It’s so easy this time of year to fall into thinking of every life change as a new year’s resolution . There’s varying thought on whether NYRs are helpful, if people do actually follow through on the change the promise themselves they’re going to make. A month away from from January 1, with Valentine’s Day displays around every corner, it’s easy to forget what prompted your to vow to, say, give up refined white sugar.
However, there are some things in my life that need to change, some things I can improve upon, a few habits I’d like to scale back, some activities and attitudes I’d like to make more present. I’ve been aware of the need for change for quite some time now, but on a low-level. I’ve only recently started facing my challenges head-on, looking at them closely and trying to figure out what needs to change, what I need to do to make the change, and how/why things got to this point. It’s hard work, looking at the things that I don’t like about myself, about my life. It’s much easier to curl up on the couch with a book and maybe some ice cream.
Which is what I’ve been doing: I get up on weekends or days off; look cursorily at my home, my to-do list, on-going projects, etc; feel overwhelmed; think that I’ll be better able to do things after breakfast; sit down with breakfast and a book, and then roll into bed 12 to 18 hours later, having accomplished very little besides having read a book or two. I can even pinpoint when I started doing this: a year ago yesterday, I was travelling back from Manitoba, where I spend Christmas with my family. I got home, looked around my home, which was sorta messy, half-painted, half-unpacked, and sat on the couch and read for three days until I had to go back to work.
It had been a rough trip, with one parent in hospital in Winnipeg for cardiac issues the entire time I was there, the other parent and I driving two hours a day, to and from Gimli, to spend time at the hospital with parent one. I was exhausted, and a little bit broken, I think.
My boss has been encouraging me lately to think of my work in terms of sports performance measures. He doesn’t know much about baseball, but he knows that I love it, so he suggested that I think of every file closure as winning the World Series. I scoped it down some, and think of closing a file is as winning a game. (Depending on how hard it was to close, it can be a shut-out, or a near-tie, or go into extra innings…) Nothing I love better than a good metaphor, so I’m going to extend this one beyond work.
Last January, I benched myself, because I was so tired. Some time to rest, to heal, I thought, before really playing again. Let’s call it IR. And then, after I was likely ready to be back on the active roster, it was easy to baby the injuries, cradle the soft spots, and stay on the couch.
I didn’t entirely stay there: I did manage to finish painting the greater majority of my apartment, made some cards, started a new job. But I wasn’t giving anything my all, and I wasn’t taking care of myself or my home, and most days that I wasn’t working, I logged significant couch time. So I’m going to think of that as a slump. Two ways to end a slump: start producing or retire. I’m not ready to hang up my metaphorical bat and glove yet, so it’s time to start producing.
This is a healthier and more tenable way to frame the changes I’m going to make then to think of them as NYRs, despite the fact that they’re happening at the start of the new year. Better to think of it as training camp for a while. Because I’m rusty, and nothing seems any less overwhelming than it did before I left for holidays. So I’m going to stretch, do some warm-up exercises, strategize, but at the same time, I’m still going to play every day. (No, really, I love metaphors.)
It wouldn’t be hard at all for me to write down probably twenty things that I either need to do or want to do, or both. But that’s part of what lead to the self-imposed IR: all together, it’s a daunting set of tasks/goals. So I’m not going to do that. I probably won’t just do one thing at time, either, because one tends to contribute to another.
I left my apartment in a state of shambles.Well, all right, i left a damn disaster, and – God, this is the hardest thing for me to admit – I left dirty dishes. A lot of them. So the kitchen is something of a nightmare right now, and is consequently my first priority. I am equipped with rubber gloves, bleach, cleaning spray, and garbage bags, as well as wireless earbuds and my pick of shows to cue up on my iPad (so much easier to give everything a good scrubbing with something other than my own thoughts to entertain myself.)