A friend of mine posted on Facebook, on the very first day of the year, “there shouldn’t be a need for New Year, New Me. You should be trying to better yourself every day of the year.” And, true as that is, doesn’t it give you a kick up the backside to realise that an entire year has passed and another one lies before you, untouched? And as I looked at the New Year, I thought to myself, what a lot of gunnas.
You know the idea. I was gunna meet up with so and so. I was gunna get my license. I was gunna keep in touch, and clean my room, and pick up this habit and drop that one. And I am sick to death of all the gunnas.
So, from the very first day of this year, I set to work.
Sunday was my hundredth time doing Sunday School, and my first time thinking in a while, how could I make this better? It was also my first time volunteering at a new church- that was a gunna that got accomplished towards the end of last year. For ages, I wanted to move to a small community church and learn people’s names and help it grow. Well, I finally did and decided to get more involved by joining the church band. Almost as a cosmic LOL, I ended up at the front, a lone singer with my guitar and two other musicians safely tucked behind me. The minister joked he didn’t think I would look too enthusiastic, but in all honesty, I put aside my nerves when I considered this was it- I had been going to get involved, and here I was.
Monday, I set to work on my room. A room full of “character” as I like to say, I’d been going to clean for a long time. But when you have guests over and you nearly slice off their toes as you embarrassedly try to shut the door as they walk in curiously, it is time to consider vacuuming. I started at one end of the room and worked my way to the other. My parents were out so I cranked my music and danced around the house. I swept the floors, did the dishes and came back to my room every time I had a spurt of energy. And I did a lot of things I’d been going to do for a while.
I threw away a gift I’d handmade for someone I was no longer friends with- it had been in a box since last January.
I binned the shirt people had signed on my last day of high school- it had been slumped on my floor, my heart halfway caught between the bad memories and the feeling it should be sentimental.
I gave two bags of clothes and knick knacks away to charity, and filled another bag with torn, permanently stained, paint splattered clothes I didn’t think anyone would want, all the while conscious that I’d probably bought about as much as three bags in the past year anyway.
I watered my plants, who were dying due to my gunnas. I lit a candle, dusty because I’d always been meaning to burn it. I vacuumed, and God rewarded me with the scene of my dog barking, jumping and trying to protect me from a roaring monster, and then whimpering and running away. All these gunnas, smashed. Then I sat down and ate an ice cream, which I was gunna do anyway.
I decided to write letters to people I wanted to keep in touch with. Yes, they live far away and it’s going to be more difficult than easy to get to see them, but that doesn’t mean the end. It means being creative. And I put out an ad on Facebook asking who would like a letter, because I realised gunna isn’t just something I struggle with. If people truly cared, they would overcome their gunnas and meet me halfway.
Gunna is the people you want to see but never seem to have time for.
Gunna is the notes you were supposed to write, and the letters you were supposed to send and the texts that are still drafts or on your to do list.
And so I bought some overpriced stamps [because love means sacrifice] and wrote some letters. And the response to that ad was astounding. So astounding I ran out of envelopes and took it down. I decided to stop striving for people who didn’t have time for me and start with a good honest list of people who did. Because the feeling of accomplishment when a gunna becomes a done is something that should be amazing. Like walking a straight line from my door to my desk for the first time in forever.
And today, Wednesday, I did some of the hardest gunnas of all.
I went back to work and did some office duties. The last time I was at work, I’d been yelled at and abused [I was asked to pop in during the holidays and keep everything running], and I have to admit, I’ve been avoiding going back. But I had a to do list, and I was going to finish it. Usually when people say “so help me God”, they mean it in a sort of sarcastic and weirdly threatening way. Today, when I turned the key in the lock, it was one of my most earnest prayers.
I met up with a friend who I haven’t had a good, sit down chat with in a while. And I told them I would like to stop being friends. There are a lot of reasons behind that- some of them might not even make sense. But it was something that, as time had gone on and we’d grown further and further apart, I’d been thinking I was going to do. And so I did it.
And finally, a not so hard one- I opened and used all the bits and pieces of a shower set I got for Christmas. You know, the fancy ones that usually end up being given to a family member you don’t like and forgot to buy for, or chucked into a Kris Kringle a year later. I attempted to pamper myself, and it didn’t go too badly, although I now fancy my head smells like a salad, due to my peppermint shampoo, coriander conditioner and grapefruit face wash.
Sometimes accomplishing something you’ve been waiting to do is an exhilarating feeling. Getting a tattoo or going overseas or giving away something. Telling someone you like them. Putting the final full stop on a story. A weight is lifted, a smile is on your face, and you give yourself a little nod of “good job”.
Sometimes finishing something really hurts. I was gunna do Year 13 and when it was over, I wept. I was best friends with a girl for six years, and when it ended, it crushed me. I was good friends with a person for over a year and today, when enough was enough, I felt a little lost. None of these hold regrets- a gunna is a decision you’ve already made, and you’re ready for. But they sometimes hold pain.
Sometimes, making your gunna into a done feels like nothing. We do things every day. Little steps are made every time we decide to move forward.
But none of that means we should shy away from our gunnas.
No, we should run at them, and keep running until they’re done and we’re out of breath and they’re behind us and we can see the next one, faintly in the distance.
I’m gunna finish the Bible this year with a friend.
I’m gunna get more flexible so my arms don’t shake when I hold a yoga pose for over thirty seconds.
I’m gunna buy my clothes and as much else possible this year second hand.
I’m going to love my family and friends better.
I’m going to run into the life God has for me.
I’m going to trust Him more, because he’s done a pretty good job with my life so far.
And this week, when I sing at church, it won’t be so scary.
Because I’ve done it.