Stupid Suggestions for the New Year

So, it’s New Year’s Eve and I am home with a mild cold, so my plans for exercising, cleaning house, and taking down the trees and decorations have been put on hold.  While I don’t feel great, I don’t feel particularly terrible.  Mostly it’s the fatigue of the holiday season, combined with the last-ditch push to get my first book published, that has worn me out.  I don’t typically succumb to the “OMG, I’m so stressed, I hate the holidays” feelings that so many of us experience, but this year it was tempting.  I kept my chin up and plowed through like I always do, saying that afterward I would rest.  The cold has merely ensured that I keep my word to myself, as well as giving me an excuse to take multiple naps at random hours.  Considering the fact that most of the household is now nocturnal like I am, random has a whole new meaning.  I’m hoping that I will be awake around noon or thereabouts, because I’m thinking that spicy Indian food is just the thing I need.

My laptop has been afflicted by the dreaded short between the keyboard and the floor, and I managed to download some really horrible programs that were attached to a program I really wanted.  Apparently they have insinuated themselves within my operating system like an incubating alien.   Therefore, it’s time to wipe the hard drive and reinstall Windows.  This, of course, requires backing up all essential data, which includes lots of pictures of the kids, wise quotes that I got from Facebook, and a few really droolicious pictures of Chris Hemsworth as Thor.

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 While the ten million gigabytes of completely necessary things were transferring to an external hard drive, I found myself surfing web sites recommended by various Facebook friends.  Most of them had to do with self-improvement and the coming new year.  I have the usual resolutions about working out more and eating healthier, as well as daily meditation (at which so far I’ve failed miserably) and becoming a more loving person, but thought I would see what else was out there, in case I missed something that was really important.  I bookmarked a few, then sought out what Google had to offer, because there weren’t really that many on Facebook.

The NY Times online “Ideas” section had varying opinions.  One article declared that there was no point in making resolutions, because they are bad for you and that “The year will certainly change, but you will likely be the same person on Jan. 1, 2014, that you were on Dec. 31, 2013.”  In other words, don’t bother.  Another article cautiously advocated “5 New Year’s Resolutions That Might Actually Work.”  After envisioning a typical life in which a person moves zombielike through his day,  this optimistic individual suggests some interesting solutions, including adopting a dog, which would make you not only go out for a walk every day, but every day “for the next ten years.”  I’m thinking that this person has never owned a dog.  Dogs are like people in that they need to void bowels and/or bladder more than once a day.  In fact, they go several times a day.  They can be trained for twice a day, but that doesn’t mean they like it.  I’ll admit, this is a better life than in a shelter, but lots of people abandon or neglect their pets because they didn’t realize that owning one required work.  Kind of like how many people have children and then are seemingly surprised that they, too, require work.

My favorite suggestion was that of giving a friend the access they’d need to remove money from your bank account every time they see you cheat on your diet – and spend it.  In addition, the author suggests asking your boss.  Are you kidding me?  Except for the dog-walking thing, I can’t believe this person lives in New York, much less any other large city.  I am a fairly trusting person, but as Oscar Wilde once said, “The only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it… I can resist everything but temptation.”  I love my friends.  I love them enough not to lead them into temptation.  Apparently the writer thinks that the animosity people already feel toward their bosses is something that will motivate them to not eat sweets. Besides, who wants to chore of watching what I eat every day?  I’m pretty sure my boss at work has enough on her plate; I’m my own boss at home, so that’s no good.  Obviously the Times isn’t worth much in the making of resolutions, so I moved on.

SimpleTruth.com offers “101 Easy-to-Follow New Year’s Resolutions.”  Honestly, people, if there are a hundred and one of them, it’s far beyond my capacity.  For all their inadequacies, the NY Times at least offered a reasonable number.  In the first place, I wouldn’t even remember the first ten, much less the whole list.  I can just see myself getting up in the morning and studying my list.  Of course, the list is only to give me ideas about what sorts of goals I might set myself, but the way I think would require, well, this:

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In addition, the list is a real yawn-fest of “Get more sleep” and “Don’t snack before bed.”  I’m good with those, most of the time, but I need a new hobby like a hole in the head.  I have too many already; I have spent tons of money on hobby supplies that sit in their cubbies in my dining-room-turned-craft-room, because I spend all my free time writing, re-writing, and editing.  When I start earning enough to quit my job, I’ll pick up a new hobby, and it won’t be cooking or cleaning.  It’ll be riding horses till my butt hurts and going to nerd conventions every other weekend.

“Get organized”?  Thanks for the tip!  That’s one of those resolutions that is sure to be kept, simply because it’s so precise.

“Revise comfort foods by adding a healthy twist.”  You know, they could at least have a link to a site that gives recipes.

“Invite more friends and families over for a monthly gathering.”  The only gathering that anyone will hold at my house is an intervention, with the camera crew from one of those shows about hoarders.

“Make your bed daily.”  These people haven’t seen the warzone of my bedclothes in the morning, after my husband and I have fought over the blankets all day.  Three-minute chore, my ass.

“Schedule ‘me’ time to turn off your cell phone, computer, and other electronic devices.”  I’m a writer (laptop) and a gamer (PC).  I love to read (Kindle) and listen to music (iPod).  Electronic devices are my down time.

“Be more willing to talk to others and learn something about strangers.”  I’m an ER nurse.  I talk to hundreds of people, and I learn way more about strangers than I ever wanted to know.

I’ll admit, there were some good ideas on the list, but most of it was things we’ve heard over and over for the past ten years.  Buy local.  Go meatless one night a week.  Eat kale.  Get more sleep.  Show up early for meetings.  Ride your bike to work.  Volunteer more.  Start a community garden.

It occurs to me that the big thing these lists have in common is how mundane they are.  Even the really good sites like ProjectSimplify365 and LivingWell/SpendingLess are filled with daily chores and events.  Is entering a journey of mandala making really going to make my life better?  Why do none of these lists have anything about following your dreams?

Tomorrow:  Good Resolutions

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