Wednesday, 13 January 2010

New Year’s Resolution update

Ok, so here’s the official list. I’ve had a bit of time to think about worthwhile, realistic New Year’s resolutions and think I’ve come up with a few I’d really like to make a go of. Many of them centre around enjoying this shortish, wonderful (and sometimes shitty) experience that is life and have stemmed in part from health problems that make me want to enjoy the present more than ever. I warn you, this is going to get deep...

Cue drumroll.

1. As per the previous post. Think before acting. No decision is better than a bad one. No further explanation needed.

2. Keep fit. This sounds pretty lame as it’s eeeeveryone’s resolution but I think it’s so important that it’s worth persevering on this year after year. So far, I’ve managed to stick to this; woohoo, 2 weeks, give the girl a medal I hear you say ;-) Seriously though, I’ve realised that for me to keep fit I need to do it in a way that suits me and my lifestyle. I’ve worked out that the gym just doesn’t work for me. For something to become a routine in my life I ideally need to do it every day, and I just can’t face climbing the hill that is my road in the rain and snow on a daily basis just to go to a gym where I have to queue to get on an ugly machine, wear lycra, listen to cheesy music then change in a locker room that smells faintly of feet. So my solution is in fact a cheesy workout video (sorry, I'll stop talkign about cheese, feet etc). Ten minute target toning focuses on one part of the body every day for 10 minutes, and whilst it sounds impossible that you could do anything in 10 minutes, trust me, you can (my aching abs and butt are a testimony to that). I’m doing 20 minutes a day at the moment but have no qualms about dropping to 10 on lazy days. If I can’t do 10 minutes of exercise per day from the comfort of my home, then I’m truly ashamed of myself as a human being! When my current load of freelance work comes to an end in February, and I have my evenings to myself again, I am once and for all going to try out yoga properly. My body and mind are crying out for it I feel :-)

3. Keep doing rehab. I’ve re-started my rehab exercises in earnest again after a couple of months of lapse. An hour a day every day is a bit of a pain, but totally worth it, and I make it more bearable by listening to music. However, I still feel that I’m not doing enough. My face is looking a million times better than this time last year (people who didn’t know probably wouldn’t realise I had any kind of problem) but I just have this feeling that if I could dedicate my life to rehab and acupuncture for around 3-6 months I would see even better recovery. Of course this isn’t realistic with a normal job and schedule, but when you think of the lifetime of benefit that would follow, I think it’s not a high price to pay. I’ve had a nasty kidney scare recently, and that combined with the amount of time I feel I should dedicate to rehab and other personal factors have lead me to believe I need to re-assess the way I live and work to allow for greater time flexibility and health benefits. Update later.

4. Once and for all, just do something I enjoy. I’m not necessarily talking about a career change here, but for all my adult life I’ve always been wanting to ‘do something else’/‘something creative’. It’s not particularly that I like the idea of physically doing something creative (in fact the ‘idea’ of being someone successful in a suit sounds a lot nicer than the ‘starving artist’ archetype that springs to mind), it’s more that I need it in a weird way I can’t describe. Over the years I’ve always kept a (half-hearted) hand in painting, sewing and making stuff in general in order to fulfil this desire, but it’s not enough. I’ve always shied away from careers in these fields due to fears like ‘it’s too late to retrain’, ‘I can’t pay the mortgage by making pots’ or whatever. And these fears may well be justified. However my new response to them is that I don’t have to try to pay the mortgage by making pots, but I can definitely learn to make pots because I enjoy it. Ok, I’m not actually remotely interested in making pots (I once made a pot and it was hideous), but I would love to do a part time degree in something like product or jewellery design and just enjoy it for what it is. And if a career can be carved out of it too, then great.

5. Enjoy life. This sounds like a no-brainer but can be easier said than done. By enjoy life, I don’t mean being hell-bent on having fun or filling every moment with pleasing activities. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and reading lately and have really come to see and feel the benefits of ‘being present’ (something which I once knew how to do then forgot). I’m not talking about any crazed hippy stuff, just enjoying the small pleasures more; like while drinking my morning cup of tea, instead of frantically thinking about the stresses of the day ahead or switching off by listening to the news, I might just sit there in silence, really taste the tea, feel the warm cosiness/or slight chill of the living room, enjoy snuggling into a soft blanket. These seem like trivial actions, but we live so much of our lives on autopilot, our minds actually fast-forwarded to some future action or conversation that we plan to do or have that it can all go by in a bit of a blur. This would be more exusable if I had the kind of mega-stressful job and life I used to, but I don't. To me being mindful is about stopping and taking in the moment (be it good or bad) and I can honestly say this is helping on so many levels. I’m just starting out on this and hope to continue. I highly recommend the Jon Kabat-Zinn’s book, Wherever you go, There you are on mindfulness

So, wish me luck in keeping all of these promises to myself :-)

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