Dec 31, 2015

Five recycled resolutions for 2016.

I've always shied away from making New Year's Resolutions.  They never work out as envisioned, and were usually fostered in the desperation of the previous year's failures or bad habits.  Cliche as hell too--lose weight, get organized, stop procrastinating, etc.  I wish I had back all the money I spent on books, gadgets, and systems to help me keep those resolutions.  These recycled resolutions are not new.  But my approach is different, in that they are changes I have already begun to take.  As in concrete steps.  I already KNOW they are making a difference in my life.  Apparently it's taken this long for the concepts to sink in.

So, as I wrap up the end of a year that's been interesting, exhilarating, and--on several levels--a severe trial, I am learning that it helps to: 

1. play more music.  (Concrete action: load the 5-disc player every morning with something new, or at the very least, turn on the radio.)  Phil and I both work from home, and his office is in our main living area.  I have discovered--sort of by accident--that we seem to spend the day in a more energetic and optimistic mood if we have music we like as a background to our day.

2. do the yucky chores while I wait for stuff.  As most of you, I wear several hats: housekeeper, pet-tender, cook, supply officer, and doll maker.  The doll maker part is the fun job, (except for listing photos, taxes, etc.) and even the other jobs have their bright sides.  But there are always those jobs--the catbox, the dishwasher, the toilets--that just suck.  Always will.  So I do those while my morning burgers cook or while I'm on hold, those minutes that add up to nothing if I just wait (or if I sit back down with a paperback.)  And even if it's a chore that takes more than a few minutes, get it done FIRST so the rest of the day can go to more interesting things.

3. just put stuff up--now.  Yes, I am 52 years old and I've just now learned to do this.  Embarrassing.  In the past, I have made excuses for the Creative Frenzy that overtakes me during a project, and my Enabling Husband has patiently said nothing while I make a huge mess.  But either I'm growing up, or our smaller space has made its demands heard, because now I am compelled to put away the button box after I pick out what I need, to file the pattern pieces before cutting fabric, and to clear my office desk by the end of the day.

4. keep a journal.  I have had so many ups and downs this year, the journal has kept me sane.  I've always kept one, but in years past the entries only cover a stressful time, like during a move, or a job change, etc.  This year I've gotten into the habit of writing every day, or every other day.  It's safe to say that 2015 has been fairly well documented.  These are not fascinating memoirs that will someday be published posthumously, they are little books full of the mindless drivel that preoccupies me and muddles my thinking if I don't expel it. (Maybe a potential CIA tool for interrogations? "I'll tell you -- just stop reading!")  But it helps.  I will likely never re-read them, but writing them helps me.

5. stop complaining.  There are three categories of complaints in our house, and they've taken shape over the years I've spent with a man who defines the word taciturn.

              The first is general "what the hell is wrong with the world?" kind of complaint.  General venting about politics (him) or the younger generation (me) or expenses, bureaucracy, and old age (both).

              The second is the type that is actually helpful for each of us to hear.  If I am unhappy with something--a feature of the house or yard, for example, he is quite happy to find a solution and try to fix it for me.  Same goes for him--if he's grown tired of a menu item, or has decided boxers instead of briefs, then I want to know so I can change things around.

               But the THIRD category is mostly mine.  It's basic whining.  I don't do it anymore--I was trained out of it.  My taciturn man would make those noises that sound sympathetic to the novice ear, but to mine fall like splatting chunks of sarcasm.  "Aw, that's too bad," Ewww.  I hate patronizing, and I refuse to sound like Gladys Kravitz.  Some time ago it occurred to me that if the person within my hearing cannot fix what bothers me, then why say it aloud?  If I can fix it, then why have I not?  Journaling comes in very handy here, to not only vent complaints, but to determine if they're fixable.  So this was a slowly evolving resolution, but one I have kept: no whining.  Life is so much sweeter.  (For both of us.)

Those are my five resolutions.  Recycled, already time-tested, but increasingly important to mine and the hub's well-being.

I hope you all have a Happy New Year's weekend, and a great 2016.    

10 comments:

  1. there is so much in what you have said that applies to all of us. We have to work out our individual problems in the best way we are able. To much complaining will cause people to turn a deaf ear to you. To much cojoling or superficial sympathy causes resentment. I do believe it takes most of a lifetime to figure certain things out, but it is a good and thoughtful person to try to serve himself and his family and friends in the best way and kindest way possible. Alot of our personal struggles are never known, but happily by chance or more likely by the Grace of God we can see a way to move through problems. You and your husband love each other, so that is 90% of problem fixing. Great suggestions to us all for 2016 and you get a gold star for being kind, smart, and most of all being willing to figure out and go the extra mile to make things work ( happily ).

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    1. You have a wonderful 2016 too! (And yay for me--I haven't gotten a gold star in a long time. :~p )

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  2. Good resolutions Jan, and the new approach is right on the money. More music is always good for the soul. Steve recently hooked up our(from the 70's) turntable, tape deck and giant speakers. It's fun to go downstairs and listen rather loudly to our favorite albums. We no longer listen to the news so much, it raises our blood pressure and generally depresses us or pisses us off! We narrowed it down to a couple of our favorite half hour shows. Living in close quarters turned me into a neat freak, but sometimes I think it interferes with creativity......be careful. Getting older does have some advantages, it makes us wiser, but sometimes I think it's made me lazy....really, that toilet bowl can wait another day or the laundry will be still be there on Monday! My favorite one is "maybe the fairies will come and do the dishes tonight!" I do try to look on the bright side more often and not sweat the small things anymore. Mostly, we are grateful we're still alive at our age!!

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    1. I can picture you guys down there jamming to old rock. We do too, but don't have the vinyl. We do have several "collections", like the sets you buy from the infomercials. Embarrassing, but true. And saved us trying to gather all those songs. They're still fun to listen to. Here's to another year above ground and vertical.

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  3. Hi Jan, Thanks so much for your comment on my blog. Whether you call it a NY's Resolution or not...I've got to get back on the wagon, now that the holidays are behind us, and get back with WW's. It works for me when I apply myself and I do cheat.
    Yes, we are seriously thinking about get a BOSE. Our old stereo is kaput. I enjoy classical to semi in the back ground. Pops likes the oldies but goodies. So we do have a conflict of choice, but it usually works out.
    Your dolls are beautiful...so very talented. I Enjoy visiting too.

    Hope 2016 is Happy and Healthy for all with Peace and Blessings,
    Barb

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    1. We love oldies--and have a weirdly varied selection of music, from Thin Lizzy to Celtic Bagpipes. :~D Happy 2016 to you and yours, Barb.

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  4. WOW! What a remarkable post on resolutions. I found your take on resolutions to be thought provoking and quite truthful. I especially enjoyed the phrase "recycled resolutions". I think that's one reason I never make them! I do believe as we get older, we reflect, hopefully with honesty about ourselves, our lives, what works and what doesn't and what changes need to be made. Keeping a daily journal has it's benefits, it's like having someone listen without the worry of the story or the circumstance escaping.

    Jan you're an amazing writer as well as a doll maker. Happy New Year!

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    1. I think you hit on the key--getting older, but learning what works and what doesn't. I am no longer motivated to "get thin" but to "be healthy" because my perspective has changed and my vanity has taken it in the seat of the pants in the last decade anyway. :~P

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  5. Wow! These are good...REALLY GOOD! What fun it would be, I think, to take a peek into those journals of yours! I am taking notes...

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    1. Oh, Mary, if you only knew the drivel in these journals, you wouldn't say that. :~D So far today I have NOT played any music, but as it was a day off and we were sitting on the couch reading all morning, it suited. But I have done the dishes and the catbox! Heheh.

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Thank you for taking time to comment! I love hearing your perspectives and ideas.