So let’s talk resolutions.
Traditionally (as in, the few years that I can remember through a haze of champagne hangovers and crushed confetti) I haven’t done New Year’s Resolutions. They seemed sort of defeatist, I found myself thinking “If you want to enact change, why wait for January 1st? Do it NOW!”
It felt like when people declared that they were going to quit smoking and then chose some arbitrary date a week in the future – why? You have that desire now, why not act on it? After all, who can predict how you’ll feel in a weeks time?
But this year, because of the overwhelming feeling I identified in 2011 and perhaps because I am getting older and wiser and less quick to judge and, yes, even because I am starting to recognize that change sometimes needs a small seasonal nudge, I am joining the millions of other hopeful humans resolving to change.
I’m starting to view the advent of the New Year sort of as I view Valentines Day. Yes, it’s cheesy and predictable to go the route of red roses and vows to lose weight, BUT both dates serve as valuable signposts, milestones, reminding us to take the time to appreciate the ones we love, take a look at this life we’re living.
I took the reminder this year, but I took it with a grain of salt.
I find it immensely difficult to enact change in small measure. I dive in the deep end, flounder for a few days and then drown, never to be seen in that particular pool again, having convinced myself I’m a terrible swimmer.
Remember when I started running? I was all “OMFG I’m a runner now, guys, I RUN” and I mean, I did. I ran hard for six days in row and then my whole body hurt and bile rose in my throat if I so much as tripped over my running shoes with my dead-legged franken-calves.
I literally went from 0-60 (okay, from 0 to like, 7) in a day. And then I quit and haven’t run since.
Because I’m anal-retentive I’ve broken down my resolutions into overarching goals to continue throughout the year, and then new goals to complete each month. I’m doing this because one of the first of the overarching goals is simple, Know Thyself.
And I know that this particular Thyself is a quitter and can not enact change on a sustainable level. For example , the old me would have started a cleanse, tried to do yoga every day, re-do her entire house and start composting all in the first month. With the predictable result that January 6 would have found me weak, angry, irritable and annoyed with my own failure.
I would then write off 2012 as a crapshoot and dejectedly drown myself in a large vat of warm salsa con queso.
BUT, new, enlightened, dare I say it WISE, 28 year old Madeleine isn’t putting up with that booshit. I know better.
So. Without further ado, my 2012 Resolutions. ( I’ve popped them after the jump because they ran long and I know hearing the rambling self-improvement plans of a strange 28 year old isn’t everyone’s jam. If it is…
Overarching General Changes:
This category is made up of a few nagging things that have been hanging around the base of my skull, hovering near the bottom of my to-do-list and generally bumming me out with my inability to accomplish them. They will be year long projects.
Start composting. I am a vegetarian and I have a LOT of vegetable waste. Throwing it in the garbage never fails to bring on a pang of guilt, however I live in an area where I regularly wake up to large brown bears trying to break into my garbage can and eat my delicious foodstuffs. So having an outdoor compost is difficult. I experimented with worm composts and I really enjoyed them, no mess, no smell etc. But the size of our current house and the fact that I inadvertently killed all of the old worms makes me think vermiculture is out for me.
Our local recycling centre has a drop-off for compost. I look at it every time I’m there. So. I’m doing it. I’M DOING IT.
Compostables will be collected and stored it in our freezer, taken to the depot once a week. This particular resolution is supremely boring but I never realized just how guilty it made me feel until I made a veggie lasagna today and didn’t feel that horrible pang every time I popped something else in the garbage.
Become a More Positive Person. This one is self-explanatory, but also tough to explain. This is a personal journey. (I am re-reading this for edits and can’t believe I actually typed “This is a personal journey” without the slightest hint of irony. I am leaving it in as a point of historical record: Observe! Madeleine’s inherent douchery, circa 2012!
Create Space For Growth. Also personal (At this point you may feel as though I’ve invited you to read my diary and am now inexplicably screaming “Agghhhh! Get out of my rooom!” No matter! Disregard the conflicting messages! Read on!)
Know Thyself. One of my favorite authors Gretchen Rubin of The Happiness Project often talks about the fact that you can change what you do, but you can’t change what you like to do. I wrestled with this one and even rejected it for a while. Until I found myself hunched over the table at a bar on karaoke night on my 28th birthday, wondering why I was there at all and then feeling guilty because I wasn’t having fun when really, I don’t enjoy going out. I haven’t for a long time.
I need to recognize that things that are enjoyable for other people sometimes aren’t for me. This all seems very basic but I find it quite difficult because of the value judgements inherent in a persons actions.
In my head, someone who dances on tables while belting out “Billie Jean” to a crowded bar is a far more fun and interesting person than someone curled up with a good book and in bed at 10pm. I don’t want to accept that I am that person, but guys, I AM. The dent in my mattress and stack of books masquerading as a side table prove that beyond a doubt. I need to get over myself and embrace this.
This is how I plan to combat NY Resolution burnout. Initially I had all of these slated to begin in January but mon dieu, c’est impossible! According to The Internets, a habit takes 30 days to become a habit and so I’m hoping to just tackle one change each month and carry them through for the rest of the year, so basically December 2012 will find me to be a perfect human being. Realistic goals ACHIEVED.
January: Eating habits/Medication. I’m starting off like many people with a 3 week cleanse. Then I’ll transition into a more healthy pattern of eating that I’ll maintain throughout the year. I don’t eat badly now, and I think if I’m honest with myself there’s more wrong with what I DON’T eat, than what I do, as I’ve never been much into sugar or junk food, but I also tend to undereat and subsist for days on coffee and large gusts of air. This is not good y’all.
Also, I need to take my medication. All 12 pills and 2 liquid doses. Twice a day, every day. I hate this, I can’t tell you how much I hate this. The pills stick and scrape and there’s just so MANY of them. I constantly forget and my pill case takes up half my purse and the liquid is vile and leaves my mouth coated in a syrupy taste for hours.
But not taking it isn’t an option and I need to address my tendency to sometimes pretend that I simply don’t have a life-altering kidney condition at all when, I mean really Madeleine.
I’ve also made an appointment with a naturopath because, I don’t know, I’m just into that shit.
February: Let’s get physical! This is Yoga month. I purposely left this to February rather than January so I might avoid all of the other eager-beaver New Year’s Resolutioners. I’m going to try out a few yoga studios in town and pick one to practice at 2-3 times a week. (I almost just typed 5 times a week. Look! I’M LEARNING!)
March: Counseling. Ugh. I can’t believe I just typed that. This is one that might actually begin earlier but I’m officially giving it until March to stick. I don’t know why I think I need counseling, but I have it available to me free as one of the perks of working in Social Services, so I might as well take advantage of it.
I am the oldest of my sisters, my job involves counseling teenagers, I like to give advice, and so over the years I’ve found myself becoming deeply uncomfortable being on the other side of the equation, the receiver of counsel, rather than the dispenciary.
It’s funny how I spend literally weeks sometimes, espousing the benefits of counseling to the teens I work with, battling stigma and telling them that everyone can benefit from an impartial ear, yet I myself have so many reservations about doing this.
April: Socialize. I really enjoy being alone. I love it actually. I crave my solitary mornings, walking around an empty house, doing my thang. Sometimes I don’t speak a word until 3pm, those are good days to me. But I also don’t want to end up a crazy lady puttering around not talking all day, not by choice, but because I don’t have anyone to talk to. I can get lazy about maintaining old relationships with all of my friends/family who live out of province, and lazy about cultivating new relationships too.
So this is a month to bring back the Sunday potlucks we used to do, start getting into the habit again of writing emails, making phone calls. Reaching out.
May: Start a garden. We’re fortunate enough to live in a little house, with ample space in front and back for a garden. Given my enthusiasm for being self-sustaining, “green”, eco-friendly etc it seems strange that I don’t have one. But for the past two years I’ve taught teenagers how to garden and in doing so, gained some valuable tools myself. Nothing extravagant, just the basics and maybe a few wildflowers.
June: Swim. We are so so so SO lucky to live in an area of incredible natural beauty with lakes like this
just moments from my door. I love swimming, hate chlorine, so June is a month to start swimming at least once or twice a week.
July: Music. For listening and bedroom dance parties (in this scenario “dance parties” is not a euphemism). Like most other human beings I like listening to music, but I’m loathe to actually put the time in to discover new artists beyond what I find on my latest 8tracks mix.
Thus, I am outsourcing this months resolution to you, The Internet. Each week or month or something (whatever guys, seriously I have like 7 months to figure this shit out) I’ll post a thing asking for recommendations and then I’ll choose my favorite from the (presumably) thousands of suggestions and buy that artist’s album and in this way I will crowdsource the soundtrack to my life and live happily every after in musical bliss.
August: Go Shopping. For Myself. It’s weird that I have to put this on a resolution list, but I never buy anything, ever. before Christmas I splurged on a $12 Old Navy Sweater and it was so exciting that I have lived in it for every day since. Seriously. Starting in August I’m going to try to spend $50 a month on clothes. I am serious, I have to set a budget to SPEND money WHO AM I?
September: Celebrate. September will mark Adam and I having been together for an entire decade. This is both ridiculous and ridiculously cool. We need to celebrate! I am a strong believer in marking occasions like this. Relationships can be tough, and my god if you can’t have a little party for getting through another year then really, what’s the point?
Break out the bubbly and eat some cake to acknowledge the fact that neither one of us has maimed/killed the other even after ten years of loving and fighting and messy cars and cold feet.
Depending on what life looks like, I’d like to take a trip to do this, maybe venture out to the eastern provinces of Canada, road-trip styles. Just him, me and a trunk full of suitcases.
October: Whatever. Who Cares. I don’t care about October. October is a such a MEH month to me. In the context of my resolutions October will be a gimme month, a time to adjust to my wonderful new clean-eating yoga-doing gardening dancing social amazeballs creation I have become.
And maybe to put time into creating a fabulous Halloween costume. Okay yeah, Halloween Costume. That’s it.
November & December: TBA. I’m leaving these two open because I can’t think of anything else (as evidenced by October) and I don’t want to just fill the months for the sake of filling them. These will be updated as needed.
SO. If you actually got to the end of this, I commend you. You have the patience of a thousand women and are obviously greatly intelligent. I thank you.
Are you making resolutions for 2012? If so, feel free to share (Bonus points if you outdo me and can list them in less than 10,000 words)