I miss writing. I've taken a long break- a *really* long break- from blogging- last year was an all time low of posts. I make no excuses, truth is it became more of a chore than a pleasure, and it felt like everyday all I did was talk about my brain and how thinking/communicating made me feel like a duct-taped blind rat trying to find a way out of a paper bag. (Answer? Chew yourself out of the bag. I'm out of the bag, working on the duct tape now....)
Anyhoo, thanks to modern mediwisdom I am now thinking more-or-less ok again, not sleeping as much (down to 10 hours!) and have a majorly improved mood. I still get stuck and scrambled, but not as often- and the constant-coldness has been replaced with the menopausal volcano of always being hot. (TMI but I suddenly *hate* to wear clothes. I do when I'm awake, but have rediscovered the pleasures of cold sheets on bare skin. After a summer of multiple quilts, frosting, electric blanket on high and socks, here in winter it's down to nothing at all..... Mr. Owens needs his own room, he keeps being evicted to the couch.)
So. New Years. Thank-God. 2013 was *not* my favorite year, but we made it- and I took a day off- New Years Day- before beginning to think about 2014 and what I want to do, resolutions I want to make, goals I want to set. And this is extra important because I am now 50- milestone that is unbelievable- and need to be ready for the next half-century of adventure.
Beginning with truths, for the fundamental of thinking about change is beginning with truth.
1. Truth: Money buys happiness. Everyone says it doesn't, but they are- for the most part- lying. I am awful at money. I work and am thrifty, live modestly, but it continues to vanish and we are struggling. We both work- but the issue is just there is no way to get ahead and an emergency wipes us out. 2013 was the year of constant emergencies- everything from car-disasters, hospital trips, tumble-down-house to relatively simple things like dead coffee makers. You know, money wise- when it comes to happiness it is not that surplus money literally *buys* happiness (as in material goods, though a new pair of shoes would be nice) but having enough to cover the bills without fear of lack of gas to get to work- that buys safety. And less stress, anger, fear. All of that equates happiness.
Resolution: Communication- pay the bills on time as best we can (we usually manage this), communicate when I cannot. Tighten small expenses by eliminating as much as possible in order to plan/save for large ones. Keep working hard, without discouragement, and focus on leveraging our existing talents/ jobs for maximum benefit.
Action: Budget plan and document management. Sequestered savings. Targeted spending- ie: 25 $4.00 trips to McDonalds (usual amount for one- drink, fries, sandwich) equals my long-desired much-needed boots.
Goal: Make it through the month without struggling, pay off some of the lower depts, save 1,000 by next C'mas, and get a new pair of boots. (Can you tell I really, really, really need boots?)
2. Truth: Work Makes Fun Funner. So far I am having an awesome year at school- yes, there are stress spots and low spots, but it is going much better than the past few years. In part because I am doing less (no more graduate school or mass leadership), but also because I am finally learning a simple truth- work first, *then* fun is less stressful. You see, I get lazy- I work at relaxing, want to read/ paint/ write/ binge-watch tv- but if I am doing this and work is to be done, a vicious cycle is generated. I get stuck in 'relaxing' while still stressing about 'all I need to do'- which is actually easily accomplished if I just do it first. If I delay it, everything builds in my mind into mountainous proportions and I get all weird. At this age, I know how and when I work the most effectively, write the best, organize the best etc. and when I need to 'shut off' for the day.
Resolution: Work first, play later- and moderation in both. If I am in the mood- the groove- to work and keep working, do so- but that doesn't mean that *everyday* I have to work *all day*. It is ok to do a bit then move on- even though I am wise enough to realize how incredibly difficult for me that can be.
Action: Stick to my schedule, regardless. I am at my best when I wake up early (4am) and start working- the early morning is when I write the best, think the clearest, can do math without stressing and have creative ideas. During the day- from about 10am on- is better for physical things- cleaning, painting, teaching. Afternoons find me shorter on energy, patience and focus- I can work through out the day but no major decisions please. After 4 I'm done. No decisions, math or complex problems- this is the time for silence, reading, drawing, watching tv, resting. Decisions are best between 10am and 12 pm- in the early morning I tend to be a bit manic and think I can do everything- while I can solve problems creatively then I also tend to get committed to projects that I don't want to head up or work on. Remember that.
Work first, then school, then rest. Everyday. Weekends- same- but replace the school part with at-home part. When I am excited/ motivated to do something, over ride everything else and do it- that is ok.
Goal: work smarter, not harder. Be aware of time/ motivation/ energy and 'drive my own car'.
3. Truth: I am an introvert by nature. I love my husband, best friend, son, family, students- but I also need a right good dose of alone-time. I have a hard time communicating, paying attention (really listening), doing social events in person, making small talk. I hate talking on the phone- and don't, with the exception being calls to Mother and check-ins with the manz. I like one-on-one time better than group time- take me on an adventure just me-and-you, and we will have a ball. The more people in the mix, the quieter I get- not because I don't like them, but because I want to: fit in, make everyone happy, can't understand what they are saying, hate being rude, get distracted (or- bored)..... I'm really good at written communication, or group presentation/facilitation (listen to me!) but - Whoa- do I lack social skills. I am content to listen though- and am comfortable in that role if you just let me listen and draw without feeling weird. I do get people overload and like to be by myself- I have no fear of traveling by myself, doing things alone, having solitary adventures- I would rather go somewhere by myself than with someone who is not a willing companion- it's ok.
Resolution: Balance between companionship and solitude- be honest. I need time alone. I need alone time with my husband, my best friend, my son. I need to remember that it is important to be 'in-person' with my family- but I am also honest enough to say 'no thank-you' to work related social activities, parties, mixers etc.
Action: Time for others, time for self. Make quiet time during the day every day at work- I am bombarded by the needs/demands/emotional roller coaster of others- and I need to remember to Shut The Door and have a time out occasionally. Make/ plan protected time for being with Melissa, Grendel, Charles- and remember to communicate with others regularly.
Goal: Balance. Daily: a time-out during day at work, a time-out when I get home. Weekly: call Mother, write others. Quarterly: Melissa-time. We recharge off each other- and need- however brief- visits to refresh our spirits.
4. Truth: I suck at keeping promises. I have good intentions and a willing spirit- I tend (especially in the early morning) to think I can do anything, have time to do everything, can move mountains. Then reality sets in- the energy and good intentions flop to obligations and procrastination- which forges the chains of depression when I have to force myself to complete things that I committed to in a blur of enthusiasm or politeness. (I say yes to quite allot that I shouldn't because I am to polite to say no. Instead, I sometimes do not follow through with things I say yes to, leaving me in awkward and less-polite situations.) These promises range from the important- (yes, I will work on that committee, yes I will rewrite that curriculum, yes I will visit, yes I will make/fix/organize this project) to the mundane (yes I will do the dishes, yes I will call the doctor) to the personal (yes I will diet, yes I will exercise, yes I will be better....) This makes me crazier than all of the above, because it usually feeds into the above. I promise money I don't have, to do work I don't want to, to attend events that I cannot. I promise myself to change myself, to reward myself with needed/ desired objects (the boots), and then become discouraged, frustrated, depressed when I do not meet the goals- and deprive myself of the 'reward', even if I really need it. Likewise, unfilled commitments lead to stress, bottled anger and most of all- guilt. Guilt is a nasty beast to feed- but sometimes I keep feeding it instead of just saying "No", "I withdraw" or sucking it up and doing what I promised.
Resolution: Tell the truth. If you don't want to do something, say so. I am getting better at this. If you want to do something, say so and do it right off- the more you delay the less likely it is to get done. Be clear about what you *want* to do, *have* to do, or just feel obligated to do because you have always done it. WAIT before committing- No promises in the morning. No, no, no.
Action: What you promise you must pursue. (From the Frog King). If I am committed to it right now, finish it. Otherwise, say NO. Simple as that.
Resolution: No promises to do things/projects, no undertaking extra responsibilities without just reward, take a year to step back. I have begun this- and have discovered that I am ok with not being 'top dog'. (Thing is, I am not a good 'pack member' either- I want to still be acknowledged as special). I am going to work at being a Ronin.
Ok. That covers it- money, work, relationships, sense of self. Things I can work with, work on, written down and established. Wish me well, and we shall see what this year brings~