I have blown it

Last December, when everyone was busy thinking up New Year’s resolutions, I just dug up the one from last year: being more creative, doing more healthy/sporty things. The usual. Prone to fail, as always.

But then something happened. I had started two calendars, one for the creative things, one for the healthy ones. As usual, at the beginning of the year, everything worked out fine. Every day I did something creative (blogging, writing, working on a photo-book I coloured in one calendar day in dark blue. And everyday I did something sporty (talking a long walk, dropping Little One off at school on the bike, yoga) I coloured in one calendar day in turquoise. Quite soon, the dark blue calendar showed some white spots. Days I was too busy being creative. But the turquoise one filled up. And up. Very soon I found myself doing a little yoga in the evening, even if I had done something else too. Even if I did not feel well. Even if we were travelling and arrived late. I did something. Maybe not much, maybe just a bit, but I went through my moves, I stretched and bent and it always made me feel better.

I started to be really proud of myself. And a goal appeared: a the end of the year, I did not want see a single white day in that turquoise calendar. October passed, November passed, December came. All good. I could already see the finishing line.

But then yesterday happened. An incredibly busy day with me buzzing around the whole day. Which is not unheard of. We also had family coming, to stay for the weekend. Also not completely uncommon. I cooked and took care of the dishes and got the boys to bed, I set with family to chat. At one point I excused myself, being very tired. Husband stayed down for a bit longer to chat with his dad.

I went upstairs with the thought in my head ‘I still need to do my yoga – I will just do it on the bedroom floor, as the living room is still blocked’. Also not the first time.

But then I forgot.

I got ready for bed, I brushed my teeth, I snuggled under my blanket. Done with the day.

No yoga. Nothing else done that day I could remotely call “sporty” or “healthy”.

So, with the end in sight, I blew it.

I wanted to stand there on the evening of the 31st, having proved to myself that I, Miss Absolutely Unsporty, can have the discipline to pull it through.

But I haven’t. So I can’t.

 

And it wasn’t even my choice.

Resolutions Part III: The thing about family and friends

I am almost at the end of my resolutions list: Spending more time with family and friends. How is this one coming along so far?

Well, the family (apart from husband and the boys, who I am luckily seeing on a daily basis 😉 ) is not exactly living around the corner, so quick drop-ins for coffee are out of the question. One side of the family is a 4 hours drive away – not too far for the occasional weekend trip, but still not a distance you are keen to cover on a really frequent basis with two kids in the back of the car (plus the driving does take a lot of time out of the normal 2-day-weekend). We have been there in December and are not sure yet when the next trip is going to be. But we will go to see my mum end of this month – flying down for a week during our “Spring Break” (ha! funny word – although it has not been really winter yet, I do not yet believe spring is waiting around the corner). We are all looking forward to that.

What about seeing friends? Some friends I see almost daily on the school yard at pick-up time. It is nice for a quick chat, but it is not the same as sitting down for a coffee somewhere and actually spending some real time together. Which I have a not done very often recently. Not at all this year so far, to be honest.

The problem is, meeting for coffee in the morning takes interferes with resolution number 2, getting more writing done. So I am kind of stuck. But there are a few people I definitely want to meet for an elaborate chat (without kids) really soon.

What I would also love to do is spend a weekend with an old friend who is living about 3 hours driving from here. We have done it before and it was lovely. She does not have any kids (yet), so it was a weekend going back in time for me. Just being responsible for my own needs, not having to check if anyone is about to get hungry (= grumpy and starting fights with his brother) or tired (= same outcome). Doing stuff like going shopping, stopping for a quick bite in a cafe, go home to dump the loot, decide on a movie, go out again, come home late, chat endlessly during the whole process (except during the movie). After a weekend like this my friend and I are completely up to date with each others’ life again, have sorted out the problems of the world as well as our private ones and filled each other in on other people we both (used to) know. My (and probably her) ears are then ringing a bit and I feel a bit high from all that new input, but I am always driving home very happy. And happy to be with my family again – because funnily, it also makes me realise how much I like my normal life too.

So we need to find a free weekend for that again – which is not easy since she is really really busy and my weekends tend to fill themselves with lots of activities (that very often are a bit too much for a home-alone-daddy to handle… like two different birthday party invitations for the boys…). But we have managed before and we will again. In spring. Spring is our visiting season.

Another good moment to get all social and having a party would be my birthday, which is actually approaching rapidly. The last years I never had a party. Not a conscious decision, it just did not happen. For this year I was rather determined to do something – going out with a couple of friends (since I am not so keen on doing all the work required to have a party in our house… on my own birthday). But our primary babysitter did not have time, and the back-up babysitter did not answer my emails. And while I was waiting if she would answer, and while I was wondering where I put her mobile number, I suddenly realised I was not so keen of having any kind of birthday activity after all.

You see, the last weeks and weekends have been incredibly busy and I am starting to feel I am in this reactive mode again – responding to queries, doing things that are expected from me, without stopping to think what I wanted myself.

So I stopped and I thought. Here is the result: I will not have a party. I will not even go out. On my birthday, I want some time for myself, maybe a nice cake (from the shops… I won’t put husband through any cake baking ordeal, and the boys are still too small for it), maybe order some special dinner, getting someone else to clean the dishes. 😉 Take it slow. Have a nice evening with husband (when the boys are in bed). Breathe. Just be.

(Maybe that’s a sign I am getting old…. Oh well. I am probably. 😉 )

 

Looking at those resolutions: Part II

After having looked critically at the health-related items on my resolutions list last week, today is the day to examine the outcome of “try  to spend more time doing things you really like”. (And I won’t mention the fact that I had a bit of a relapse sweets-wise… partly due to younger son’s birthday…. I am talking cake and icing and jelly beans…)

Doing things I really like – so that would be writing. So, how has my writing coming along in January (plus a bit of February)?

Well. Yes. Better than in December. But not as much as I wanted it to.

Why is it that even though I really try to schedule time for writing, dedicate whole mornings to it, other things still manage to sneak and wriggle their way in? Volunteer work at school, chores at home, doctor’s appointments – they come slithering into my life one here and one there, clogging up my free time, and before I realise my week is full of the stuff.

It is your own choice, I hear you say. Just say “no” to the volunteer work, leave the mess in the house a mess, and stop complaining about things like dentist’s appointments – they are only once every 6 months anyway. (And if you stay fit and healthy you won’t need a doc in between. Ha ha.) If writing is that important to you, then stick to it.

Yes. I know. True. But.

But doing stuff at school is fun too, and I enjoy being around the kids (my own and their class mates). And I like it when the house is a bit less messy. And things like laundry and grocery shopping need to be done.

O.k. But then it is your choice, isn’t it? Your conscious choice?

Then don’t complain. And use the free time you have left in between wisely.

All right. I won’t. I will. Promise.

(P.S. I really had no big plans for this morning, only writing. Had it big in my calendar. But. But then I realised that if I put in another one or two hours I can finish the big reorganising of our living room before the boys come home. So I moved stuff around. Threw out LOTS of things – that’s why I needed to do it alone – found new places for the things that are left… Now it really looks good. And I am happy. Because this has been on my to-do-list for some time. And today was just the day for it. … My choice. – At least I got this post done afterwards. And now I will have some lunch. 😉 )

What happened to those New Year’s resolutions? Part I

January is almost over, so I guess it is a good time to have another look at those resolutions I cooked up in December for this year. (At least now I still remember them.) Let’s see what has happened to them so far.

Item one was to improve on healthy life-style: more yoga, more running, less sweets.

I am trying to kick the habit of devouring everything sweet in sight – a habit that logically derived from all those Christmas cookies and chocolates that found their way into our house in December. So, when the boys are in bed, instead of searching the cupboard for a piece of chocolate, I make myself some tea. Later in the evening I munch an apple or a pear, sometimes with a bit of yoghurt. So far this is working quite well. (What really helps: I just don’t buy the stuff at the moment!) In case you are wondering, I am not striving to loose some kilos (I had gained a bit during the holidays, but that has already disappeared again – I am very lucky in that respect), I just realised that sugar has become too much of a craving. If you go through the kitchen drawers searching for something sweet just because you did it yesterday and the day before and the day before, it is definitely time to stop in your tracks. As I said, so far it is working. (I am not trying to give up sweets or chocolate completely in the end, just want to get back to a normal relationship with them. 😉 )

So far, so good. What about sports then? Yes and no. Yes to taking up my regular twice-a-week-practice of yoga, which is rather easy because the lovely yoga studio next door opened again after the holidays. (When I say “next door”, I really mean it, literally. So no excuses for me.) The first time after my two weeks pause (it felt longer!) was hard. That’s what you get from hanging on the couch every evening during the holidays, books and laptop on your knees (eating cookies). I felt as flexible as a piece of wood (not willow!) and as strong as overcooked spaghetti. But after a couple of times of suffering it is getting better and the backache I had cultivated (couch!) is slowly receding. (Isn’t it funny: a few days of sloppy sitting are good for three weeks of pain… ok, probably it was 10 days of sloppy sitting… but the first week it did not hurt… then it took me three more days to figure out why it was hurting… not smart, I know.)

As for the running: no. I am afraid I have never been more than a good-weather-runner, and an infrequent one. So no way I am going to start in this miserable, wet and windy weather we have got at the moment. I guess I just have to postpone this part of my resolution until springtime.

And when I am already at postponing anyway, I can postpone the rest of my self-reflection too. So far it does not look too bad: two out of three…. before I ruin my statistic, I will quit for today.

How are your resolutions coming to life so far? Or did you decide to not have any this year? That is a valid choice too! 😉

Good night.

New Year’s Resolutions: The annual game of good intentions

It seems you cannot escape them these days: resolutions for a better next year. Although January 1st is just one day further from December 31st, we still feel we are doing a magic leap into something new. It is a bit as with birthdays: of course you are not suddenly a whole year older on your birthday, just one day older as the day before… but obvioulsy we humans like to put some drama in our counting. We like to jump from time to time.

I have to admit I like to jump too. And, as the rest of us, every year after Christmas I start wondering about the past year, speculating about the coming one.

The other day I read something in the newspaper: the author evaluated her resolutions from last December, thinking about what had worked out and what had not. Good idea  – if only I could remember my resolutions from last year… (My forgetting them could be a sign I did not take them seriously, oh well.) But it is probably safe to assume they contained something like “healthy life”, “more sport”, “less stress”.  I think everyone has at least one health-related item on their list, and the more I think about it the more I seem to remember something like “do more yoga”, “take up running again”, “eat less sweet stuff”. The last one is an inevitable result of Christmas food: too many cookies, to many big dinners, not enough sport (no yoga classes during the holidays, bad weather resulting in many hours on the couch). So I think I can take that item over from last year’s list to this year’s. First item found.

What else is on everybody’s list? “Spend more time doing things you really like.” I am sure I had that one on my list too! Actually I was not so bad with that item this year – I have managed to let go of some activities that had become obligations keeping me away from stuff that really matters to me (writing!). But saying ‘no’ from time to time should stay on my list, since I still need some practise there. Second item found.

What else? “Spend more time with family and friends”. Good one, very important. I take that too. Third item found.

It seems I am not a very special person so far, since my resolutions for 2014 are

a) basically the same as everyone else’s in the world and

b) probably the same as last year.

Oh, what the heck. It is crazy anyway to think one’s needs and dreams are much different from those of the other 7.something billion people of the world. And b) just shows that I am not giving up on old fights just because one more year (day!) has passed.

But maybe, for the sake of doing something a bit different this year I should add an item number four: I will try to more actively choose – my actions and my reactions, my thoughts and my emotions (the last one is the hardest). And I will try to choose positively, optimistically.

Ok, that’ it. List ready. I am done.

2014, you can come now!

Happy New Year, everyone!