Ok so I’ve gotten the memo from the general population that New Years resolutions are trite. That no one keeps them and therefore they are completely worthless. I get that. I understand that if you make a resolution that you have absolutely no intention of keeping, it’s pretty much a waste.
But I do believe in New Year’s resolution…. sure most people don’t keep them for longer than a week (a month is quite an accomplishment) and I know that for many people it’s the same resolutions year after year with no improvement. However, I do believe there is some value in taking a moment, even if only a moment, to evaluate your life and see what needs to be changed. Obviously, it would be better if more people actually put some effort into making the changes they’ve noticed are needed… but in this fast paced world at least they took a bit of time for self refelction.
Me… I make them every year and I do honestly try to keep them. Most of mine aren’t really quantifiable… so it’s hard to tell if I succeeded in them. But even when I made one with a clear out come, for example the resolution “I WILL finish my novel this year” …..it was useful…. obviously I did not finish my novel in the past when I’ve made the resolution but my attempts to do so have been better because of the resolution. I’m going with any improvement is better than none at all.
So in the spirit of attempted self improvement I give you my New Years Resolutions!
1. I need more patience.
It always makes me laugh when people tell me that I have so much patience. I’ve had students remark on it throughout my years of teaching. It’s strange because I do not feel like a patient person, I would not list it as one of my stronger attributes. I know that some of the people closest to me would not list it as one either (I know this because both my mother and my husband have commented on it in the last month alone lol). But I suppose I can see why some people think I am. I give the impression of patience…. in some situations I’ve gotten very good at “looking” patient. Not the same thing at all. I think it’s also because while I am not patient I am very good at judging what things matter and what things don’t. So if I know it’s something I can’t really change and that doesn’t matter in the long run, I can be very patient about it. But other things I’m just not
I have a tendency to not be patient with things that occur over and over again. If something happened with a student once or twice, for example, I would be very patient about it. The more it happened the more impatient I would become. I think this is because, in my mind at least, we’ve addressed it… it’s not that hard…. stop doing it!!!! I also have a hard time dealing with complete and utter illogic. People making statements that just aren’t true, or have no basis in reason, drive me bonkers.
With all that in mind there is one particular person I need to have more patience with. I love this person very much, I would say I’m very close to her. But she manages to push all my buttons. She always has to be right, she is very judgemental, her way is the only way to do things, she believes she has to say whatever she thinks no matter how hurtful it might be (ironically she doesn’t see how it hurt someone as it is just how she feels), she nags on these issues incessently, she sees the world as a glass half empty and has to push this negative world view on everyone and she often acts or speaks without any basis in fact. Now having said these negative things she is also a warm, loving person who would do anything for those she loves. She is so insecure that she cannot seem to believe she is loved, which is so very sad. She truly means well and even some of her worst flaws come from her trying to do her best. All of these things are increased by the fact that she is in her mid 80’s.
I can see that some of the things she says or repeats is not by choice, but by the fact that she is growing older and she simply cannot remember that she said them. However, sometimes it is just because she has to be right. One of the things she loves most in this world is LA, which means one of the things she has to boss me around about, criticize me about, worry about or make little comments is LA. Needless to say this makes me feel judged and nagged… two things that do not lead to my having patience.
Plus, in the vein of her always having to be right, she will decide things and go with it, even if all evidence points to the contrary. One of the things is temperature. She believes that LA is cold….always. It doesn’t matter if everyone else in the room tells her that she is the only cold one she is convinced that LA isn’t wearing enough clothing. It doesn’t even matter if LA is sweating…. LA is cold. Why don’t I do something about it? Then the passive aggressive comments start, “Well, I know I don’t know anything, but in my day babies were meant to be kept warm.”
Did I mention that passive agressive also drives me bonkers.
So when these things start I really do try to grit my teeth and ignore them. I remind myself it’s borne of love. I try to ignore. But she is fairly relentless and I’m not patient so I’ll end up snapping. One time I remember saying, “That’s right. I carried her for 9 months being careful of everything I ate or drank for her well being. I had my migraines and other illness and wouldn’t take medication. Followed up by a completely natural childbirth because I believed it was best for her ….all so that I could make her freeze once I got her, you’re on to me!”
This did not go over well.
So I’m not asking God to give me the opportunity to learn patience…. I have the perfect opportunity as it is. I’m hoping I can let things go more. And not just on this situation.
But especially with this situation because I do love her and I recognize that we won’t have her forever.
(On a side note it always drives me nuts because part of my brain is screaming “So why won’t she just lay off you so you can enjoy being around her” but a. I know she can’t help some of it and b. that’s who she’s been for all these years she is not likely to change now…. even though it drives me crazy)
2. Exercise and Health
Yeah, yeah, yeah…. EVERYONE makes this one. I never claimed to be a total original. I never had baby weight to lose so I was confidant that nursing would keep me at my new weight or help me lose even more. But no. In fact nursing seems to have had me gain weight. Perhaps its because for the first 9 months of LA’s years I didn’t have to move as much. Now I certainly do! lol
Anyway, Steve and I are doing a couch to 5K program for running and I’ve been keeping a better eye on my diet. So hopefully I can keep this one! (Sidenote… I seriously hate running and believe it should only be done if someone is chasing you with a sharp object and a maniacal gleam in their eye.)
We are always on the prowl for keeping things natural and healthy as well. With that in mind we are actually looking into building a chicken coop in our backyard so we’ll have fresh eggs. I’m very excited about this prospect. More on that later.
3. Clean out and downsize.
So I don’t see myself on an episode of Hoarders anytime soon but I’d like to be more streamlined. I think things would be easier to clean and keep clean if we had less.
This is no problem for Steve, he’s a minimalist. I am not.
I need to go through things though while I’m in this frame of mind and purge. Problem is there is a little help who would be right behind me and it’s very hard to work when she’s “helping.” Plus I often find it difficult to keep up with my regular cleaning, working, being Mama activities…. taking quite a bit of time to reorganize and downsize seems impossible. But I’m going to try!
4. Go to bed with the house (mostly!) straight and the kitchen clean
So this one is a joint resolution. I proposed this be our family resolution. Steve just raised his eyebrows and said, “We’ll see.” Although to his credit he has been pretty good so far.
I just want to take five minutes to straighten the couch pillows, put away the stray toys, the glasses, any trash etc before we go to bed. Because when we don’t I walk out into the living room in the morning and I just immediately feel overwhelmed. When it’s mostly straight I feel better, more ready to take care of stuff. It’s a psychological thing I’m sure.
Plus the kitchen…. sigh….. My husband is pretty perfect but we have what I call the ongoing Dish War. When we started dating and he realized I could cook he swore that whenever I cooked dinner he would clean up. That lasted less than a year.
However, as I’ve pointed out repeatedly, it really sucks to spend up to an hour in the kitchen preparing a nice meal only to be put back in the kitchen afterwards to clean it all up. Plus, LA usually needs me so I don’t get it until later and by then I’m just exhausted and it feel so unfair.
Steve often says he will do it, and he will, but my definition of cleaning up the kitchen does not mean doing it all 3 days later. It’s gross, it looks terrible, it attracts bugs (hello Florida!) and if I want to cook something else I don’t have the space or the tools available.
He came up with a plan about a year ago, admittedly after I had a dish meltdown, that I would do dishes Monday and Thursday and he would take the rest. Fair enough but it still doesn’t happen most nights.
So I’m really hoping this one will get going….. for my sanity because one day I’m going to completely have a dish meltdown and it won’t be pretty.
5. Do more with LA
LA is growing so fast! I want to do everything with her! I feel like some days I’m just treading water to get through… and I don’t want to go through life like that or I’ll miss things. So I’m really trying to slow myself down and savor all her moments. To do interactive things and let her try…. to not get caught up in other things and just focus on her without technology or life distracting me (there is another blog post half writing about this one too).
And to focus on husband and life more… it’s so easy for me to rush around completing a to do list. But I’ve come to realize I’ll never finish. I’m one of these people who will always have a project or 12 so I need to take time to cuddle on the couch and let it go.
6. Write! Write, write, write! Novel finished by 2013!
I’ve been a terrible writer and I’ve missed it. Lately the characters for my novel (and some other characters for other ideas) have been screaming at me to get going. When they expect me to do this, I don’t know. But I need to. It’s part of who I am and I’m happier when I have some time to do this.
The idea for this blog was to keep my juices flowing so I would write my “real” stuff more. It hasn’t really done that and I haven’t been really great about keeping up with this either (trust me, there are like 8 incomplete posts I need to finish).
I signed up for a writing class that meets once a month for 6 months. I’m hoping it will help me stay accountable and really get some pages done each month. I also am hoping to do more here….
This post, I’m resolving, will my last unedited, quick post. I will take time. I will work on craft. I will try…. otherwise this place may become a spot to dump whatever is on my mind before I get to my other work… but I hope not.
Hoping to get at least two more posts out before I go to Texas next week. That’s right, Texas, see I do have some catching up to do!
Happy New Year!