Thursday, January 03, 2008

Of New Year's Resolutions and Women

In the gym, 8:30am Tuesday morning - getting off to a good start. Ran into a friend who asked, brightly, "made any New Year's Resolutions, Jenny?" "Ah, you know," I answered, '"be a better person, save the world." In fact I haven't been able to come up with any good ones yet - though I actually think they are a good idea because we need goals to strive for.

My friend then told me something that surprised me: she was planning a major overhaul - of her personality. She didn't get specific, but it sounded like she wanted to make some deep fundamental changes in herself.

She is someone who has always seemed supremely confident. She commands every room, she gets people laughing, she gets a lot done, and she never seems to break a sweat. She's also principled, kind, a great mother, smart - in short, what's to change?

So I have some various responses to her statement and her further elaboration that she was working with a therapist on this, that she wanted to make certain aspects of herself "less domineering" (which may or may not have anything to do with the brash confidence I described.) The first response is, you go, girl, we all need to keep working and growing. The next is the exact opposite - you are great just as you are, just appreciate and love who you are! Then I have another turnaround: if something about the way you are in the world is making you unhappy (or even perhaps the people around you) isn't it right to take a close look at it and try to work on it? But, what if we can't really fundamentally change who we are, and any attempt is doomed to fail and result in feeling even worse? (and since I titled this post "...and Women" - do women fall prey to this need to change ourselves more than men?"

Obviously this inner dialogue is more about me than her, as I don't know her well enough to know why she is trying to change. But I know what aspects of my personality have made me unhappy over the years, and I know I've never succeeded in really changing them. (Have I? Maybe I'm wrong about this - must think on it some more.) But, apropos of my last post, there are things about me that others have always reacted negatively to. And though one could say, 'that's their problem' their negative reaction affects me and my world, whether it's at work, or socially, or within my family. So it is, ultimately, on me. Somehow.

This has nothing to do with training and triathlons. But I don't keep a written diary anymore (I have one, but it just stares at me, its pages empty. I hate handwriting.) And I don't want to start another blog. So I guess this is going to be the place where I say whatever it is I have to say, be it about athletics and fitness, or personal musing, or ranting about THAT GODDAM DREAMLIFE GAME MY KID KEEPS PLAYING! (I might have something nice to say about Disney TV shows one of these days, though.)

So is this a New Year's resolution sneaking out in spite of myself: to be real, say what's on my mind?

OK as long as I'm at it I'll make a few more.

Spend 15 minutes a day cleaning or fixing or organizing something somewhere in my house each day (not including the dishes which get done every day.)'

Corollary: don't sweat what doesn't get done - it's OK to have dust and clutter.

Yell at my kids less.
Corollary: continue playing and being with them more, as I did this year.
Additional corollary: consistently hold them to higher expectations about doing the things they need to do. They are big girls now.

Focus better at work. Get to work on time.

What about food and exercise?
How about: don't eat anything that doesn't taste good.

Try to talk openly to that inner toddler that says "ooh, I hope they'll have chocolates at that meeting so I can eat LOTS and LOTS" instead of ignore her and pretend she doesn't exist - when she's ignored she screams louder and louder and she always wins.

Exercise vigorously five times a week. Don't be lazy - really push.

Pick some races and really train for them. Half-marathon next October, please.

Get hypnosis to try and overome my panic issues.

Change my "shoulds" to "coulds."

Oh, and be a better person, save the world.

I think there's more stuff I want to work on (mess, marriage, money, sleep) but I'm going to stop now because I want to get to work on time.

Oh, and one more thing I need to do: catalog my accomplishments for the last year. I should could have done it last week!