I never create a word for the year, I rarely set New Year’s resolutions, either.
Rather than resolutions, I try to live my life by Sankalpa, a Sanskrit word that means intention. The difference to me is an energetic one: intention is patient and consistent encouragement, much like an open palm placed gently on my back guiding me in the direction of my goals. A resolution feels like a domineering inner force that is both strict and unforgiving—a closed fist pressing its knuckles into my spine. The New Year’s resolution drew from the word resolute, for which the synonyms are adamant, unwavering, and undaunted. There’s no room for error with this kind of energy—only complete success or utter failure. This, I theorize, is the reason why so many New Year’s Resolutions ultimately fail. Here is an interesting statistic:
Of those that made a resolution in 2020, 35% kept all their resolutions, 49% kept some of their resolutions, and only 16% failed at keeping any of their resolutions.
My last and most favorite New Year’s “intention” was in 2019 when I vowed to wear lipstick every day instead of only on special outings or occasions. Just when that was becoming a habit of mine and I had a lipstick in every bag, boom—the pandemic came and the masks went on and the lipstick went back in the drawer (oh, it’s coming back out again, though!)
But, now that we are halfway through the year, I think I can retrofit this prompt to my situation. Meaning this: rather than measuring my progress to see if a word I came up with from six months ago still aligns with me today, I can search for what word best aligns with what’s happened so far.
That word is impulsivity. A word I think most of us associate with immaturity or inexperience. A word that is culturally looked down upon and which should be avoided. A word that, until this year, I would never have written a blog post in which I sang its praises, let alone called it sacred.
In early 2020, I published my first book. For the six years it took to write, re-write, edit, proofread, design, layout, and, eventually publish, I was determined, focused, and deliberative. I absolutely positively did not make any impulsive decisions—not with the cover, not with the title, not with anything. I was resolute.
But, apparently, this year, Uranus is transiting my Mercury, and, according to my astrologist, this means a year (or more) of erratic and sporadic bursts of creativity.
You’re telling me.
Gone are the days of incredibly measured and deliberate work. Instead, I feel pulled (and sometimes pushed) by a force that can not be tamed or corralled.
This is also a force that cannot be denied. The itch to create right now—whether a long, in-depth researched article, a quick blog, or a philosophical musing—must be scratched each and every day. My work doesn’t connect from day to day and sometimes, I’m pretty sure I’m contradicting myself. And I’m writing using all kinds of unusual prompts and from all my voices.
It’s a completely different kind of creativity than I’ve ever experienced, but one I’m enjoying indulging in right now. I don’t often do sports analogies (here I am, following an impulse) but—it’s like I’m the batter, and the universe is the pitcher, and it’s trying to throw whatever it can at me to see if I can hit it. I don’t hit them all, but I at least take a swing.
Our world tells us that our decisions should be well-thought-out and have a defined purpose. Well, these days, I can’t promise that either of these things are true for my work.
They’re also not true in my personal life right now. My days are as fluid and spontaneous as my writing; if I get an impulse to go somewhere or call someone, I don’t stop to think it through. I just do it. I barely keep anything on my calendar, and I give myself permission to cancel or reschedule when I feel the need.
I’ve told several people close to me that this way of life does not seem sustainable to me. I’m assuming that’s my reasonable self speaking. But, another part of me, my wild self, asks, “But why not? Does my life have to return to a controlled process with neat beginnings and endings that are all explainable?”
Do my choices always have to be reasonable?
Does every moment of every day have to be justified somehow?
Why is a life that is led by our heads valued more than a life led by our hearts?
I’m learning a lot right now about myself and my capabilities and instincts. I’m watching myself and realizing that I’m actually having a lot of fun. This way of life makes me much less attached to outcomes, perfection, and opinions—because I see my creations as nothing more than shooting stars in the sky.
I don’t know about you, but some of the greatest universal creations seem quite impulsive, don’t they?
Check out this website of the 15 most unusual creatures, for instance, and tell me that these ideas underwent quality control. Just look at that fricken sparklemuffin for chrissake and tell me that some god, somewhere, wasn’t high as shit when she created it. Or that the naked mole rat wasn’t created just so that the creator could laugh at the look on our faces when we came across one.
We’re led to believe that everything should have a purpose—but try telling that to the Universe which creates just for the hell of it all of the time. Take a peek, for instance, at these crazy things just hanging out in the Universe, and tell me that’s not some impulsive shit!
I think we’ve been lied to. Not everything happens for a reason. Maybe it’s not supposed to, either. Maybe we’re supposed to leave room for impulse, for spontaneity, and for wild, unreasoned, unpurposed creativity and movement in our lives. Maybe even (gasp) all of life is supposed to be like this.
There is nothing wrong with impulsivity in our lives. Perhaps it’s exactly what’s missing.