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.