I made up some intentions and goals for the new year and wanted to share them with you.

First, these are not resolutions. Resolutions are hot garbage designed to fail. They are oath-shaped, where a single breakage is a betrayal of a promise made. And so overly ambitious! The only sane outcome is that they fail, which makes it harder to trust our resolutions over time. Resolutions are so poorly designed I almost wonder, do people do them because they secretly want to fail?

Intentions and goals handle turbulence more gracefully. An intention is a guiding star and a goal is a state to move towards. Temporary setbacks don’t impact these so much. There’s no way to tell until the end of the year how successful the intention or goal was, and they can always be picked up again later.

I trust my future self, basically. Anything written here will be joyfully tossed away in favor of whatever seems best at the time. Still, I love lists! So without further ado, here are my intentions and goals, in the style of Sasha’s 2022 post:

I will indulge my need for speed, quietly on an empty highway at night or at the local racetrack. I will strongly consider hiring a coach, then procrastinate because it seems kind of expensive. But if I’m going to go fast, I should learn to do it safely, so I can go faster still.

I will write more embarrassing and ill-advised things on the internet, both shamelessly and full of shame, but bravely. As I continue to not be struck down by lightening, the crowd of inner-editors and filterers will thin out and I will find new, better jobs. Many things I post will flop. The ones that I toss out casually will be acclaimed, to my dismay. I’ll tweet my little heart out.

My knee and foot pains will decline in favor of new, more interesting problems. I will try things, from strengthening my hip and ankle muscles with bellydancing, expanding my awareness with the Alexander technique, some mystery intervention, or just accepting my fate and focusing on other things that are easier to change.

I’ll hang out in a big house full of my favorite people at least a couple weeks this year. We will do whatever seems fun and right. There will be guitar and singing. This is a promise and is not a goal or intention.

I will challenge myself and grow in a direction I’ve neglected. It’s probably in some blind spot, or I’d have worked on it by now. I’ll think to myself a couple times, “ah, this is where I need to go,” and be very wrong.

I will do less than I could, and will not push my limits as much as I have in the past. I’ll listen more to my body’s urgings to slow down and rest, lest the body strike me down with illness when I ignore it. I’ll make progress figuring out which foods make me feel good and which ones give me headaches and lethargy. I will drink less coffee, but just enough to keep up my routine.

I will take small sufferings more seriously. Even small sufferings are worth listening to and caring for. And those are probably more tractable, too!

I will pet animals more often.

I will look at tiktok as much as is healthy and joyful, no more, and no less. Haha, this is a lie, I know I will use it more than that. It is a solution to a problem that I don’t quite understand yet. But I hope I might use it a little less than before, as I find new ways of coping with the malaise of being alone with myself.

I will judge people a little less. And myself, too. Or at least judge everyone in a more humorous and positive way.

I’ll chip away at the quagmire of self-doubt and not feeling good enough, carefully and kindly.

Paean to Alpacas

Most people do not know about alpacas. This must change.

Alpacas are effortlessly neotenous. Their small size and big eyes call for you to love them. Look at this wool-laden head that balances on a furry noodle neck. Their big eyes seem so guileless. Alpacas are smaller than you. You could beat one in a fight, if it came to it.

But you won’t need to. Llamas are as tall as a grown man and can be aggressive towards humans. I don’t know if you could beat a llama in a fight. Alpacas are smaller, cuter, and mostly unaggressive. They’re only quarrelsome with each other, especially if you have a carrot. There are always fewer carrots than alpaca.

(This is a llama, by the way. They might as well be mythical creatures straight out of Xanadu.)

The usual barnyard animals, goats, sheep, horses, and pigs, give away their presence with a familiar barnyard funk. If you close your eyes, you’d hardly know the alpacas were there. They’re quiet, too. I don’t remember them making a sound, even as they maniacally followed the carrot-bearers around the pen, leading with their funny soft fingerlips.

If you find yourself feeding an alpaca, it may comfort you to know they only have bottom teeth in the front of their mouth. The front teeth grind against their hard palate, while all the heavy chewing happens in the back. It would be a foolish act of will to get your fingertips all the way back to the crunchy molars.

I often wish I could want anything in life as much as an alpaca wants a carrot. At first I thought that I am special, because I have the carrot, but no, I simply hold the orange magic wand that controls their attention.

I tried a carrot. It was crunchy and a little dried out. It did not have the magic I’ve been looking for.

There’s a dream I’ve often seen of just getting away from it all. The dream usually features a modest house in a rural wooded area. This future has no city noises and sirens, just chickens and beehives and perhaps a child or three.

I’d like to incept into this dream a few alpaca grazing in the distance. They would graze gently, leaving the roots of plants intact unlike a goat would. And in exchange would give you wool that could be spun and woven into luxurious sweaters sold on Etsy for an egregious price.

This dream has some of the carrot-nature for me. Not with the same strength or obsession, but there’s a touch of yearning there. If I were seven, I could see myself writing about this every day for weeks, creating dramatic stories about a little red farmhouse with two peacocks, fifteen chickens, three goats, a small herd of alpaca, and a prowling mountain lion that the great dane keeps at bay.

What is going on inside this mind? I do not have flattering guesses.

So I will write to you as if this were elementary school, back when we wrote reports on things we loved like tigers and Christmas. I will inform you that alpacas are good. I will explain the best places to pet them: Avoid the ears. Scratch the sides of the head, the neck. Under their jaw, get the hay out of their chin. They are messy eaters, as I’d be if I were covered in thick velcro and had no hands.

I’ll admit, I’m no expert. I have never owned alpaca, and I did not have time to get to know the intricacies of their backstories and personality flaws. Like this curious bucktoothed alpaca, doomed to forever be dismissed as a serious intellectual. Having crooked teeth doesn’t mean the alpaca is dumb, but I can’t stop the judgements from flowing, as much as I want to pretend.

Perhaps that’s the same with their innocent looks. Maybe there is more darkness behind those doe-eyed looks than is visible on the surface.

I’ll take my chances.