eat better—or, in my case, less. I have a few more things I want to accomplish.

To Do in 2012

1. Read more books. Novels, short stories, poetry.

1. Blueprints for Building Better Girls, by Elissa Schappell
2. God Bless America, by Steve Almond
3. Black Elvis, by Geoffrey Becker
4. The Greatest Show, by Michael Downs.

2. Write more poetry.

My poetry mojo has been stuffed in a too-small pair of underpants, further constringed by a girdle, squeezed into black control-top hose, and packed into tight leather pants that nobody wears anymore. It’s itchy and lonely and hot and needs to go commando.

It’s been a long time since I wrote a poem without having to rely on single, unrelated words from Facebook friends. But as soon as I made the resolution, I wrote a poem in my head. It’s about buttons. It’s going to be good; I can feel it. I just need to squeeze it out.

3. Take more photographs.

I’m not talking about pointing at and shooting so many sunrises and sunsets, so much of the minutiae of my day, the birds, the rockstar kids I know, people, food, buildings.

I’m talking about sunrises and sunsets! The minutiae of my day! Oh, the birds! Those rockstar kids I know! People! Food! Buildings!

More, but better! I’m hoping for a series of self-portraits in the new year. Maybe superheroes. Maybe art recreations. Something weekly.

4. Concentrate on the concentrations of goodness wherever it’s found.

I find mine in Tuesday nights with friends, in a fancy Maudite glass, in the basement, on the dog bed. In fact, wherever there are good people and good food and good music, I’m usually pretty happy. There’s some of that for all of us every day. Yes?

5. Play guitar every day.

Even though I suck. Maybe I’ll suck less.

6. Lose weight. Move More.

There’s nothing worse than being old except being old and fat. I hurt myself in a pilates class at work, and now even my fat pants don’t fit. I’ve given myself permission to satisfy sadness and stress and pain with beer and pizza, even though it only feeds a pathetic fire. So after I ring in the new year with a roasted pig, I’ll stop being one. I’ll be on Medifast for a month—at least until I learn how to control myself.


7. Wake up and fight.

For far too many mornings since June, I have found myself in the company of those who wake up and surrender. Tonight, I burn the white flags.

My wish for you in 2012 is my wish for me and everyone else. Take more pictures—with your camera, your words, your mind. Love. Pleasure yourself while you pleasure others (doesn’t even require two hands). Listen to good music and drink good beverages and eat good food and keep good company.

Remember to put the oxygen mask on yourself first. It’s how you run the hoping machine.

What are your plans for 2012? Will you learn a new language? A new instrument? Will you take a leap of faith? Will you trust more, worry less?

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  1. HY-Girl December 31, 2011 at 7:56 pm #

    beautiful post, leslie, especially those last two paragraphs. happy 2012 to you.

  2. Leslie F. Miller December 31, 2011 at 7:58 pm #

    @HY-Girl Thank you, and Happy New Year from one good liver to another!

  3. Cybergabi January 1, 2012 at 10:52 pm #

    I feel like I've had too many projects last year, so this year, it's only one: half an hour of yoga each day. We started today, and it was great.
    When you said Medifast, I started thinking about what I read about dieting today (written by a RD, in a book about a plant-based diet): Don't go on any diet that you can't imagine being on for the rest of your life. Now I don't know exactly what Medifast is, but if it is what I think it is, I couldn't for the life of mine think of doing it for a month, much less for a lifetime. I know you gotta do what you gotta do, so I hope it will work for you. Have a great new year – and I'm looking forward to all the new photos and poems.

  4. Leslie F. Miller January 1, 2012 at 10:54 pm #

    I'll be fine. I've "dieted" all of my life. I can't stick with anything forever, so the first, most important solution is weight loss. After that, I will gradually start adding back the healthy foods I need. Right now, though, this is what I have to do. Happy New Year.

  5. Anonymous January 3, 2012 at 8:57 pm #

    Once again LFM, you've inspired me! Gorgeous words. Last year I didn't push myself artistically and want to create more in 2012.
    Also this year is to love life more and judge less. To embrace each minute and treasure the days. Yup. That be it.

    Card-carrying-LFM pal since 2007!
    🙂 Linda "ChartreuseMonkey"

  6. Richard Gilbert January 3, 2012 at 11:06 pm #

    Man, I admire your fire, girrl. I hope to just get some . . . fire. May take steady chipping away, then a flash. But whatever, I want it all, plus slimmer, too!

  7. Madison Guy December 24, 2012 at 10:11 pm #

    Beautiful post, Leslie. I'll be back on the regimen after the holidays too. Somehow I turned into an eating machine this fall, but I know what I have to do. And I know you do — good luck with the resolutions.

  8. Madison Guy December 24, 2012 at 10:11 pm #

    The captcha is too smart for me. Think I left a comment already but it disappeared, I think. So once again: Beautiful post, Leslie. Good luck with your resolutions and the Medfast. I'll be turning my iPhone's calorie counter back on, after having let go this fall. Onward!

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