Sunday, January 9, 2011

New Year, Clean Slate

Historically associated with a spare tire and a bad case of the post-holiday blues, January has never been my favorite month. During the holidays, I replace balancing work, social, health, travel, fitness, and family commitments with balancing a warm mug of hot chocolate and sugar cookies in front of old fashioned Christmas movies with B. I give myself a hall-pass from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Eve every year and allow myself a modified fitness schedule, ease up on the organizing, planning, cooking and cleaning, and just try to enjoy celebrating life. I “let go” for a few weeks and indulge, indulge, indulge. And then January comes. All the trimmings are boxed up, I feel squishy and lazy, and the pressure to return to my usual routines looms in the air.

Last year before Christmas even rolled around, I decided I was sick and tired of experiencing that impending January doom. Who wants to be cranky and depressed starting out a new year? I realized I needed to re frame the way I looked at January – I needed to find something positive about it and hold on to that, instead of holding on to a hangover from a holiday come and gone. So I made a promise to myself that I would try my damndest each year to see January as the month we’re all given a gift: a clean slate.

Obviously everything is much easier said than done. I still cry when I leave my niece and nephew; I still miss my sisters for at least a few days after returning to San Francisco; I even get a little choked up when we take all the ornaments off the tree . But from the time the wheels touch down at SFO, thinking about that clean slate has become January’s saving grace.

We opted to come home to San Francisco between Christmas and New Years Eve this year, so I had some very rare down time to consider what I would do with my clean slate; to think back over 2010 and how I’d like to build upon it. Naturally, I made a list. And it keeps growing...

  1. Have that “Christmas state of mind” at least 1 day each month all year long.
  2. Be more present on a daily basis. Experience the smells, sights, sounds and people around me rather than too often getting caught in my “in my own head.”
  3. Stop grabbing the fat on my tummy in the morning. Or any time of day for that matter.
  4. Stop being such an old lady about adapting new technology. Skype more with friends and family.
  5. Embrace the concept of “for better, for worse.” Learn to handle challenges in my relationship more gracefully and calmly. In other words, less like nut bag.
  6. No burping, farting, or “discreet” nose picking in front of Bee, or anyone else for that matter. It doesn’t matter if it’s an occasional slip-up, a rare miscalculation, or a champagne-induced moment of weakness. One mishap is enough to gross someone out, turn someone off, or make someone think of me as a teenage hot mess rather than a 28 year old woman.
  7. Reframe career goals: stop focusing on the risk involved in asking for more respect, recognition and control over my work load and projects. Just do it.
  8. Be more compassionate; when I can’t find compassion in my heart for someone, at least remember that I have no right to judge. Anyone.
  9. Remember that B is not perfect and it is unfair to expect him to be.
  10. Speak up when the guys at work act like d-bags, invade my personal space, stare at my legs or boobs, or attempt to minimize my contribution due to their own insecurity.
  11. Be as patient with B as he is with me.
  12. Be more accepting of those who think and behave differently - especially my dear Mother.
  13. Refrain from considering the reasons I can’t or shouldn’t do something, instead consider the reasons I should.
  14. Stop trying to fit so much into every day; and allow myself more sleep and downtime.
  15. Be more forgiving.
  16. Take the blinders off during the work week and learn to find joy in, and have fun, every day. Monday – Friday don’t have to be so structured and focused.
  17. Turn off the TV (sports) once a week and play backgammon, Wii, Connect Four, Monopoly, etc with B.
  18. Reset my fitness expectations to eradicate “workout guilt.” Instead of requiring a bare minimum of 4 (bar method or yoga) classes each week, require only 3 classes and walk or do other fun activities when I can in between.
  19. Remember I can be defined by how I handle and overcome a struggle, not by the struggle itself. (Thanks A.)
  20. Be kind to myself. Be kind to others.
  21. Don’t get caught up in inconsequential details or unnecessary negativity.
  22. Drink more wine.