The theory, which I buy, behind making New Year’s resolutions, or setting goals, is that how are you going to get there if you don’t know where you are you going? In other words, one must have goals! What did I want, wander through the woods on possible dead-end paths, or know the path to the top, or wherever I wanted to get, perhaps a lake or a meadow, or simply under a tree.
Statistics are not showing that new year’s resolutions are very successful, and as I recall the number one resolution, loosing weight is dropped by 50% of the people by the end of February. Please don’t quote me on this statistic, the point I am trying to make is simply that a majority of people don’t keep their New Year Resolutions, and I am one of them. Yes, her’s justifying, belonging, so I won’t feel bad about myself!
In 2002 I still believed in New Year’s Resolution and on January 1 of every year I’d sit my two daughters at the kitchen table with plenty of colorful paper, creyons and other artsy materials to make it “fun” working on their goals for the following year. Kevin didn’t believe in goals, so he never participated in this project. I believed it was teaching the children good habits and because what one did spoke louder than what they said, just as when I poured down the drain a gallon of vodka and never drank again, to give my children an example that since addictions ran in both our families, life was possible without substances, on January 1 of every year I sat down with them and wrote down and colored my own Resolutions.
Here’s what I wrote on January 1, 2002, followed by what really happened:
1. Give up coffee!
Reality: I still drink coffee, and because research showed it was not that bad for us, I don’t even feel guilty. I do limit coffee to a cup in the morning.
2.Exercise at least half-an hour a day!
Reality: I exercised even more than half-an hour a day for years, but then pain prohibited me from continuing. It is however an excellent goal which I will put again on my next year’s list!
3. Be clear about my needs…
Now, the problem with this goal was that I was unclear about being clear… so I can’t even remember what was exactly that I meant. I had so many needs, which was I talking about?
4. Organize support groups!
Reality: A few years later, my daughters declared I was addicted to support groups. Not only did I organize them but I participated in so many groups that i could say wholeheartedly that yes, this is one resolution I kept and still do.
5. Increase my income to at least $4,500 a month!
Oh… by year-end!
Reality: Life happened and in future posts I will “explain” why this goal was not met.
6. Continue to love my children and pets…
Reality: Why was this even a goal? As if I was ever planning to stop loving them, as if this was a choice!
I could affirm now, after all these years that this goal, which was not a goal is being met every day and it will continue to be until the day I die.
7. Stop accepting crumbs for fear I won’t get the whole cake!
Reality: Just as in the case of “be clear about my needs,”
I don’t remember what these lovely metaphors meant…
The crumbs stood for???? and what was the cake???
I failed to keep this goal for reason of ambiguity!
8. Continue to keep a journal but write every day, not just once in a while!
Reality: As I write these stories I am reading my journals and if I didn’t keep journals I would not remember what happened so many years ago. While I failed to write daily, I wrote about all the major events of our lives. I didn’t know at the time that committing a thought on paper takes it from the frontal lobe of your brain and it places it in the back, in a different part, in your memory. This is a good thing because now those thoughts are not obsessive anymore. The process is more complicated than this simple explanation I gave, but the bottom line is, it is good to journal, so this remained an ongoing “resolution” throughout my life.
Another resolution of 2002 was to determine where my days went, as I had the feeling of wasting time, and yet I was constantly doing something, but when asked: “What did you do today?” I couldn’t express anything and having been raised in a world where if I didn’t do I didn’t exist, I had a constant feeling of guilt.
For this reason, the last goal of 2002 was to write down for a while all I did in the course of one day.
Here’s a typical day from 2002:
I woke up at 6:00 A.M. Took the dogs out, fed them and made coffee.
6:30 A.M. I woke up the girls gently since all books told me it could result in long-lasting trauma if I did it abruptly. I could vouch for it, since back in Romania, my mother was blasting the Romanian National hymn which played on the radio every morning, and to this day I hate hymns!
6:45 A.M Feed the girls.
7:15 A.M Drive them to school. Those yellow buses… I didn’t trust them! We didn’t have yellow buses in Romania and I was not going to let my kids ride on some yellow bus. No matter how busy I was, I always drove my kids to school and they never took a yellow bus… No, I lied. Once they went to a sports event on a yellow bus and the yellow bus they were on caught fire, just to demonstrate I was right to be afraid of yellow buses!
8:00 A.M. Go to the office and work until 3:00 PM
3:15 PM Pick up the girls, take them home and speak with them in the car about their day at school. Again, I was following the instruction of a wise author whose name I don’t remember, or was it an experienced mom, that the best time to speak to your children is while you drive and speak with them casually and have no eye contact, which might scare them. Of course I wasn’t supposed to have any negative reactions to whatever they were telling me happened in school that day. That, I must admit was hard, as in my heart I disagreed with everything!
3:30 PM Arrive home. Feed the children and allow them 30 minutes of TV while I took the dogs out and fed them.
4:00 PM Wash all dishes and start begging the girls to turn off TV and start doing their homework, as I always wanted to see them do their homework before I left again for work, around 5:00 PM.
Assuming I was successful, which I was most times, around 5:00 PM I’d leave for work again.
Kevin, when he worked outside the house would come home around 6:00 PM but most times he was on the third floor, in the office, working on those “deals”.
9:30 P.M. Arrive home exhausted, take dogs out and tuck the girls in bed. Read each a book and put on the self-esteem building tapes I had purchased as a result of participating in a parenting support group.
10:00 PM Read a book if I was still able,
11:00 PM Watch the news.
11:30 PM Go to sleep and have insomnia!
Variations were: clean closets, clean house, do laundry, volunteer for various school activities and church..
That’s what I would call routine and my friend, Cassandra, told me “boring is good,” and at the time I didn’t believe her, but looking back at the boring and knowing what I know now, I agree wholeheartedly. Yes, boring was good!
Then, one day, the doctor’s office called. The nurse told me my blood work didn’t look right and my doctor wanted to repeat the blood tests and that I needed to see an endocrinologist…
Boring went out the window again!