Saturday, January 2, 2016

a few truths and a lie

I am not a resolution-maker. If I ever feel like changing something, I do it regardless of whether it's January 1st or the first day of school or my birthday or a Sunday night. I understand the desire to make a big production of starting New Habits and I did participate in the theatrics for most of my life, usually by buying a pretty new journal and writing lists of changes with a pretty new pen on the fresh pretty blank pages. After two weeks (maybe), that journal would be prettily collecting dust and anxiety on my nightstand; after a month I would stash it shamefully in a drawer and go on with my presumably failed life.

I finally realized, after years of suffering the little daily defeats of marriage and parenthood and teaching, that pressuring myself to Be Better on a particular date doesn't work for me. It's manufactured and bolstered by hype, and I avoid hype on principle - I wouldn't watch the first season of Survivor (but have watched all twentysomething seasons since), and though I love & live the idea of Carpe Diem, I refused it as a tattoo after finding 7000 versions of it during a Google search. Also, I'm pretty terrible with deadlines. Of course, I could resolve to be better with deadlines but that just makes my head hurt. I can do deadlines that are meaningful to other people - contributing to an IEP before a meeting, submitting grades, attending a party on the day it's happening - but trying to tell myself something needs to get done by a certain time? I am a totally insensitive jerk.

I've decided, partly because of those little daily defeats in life, piling on specific tasks so clearly unpleasant that I've ignored them most of the year is cruel, even for an insensitive jerk. After some reflection, anxiousness, depression, and counseling, I decided I'd check in with myself a few times each day to find out what I needed to feel, well, better. Better = calmer, content, connected, productive. Sometimes I need to do a specific thing (usually for other people/effing deadlines), sometimes I eat a little chocolate stashed in my desk, sometimes I play John Mayer loud, sometimes I take a nap, sometimes I startle my children by hugging them in the hallway.

I no longer make random resolutions at the end of a year. Instead, I make about 95 mini-resolutions every day, with immediate deadlines, and - I'm happier.

Carpe every damn diem.