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Looking Forward instead of Backward

Hmmm.  Something seems different around here lately.  Oh, yeah.  It’s a new year.  When did that happen?  I’ve been so down and out the last few days weeks that everything just seems like a bit of a blur.  I’ve gone on and on about how wonderful Christmas was and how much I enjoyed the holidays but to be perfectly honest, it just wasn’t all that spectacular this year.  It wasn’t bad, it just was.  I don’t think I’ll ever look back at this holiday season and have any of those magical holiday memories.  Maybe it is part of growing up, or maybe my mental/emotional state is in much worse shape that I have allowed myself to acknowledge.  It certainly doesn’t help that I’ve been sick off and on for the last few weeks.

I usually find myself looking forward to a new year, but this year just seems different.  I don’t feel that sense of hope and excitement that I usually feel at this time.  I actually feel the opposite because it seems like the harder I try to improve my life the worse things seem to get.  And when things start getting worse I go into denial and try to just ignore the problems.  I have gotten to the point where I feel like all effort is futile so instead of trying I don’t do anything.

I suppose that is why there are no resolutions this year.  I never stick to them.  I never follow through or even look back at them after January so I suppose there really is no point.  I don’t even remember if I made resolutions or not last year.  I know I failed in most of the goals that I set throughout the year.  As much as I hate to admit it, 2006 was pretty much a year of failure for me.  The fact that I feel like I have been feeling lately tells me that I have not been taking good care of myself and that is indeed a big failure.  When I divorced my ex-husband, I promised myself that I would always put myself and my needs first and not succumb to others’ wants and wishes before my own.  So much for that.

I’ve been thinking a lot over the last couple of days and reading a lot of people’s resolutions for the new year.  The more I think about things, the more I feel like I just really need to get my life back on track.  Lately I just feel like I’m doing what everyone else wants (or needs) me to do and I’m not doing what I want to do.  I’m not living the life I want to live.  I’m not standing up for myself and my needs and it is time to change that.  Actually doing that will be a struggle for me, but I’m going to try a little harder.

Here’s a list, not of resolutions, but of things that I want to change about myself and my life so that I feel I am more in control:

  • Learn to say no when someone asks me to do something I don’t want to do.  There’s no reason to make up an excuse to get out of going somewhere or doing something.  If I just feel like staying home, then I should be able to do so without feeling guilty.  I’m so tired of wearing myself out just to make others happy.
  • Plan ahead for (healthy) meals to reduce the stress in trying to come up with meals at the last minute.  This also goes along with getting back on my diet and re-losing those 15 pounds plus another 15-20 pounds and getting myself back to a reasonably healthy weight.  My self-esteem has plummeted lately and I know this has a lot to do with it.  Plus, I just don’t feel good.
  • Exercise more.  Not only will this help me lose the weight, but it will reduce stress, help me sleep better, and help me have more energy.  That’s what I’ve heard anyway.  All of those things would definitely be an improvement to my life.
  • Improve my marriage.  I don’t even know where to begin with this one, but something needs to change soon.  Hubby and I neither one are happy right now and that needs to be fixed.  We both want to work on things but don’t really know where to begin.
  • Learn to control my spending and stick to a budget.  This is a life-long struggle for me.  We are way over our heads in debt right now and it just has to stop.  I love to shop and love to find a good bargain, but I do it too much.  And?  I do it when I’m depressed.  I know that I am pretty much responsible for our current financial situation and it eats me alive every day.  We were really making some progress before Zach came along but since then I have not been able to get my spending back under control.   Some of it is necessity, much of it is just emotional.  If it doesn’t get under control soon we will never be able to have the things we really want in life–like our own home or a retirement fund.
  • De-clutter my life and my home.  When you walk into my house there is stuff everywhere and I can’t stand it.  It never used to bother me, but over the last couple of years all of the clutter, the knick-knacks, the stuff has really gotten to me.  Most stuff I keep around because someone important in my life has given it to me but I just can’t do it any more.  I have to learn to let go and realize that it is just stuff.  The emotions attached to it don’t have to go away but the stuff does.  It is time.
  • Take an active step in keeping myself healthy.  I hate going to the doctor and even more than that I hate calling to make appointments.  I haven’t been to a dentist in almost ten years now.  I’m past due for my annual girlie-bits exam and way past due for my last eye exam.  I couldn’t even tell you when the last time I had a physical was.  And, as much as I hate to face it, I just may need someone to examine my head and emotional status in the very near future as well.  Within the next month or so I’m going to start scheduling appointments and make myself go.  The dentist and the annual appointment with my OB/GYN are my first priorities.  Hopefully the rest will follow.
  • Turn the TV off and spend more quality time with Zach.  I rely on the TV for his entertainment more that I ever thought I would.  I don’t think a little TV will hurt him in the long run, but not having enough time with personal interaction from his parents will.  He is at an age where he seems to be soaking everything in and I want to make an active effort to fill his brain with the good stuff.  I want us to have more family time together.  I want to read to him more, take him for walks, go to the park, go outside to play ball.  I want to help him explore this world that we live in instead of only seeing it on the TV screen.
  • And, perhaps most importantly, I want to make time for myself.  I feel like almost everything I do in my life is done for someone else.  Other than the time I take to write in this blog I do very little for myself.  I want to make it a point to take some quiet time out to relax and knit, or read, or even to just take a bath in peace.  Somehow I have to save myself from the insanity of the day.

I know this seems like a very ambitious list and I know that these things will probably take longer than a year to succeed at if that is even a possibility.  But somehow, some way, something has to change and I have to be the one to change it.  I can’t sit back and just let life happen to me anymore, I need to actively make it be the way I want it to be.  I hope that Hubby will help me along the way because I am weak and I’m pretty sure I can’t do it by myself (even though I hate to ask for help).

If nothing else, let’s just hope that 2007 is a much better year than 2006.

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  1. Amen to that! I think your list isn’t so much as ambitious as it is life-affirming. You are deciding to live your life on your terms. It’s very empowering.

    I would be empowered over here along with you if I were less hungry and dreading eat yet another orange for a snack.

  2. hey, lady – i’m proud of you for making this list. just acknowledging the changes you want to make is a big step. some of this stuff is huge and scary, and i can totally relate. during my recent move, i finally got rid of some of my dad’s old clothes – i’d been keeping them simply because i missed him so much, but i realized the clothes weren’t helping me miss him less. and getting help/advice from a doctor about emotional issues? HUGELY scary, but sometimes very necessary.

    you are a wonderful and strong woman. seriously – so proud.

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