Hey – we may as well have fun as we go sliding into old age, right?

Posts tagged ‘new year’

Hello, 2012!

I can’t really say that I was sorry to see 2011 leave.  It was stressful year. 

We (finally) sold our house and completed the first phase of our move to North Carolina.  Packing boxes, unpacking boxes, settling into a very temporary rental house that is reminiscent of my first apartment thirty years ago, complete with cheap and/or borrowed furniture.  It’s been an adventure. 

I said good-bye to some dear friends in 2011 – dear friends who were my age or younger – a sobering part of growing older.  These friends all left this earth far too soon.  While I blogged about losing Donna and Billy, just this past week I’ve also said good-bye to both Betty and Steve.  It’s even more tragic that Steve’s death was due to alcoholism.  Younger than I, he just couldn’t defeat the demons that cost him his career, his marriage, and ultimately his life.   

And we added the happy stress of a new puppy, who has unexpectedly grown to the size of a small pony and threatens to become a dog of Marmaduke proportions and adventures.  Even now, as I type, Tully is prodding at my elbow and whining to be taken for a walk, which I’ll have to do if I expect to be able to finish this post, so excuse me……….okay, I’m back.  Welcome to my world since Tully entered my life.  It’s all about her.  All the time.  Really.

I avoid making detailed new year’s resolutions, because they’re just a recipe for failure, depression and frustration.  It’s so easy to rattle off a list of goals on January 1st, and they seem so reasonable at the time.  Lose 20 pounds.  Exercise daily.  Stop eating sweets.  Organize my closet.  But by January 31st, like the vast majority of people, my resolutions have fallen to the wayside, and the mere thought of them makes me feel like a fool.  And who needs that?

So, for the past few years, I’ve gone to setting “themes” – one-word goals that I try to frame my year around.  I’ve used “de-clutter” (moderately successful), “focus” (moderately successful), and last year it was “finish” (not so successful).  But the joy of one word resolutions is that failure isn’t glaringly obvious, and they can still help me set and meet smaller goals through-out the year.  I don’t know if I’m any better at finishing things than I was a year ago.  But give me a break – it’s tough to change a life-long habit of being a starter. 

Today’s the day I have to set my theme for 2012. 

Drum roll, please – the word for this year (for me) is – “fearless”. 

2012 will be a year full of changes.  Moving out of state.  A new career (and possibly a job hunt for a new employer – yikes!).  Making new friends in a North Carolina.  Leaving dear friends behind in New York.  Settling finally into our new home.  Maybe even starting a business of my own.  Or writing more (for money).   

This year – I will be FEARLESS!  I will push myself to do things that scare me.  I will push myself out of my comfort zone.  I will do my best to not worry about failure.  And if I fail at something, I’ll just get back up and FEARLESSLY try something else.  One example is the new look for the blog – a change was long overdue.  Hope you like it!  I’ll admit that’s a baby step when it comes to change, but it’s only the first day of the year.  Give me time to build momentum.

I tend to not be terribly bold in general.  Some people might find that surprising, because I can fake it pretty well.  But I have that female-born-in-the-fifties angst about drawing attention to myself and being in charge of my own fate.  Too much Ozzie and Harriet when I was growing up, perhaps.

Will it be scary to act so boldly?  Yup. 

Setting a resolution of “fearless” doesn’t mean “fear-free”.  It means acting fearless, taking bold action.  And I can do that.  I’ll reinvent myself, or better yet, find my true self, in a new home in a new state.  Instead of struggling to finish that first novel, I’m going to start a new one, and the story is already kicking around in my head, getting ready to hit the page.  I’ll figure out how to make a living somehow, in a way that doesn’t stifle me. 

How?  No clue.  But I’ll figure it out as I go.

So tell me – what would you do in 2012 if you were truly fearless?  And what’s stopping you?

On New Year’s Resolutions…

We all know how successful most New Year’s resolutions are.  According to Wikipedia, 52% of people who make resolutions believe they’ll succeed, but only 12% of them really do.  That’s supported by another study that says 78% of resolutions fail.  The odds are not with us.

And yet, we keep making them.  I loved hearing Ellen Degeneres’ resolution suggestions – lose weight, start exercising, and drink more – then you know you’ll at least succeed at one out of three.  Gyms are wall-to-wall people in January.  You can barely make a turn in Zumba class without stepping on someone, and forget about getting on a treadmill without a 45 minute wait.  All the stores are selling exercise equipment and organizers (another big resolution goal – get more organized).  Weight Watchers is running ads every ten minutes on television.

And yet, by February…the lines are gone at the gym, and Zumba class is safe again.  The organizers and elliptical machines are on sale, and we’ve all just moved on with our lives, with those lofty resolutions left in the dust.

That’s why I’ve stopped making specific resolutions.  When I make specific resolutions, I’m a failure within weeks, and then what’s the sense of continuing?  “I’ll get up at 5AM three times a week to exercise before work!”  Yeah, right.  By week two, I’m feeling nothing but guilt because I don’t have the willpower to keep my resolution.  “I’m going to clean up my desk and organize all my books and papers and keep them that way from now on!”  Uh-huh.  It will take me half the year to organize the clutter I already have, and then I’ll be six months behind on organizing anything that comes in between now and then. 

So, for the past few years, I’ve avoided specifics and gone with themes.  I highly recommend it.  A theme, especially one that can be drilled down to one word, is easy to remember, and actions can be measured against it throughout the year.  But without the specific “I’m going to lose 30 lbs by April”, the pressure, fear, guilt and angst are gone.  Two years ago, my theme was “de-stuff”, as in reduce the amount of “stuff” in my house and my life.  I never vowed to eliminate all of it, but just to work at it all year, and I did, with some success.  Last year, it was “focus”.  I had varying degrees of success with that one, but it was a good mantra to keep in my head.  And I did focus long enough to start this blog and stick with it, and to take steps toward a new career. 

Yup, I started some good things last year.  I went through a self-examination period and started being far more authentic in my approach to life and the people in it.  I started a blog that had over 1300 viewings in eight months (thank you!).  I started Weight Watchers (twice).  I established a business and registered it a corporation.  I got my first paycheck for writing. 

That’s all well and good, but it’s really not remarkable.  After all, I’m a “starter”.  I’m fabulous at starting things.  Give me a great idea and I’ll run with it.  Put me in charge of a project, and I’ll own that puppy right up to the grand roll-out.  I’ll organize the workers, I’ll create the agendas and have fun icebreakers at the meetings and give everyone chocolate and throw a celebratory party after we’ve reached our goal.  But then I’m done.  The thrill is gone, and I’m looking for the next bright, shiny thing to catch my attention.  I have at least five half-read books sitting around the house (and one on my new Kindle).  I have half-finished blog ideas, half-finished drawings, half-finished photo albums (but all those old snapshots are brilliantly organized and labeled in a box somewhere!), a half-finished college degree, a half-organized desk (don’t look in the right hand drawer…), a barely-started novel, a barely-started business.  Seriously, I could go on and on.  I’m a starter.  I’m a brilliant starter.  Truly gifted at it.  I’m a planner.  I love buying supplies for the “big start”.  Special colored folders and highlighters will help my desk.  New clothes hangers will help the closet.  A new book will tell me how to succeed.  Yup.  I’m damned good at starting – I have raised it to an art form.

But I think it’s time for me to develop some finishing skills.  And that’s my theme for 2011.  Finish.  Carry through.  Avoid distractions.  Keep plowing forward, even after the thrill of starting had gone.  Ignore that bright shiny project on the horizon and finish what’s before me NOW. 

I tell myself I don’t procrastinate, because I really don’t.  Not on purpose.  I intend to do things.  I just get sidetracked.  This is one of the few blog posts I’ve written without stopping at some point to check Facebook or my email, check the news, or going to the kitchen for a cookie (which then leads to “I should make tea”, then “oh, look, Hubby’s watching my favorite movie – I’ll just watch this last hour of it with him”, etc.).  Why haven’t I stopped today?  Because my theme/resolution is “Finish.” 

Finishing is incredibly satisfying.  I don’t know why I avoid it so.  But this is the year that I face my fear and deal with it.  I’m not going to finish everything (nor should I – some things just aren’t a good idea from the start), but I’m going to think about my theme before starting anything.  Can I finish it?  Is it even worth starting?  Can I follow through and move past the fun part to the nitty gritty daily grind?  Can I meet a deadline without stressing out?  The answer is yes, of course.  But from now on, for every “start” I make, I will envision what “finish” looks like, and I’ll carry through.  I know my Hubby is smiling with delight at the thought (he’s a “Finisher” extraordinaire).

My theme for the year is Finish.  What’s yours?

A Few Updates on 2010 (Before It’s Too Late!)

As we approach a new year, it’s not only time to think about resolutions for the future (most of them futile, to be sure), but it’s also time to take a look back at the year we’re completing.  Time to examine, evaluate and grade ourselves on how well we weathered having another year pass us by. 

Overall, 2010 was pretty decent for me.  For those of you who have been faithful readers (thank you!) since this blog began in May, please allow me to bring you up to date on some of the things I wrote about in 2010. 

My very first post was primarily dedicated to my aging neck, and the folds of skin that have appeared over time.  Update:  no change.  In fact, at the company Christmas party a few weeks ago, they took photos of couples as they arrived, and I still managed to be shocked at the double and triple chins I exhibit in the picture – yikes!  There’s really no way to “suck in” your neck like you do your belly, so I guess from now on my photos will show me with my chin pointing slightly skyward, and shoulders dropped, all in an effort to stretch that wattle out a little bit and reduce the deep skin folds.

Something else I’ve written about a few times this year is my displeasure with my weight.  One of the not-so-nice results of growing older is a slowdown in our metabolism.  Add to that the inevitable “oh, screw it, I’ll eat whatever the hell I want” attitude of a menopausal woman, and the result is extra pounds.  I’d love to tell you that my renewed focus on my reflection in the mirror, my dedication to Zumba, and my interest in improving my health lead me to an epiphany that allowed me to conquer fate and lose weight.  I’d love to tell you that, but it would be a lie. 

Instead, I’ve gained several pounds since early summer, and even crossed into another set of tens on the scale, if only briefly.  My clothes (already up one size) are feeling snug.  I am NOT going up another size.  So it’s a safe bet that one of my resolutions will have something to do with diet.  For real.  Honest.  No, really.  I’m serious.  Stay tuned…

In September, I recommended some of my favorite cleaning supplies to my readers.  I have an interesting update on that one.  My beloved Scrubbing Bubbles Automatic Shower Cleaner died in November.  The thing runs every day in a steamy shower, and they can’t last forever (it was several years old).  So I picked up a new one.  But it just didn’t run right, and soon it didn’t run at all. 

I felt terribly betrayed, especially since I’d so enthusiastically recommended the product to my friends in this very blog.  So I sent an email to S. C. Johnson, makers of Scrubbing Bubbles, expressing my disappointment, suggesting that they shouldn’t have messed with a good thing, etc.  It wasn’t a nasty email, but I was firm in expressing my feelings.  I almost immediately received a well-worded personal response, apologizing for the situation, stating that they would send me a coupon for my inconvenience.   

I instantly felt better about the company and their product – it’s amazing what good customer service can do.  Two days later, an envelope arrived from S. C. Johnson, with a coupon for an entire sprayer set – FREE.  And the new one works flawlessly. 

When they mentioned sending me a coupon, I figured they were going to send a $1.00 coupon for cleaning solution, not a free $20 unit!  Needless to say, my doubts about recommending this product are completely gone, and I’m back to telling everyone – get a Scrubbing Bubbles Automatic Shower Cleaner!!!

This blog is one of my accomplishments for 2010, and I’ve managed to stay pretty close to a weekly schedule with my posts.  And yes, it did stretch my writing muscles, and yes, I did get my first paying writing job this year.  After I told you about getting that exciting first paycheck, I received two more checks for writing (whoo-hoo!!). I’m working on a relatively big project right now that might actually give me my first real byline.  That’s pretty heady stuff for a Baby Boomer who always “wanted” to write, but never felt the courage to get out there and actually write.  And while I haven’t quite dusted off the old novel as promised, I have jotted some notes on the plot line, and I think I have a general direction laid out for the book.  So that’s another “stay tuned” subject, and I’m sure writing will also be mentioned in my resolutions for 2011.

I did manage to predict the future in one post, much to my dismay.  Two weeks after writing about adult toys and fretting that someday we’d see commercials for vibrators on television, it happened.  Hubby and I saw a television commercial for a Trojan vibrator during prime time!  We just looked at each other and burst out laughing, but I really think it’s all a bit too much.

Another update on the home front – – – I mentioned snow recently, as in how much snow we’ve received here in upstate New York in December.  At the time, we’d hit fifty inches in two weeks, after more than six months of no snow at all.  Well, since that blog was written, we’ve received another twenty-three inches of snow and counting.  We are currently at 73.1 inches for December – our snowiest December ever.  I guess if you’re going to get snow, you may as well go for breaking the records, right?  That’s about all the snow really brings us – terrific bragging rights.  You think that massive blizzard on the east coast this weekend was “snow”?  Get real – those people don’t know what snow is.  To quote the governor of Pennsylvania – “wussies.” 

All in all, 2010 was a pretty darn good year.  Made some new friends.  Picked out our eventual retirement destination.  Started writing, and even got paid for some of it.  Examined my aging process in a blog, and survived the scrutiny.  Fifty-two was an okay age for me.  Fifty-three arrives in just a few weeks, and I’m thinking that’s going to be a good one, too.   I hope you can look back on 2010 with me as a mostly successful year, and look forward to 2011 as the beginning of a new adventure, as we go “sliding into old” a day/year/decade at a time.  Happy New Year!

Tag Cloud

%d bloggers like this: