First, I am going to say what I always say: it doesn’t matter whether or not I ever succeed in keeping to my New Year’s resolutions. What matters is that I’m in a constant state of introspection, evaluation, and improvement. I am always, always in some stage of trying to make myself better at something, better in some way. It’s the only way to approach life, with a belief that I’ve got a long way to go, but that I’ve come a long way, too. People who don’t make resolutions have no hope. They will call themselves “realistic,” but what they really are is cynical at worst. At best, they are just party-poopers, adding something like, “I don’t need the new year to inspire me to self-improvement.” Psssh. Of course you don’t NEED it. But it’s a great time for it. You can celebrate the new year on some other night than the 31st of December, but you’re just doing it to urinate on everyone else’s celebration, and we’re probably better off without you.
I feel less resolute this year than most, I think because I’ve had kind of a downer of an end to 2015. Over all, it was a great year, but it ended on a stressful note, and the self-loathing in this house was thick enough to choke on, which I often found myself (figuratively) doing.
So let’s resolve to do something about that. I already mentioned one of my goals: 75K steps weekly, possibly to be increased as the year progresses if I find it too easy to manage. I’m finding it pretty easy lately, but I walk slowly, which means this is time taken away from other stuff I might need to be doing. It’s still a bit unclear to me how I might maintain this, but I want this to be part of my lifestyle, at least until I’m back in the water on a regular basis. We’ll call this my physical health resolution.
I have very slowly been getting my house tidied. It’s taking really long, but I’m making baby steps. In recent years, I’ve tried to set schedules for having certain parts of the house tidy enough to show visitors (if ever I decide to have visitors), but that hasn’t worked, so I’m going with something more like the walking goal. Let’s call it two-and-a-half hours of tidying per week, to be increased if I find it sustainable, and this will be my mental health resolution. It averages to half-hour bursts five days per week. I’m going to go easy on myself some days, if the task I choose is especially unpleasant.
For example, the other night, I finally went through a shopping bag full of stuff R left for me. There are more than just the shopping bag, but this one was different. She was about to move to California, and I helped her clean out her house and put stuff in storage, and this bag contained some of the half-used stuff from her kitchen, stuff I typically used on a regular basis, like boxes of brown sugar, a bag of flour, and some bottles of spices.
That was more than ten years ago, and I’ve never opened the bag. I have enough experience with stuff like this (tales of horror for some other day), and I knew what I would probably find: tiny holes chewed into the plastic zippered bags, and the corpses of multiple generations of bugs that had been born in that stuff, lived their short lives there, and then died, leaving whatever was left for their progeny.
I don’t know exactly if that’s what I found or not, because I didn’t inspect the items very closely. But they are tossed out. I didn’t just toss the shopping bag and its contents in one blind swoop, in case there was something else in there (CDs I might have lent her, or some memento from some night out), but everything ended up in the trash one item at a time except for a half-consumed bottle of brandy, which I might still toss, but it deserves some thoughtful consideration before I decide.
Anyway, that didn’t take thirty minutes. It took ten years and fifteen minutes, I guess, but the real fifteen minutes of effort it took was considerable, and so I’m counting that as half an hour.
There is a third resolution, something related to creating content, but I’m not going to think seriously about it until I have my living room and hallway tidy, which will hopefully be within three weeks.