I Resolve

Scroll through the last ten years of Practically Twisted posts and you’ll discover a pattern. Every few years, around the middle of December, I write about the long list of promises that I resolve to keep in the fast approaching new year. And then I’ll confess to feeling the deep disappointment of personal failure when those promises are broken by February. In other years I write about how I’ve learned my lesson about resolutions. I decide to throw caution to the wind and to swear resolutions off for good. I give myself carte blanche to do whatever I darn well please.

But throwing caution to the wind is not in my character. It doesn’t sit right, this going rogue. There has to be a place for everything and everything has to (more or less) be in its place. I like to know where I’m going and how I’m going to get there.

I think that’s why I love this time of year. It’s the time of year that asks for introspection and reflection. It’s the time of year when I can look back and see that I’ve survived another circle around the sun more or less intact. It’s the time of year when I’m giddy with the anticipation of making a game plan for the next twelve months. Of figuring out how I can reach the heights to which I aspire.

I guess that’s why I like to make New Year’s Resolutions. Even when I try to convince myself that it’s a fool’s errand. Taking time to make a resolution suggests we’ve taken time to contemplate, to imagine ‘what if’, to ponder. And it helps me create order out of chaos. Resolutions are a road map. There’s plenty of opportunity for me to take side trips and short cuts, but resolutions point me in the right direction.

What about you? Do you set resolutions? 


The One Best Thing

Photo 195I made a mess of this new year. No – I didn’t insist on a long list of resolutions that now lay in shards at my feet. Instead, I overwhelmed myself with good intentions.

Yes, I can see you shaking your heads mournfully and yes, I can even hear a few “tsk tsk’s” and YES, over the past ten days I have realized that setting a course of good intentions is really no different than writing a list of resolutions. And, no, it doesn’t shame me to admit that I have been duped by my very own linguistic chicanery. Am I the only one who has fumbled and fallen? No. I am not.

But I should know by now that racing into any new year with my heart and mind overflowing with promises of change that can’t possibly be kept is a bit like giving me carte blanche at a buffet table. In the same way that I have difficulty controlling my feast or famine impulses when food is involved, it’s challenging at best for me to display any sense of restraint when I begin to write the list of goals I convince myself I need to achieve in order to be the new and improved Mimm OSx55.

We were only nine days into this new year when the unraveling began. The ‘new’ Mimm – the Mimm who rises each morning an hour early to write; the Mimm who keeps a clean diet and has a morning routine that would make the most experienced Ayurveda devotee proud; the Mimm whose asana and meditation practice takes Surya Namaskar to great heights – that new Mimm was frayed and fading fast.

I couldn’t decide which felt worse – knowing I would never be able to sustain the pace I had set for myself (I forgot to mention the neurobiology course that I was enrolled in. Note the past tense.) or knowing that, yet again, I had fooled myself into setting those pesky resolutions in the first place.

But here’s the proof that maybe – just maybe – I’m learning. Yes, I had a minor meltdown and no it didn’t feel great. I wallowed around for an hour or so and then stepped back and took a good look at what I had done.

And smiled.

In my push to be a different version of who I am I’d forgotten that this version really isn’t so bad. While it’s true I struggle with envy, I suck at math and I’ve gained back half of the twenty pounds I lost last summer – I also have some admirable redeeming features. For one – I’m plucky. I have no doubt whatsoever that Chumbawumba wrote the chorus of Tubthumping with me in mind.

And so, embracing my inner pluckiness I asked myself this:

“What is the one best thing I could add to my life this year that would make my spirit sing?”

Just one best thing.

I know my answer but I’m not telling.

And now I’m asking you:

What is your one best thing?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Follow the Signs: Reconsidering the Resolution

There was a time I was the Queen of Setting Goals.  I had rigid lists, sub-lists and categories:  goals for writing, goals for yoga, goals for saving money.  A five-year-plan and – always – the goal to lose ten pounds.  A complex map for my life.  A set of instructions to follow.

That’s how this year began.  With a list of detailed plans.  Such plans.  All typed neatly, printed on bright white paper, color coded and taped to my linen closet door.  I reviewed them each day and charted my progress: word counts, workouts, submissions and queries. I knew where I had been and where I was headed.  Didn’t I?  Of course I did – it was right there in black and white on my linen closet door.

That lasted about six weeks.  I stopped looking at my linen closet door around the beginning of February.  By late spring they were history.

I thought I had failed.  The truth is I hadn’t learned the lesson.

 

Yesterday I was in Sunnyvale, headed back to Palo Alto.  It was the morning of the day after Christmas.  Traffic

A historical marker situated along El Camino Real.

was light and I drove north on El Camino Real.  I was content to let my CRV stroll the six miles back home, even if I hit every red light.  Until I reached the intersection of Highway 237. On a whim, I turned right.

For those of you who know the area this is no big deal.  Unless you also know me.  When I’m driving I don’t do “whims.”  The car doesn’t move unless I know where I’m going.  I need to see that the path ahead is clear.  Last September the suggestion that I should drive an unfamiliar car, on an unfamiliar freeway following an unknown route was enough to turn me into a woman on the verge of a nervous breakdown.  So turning right on 237 was a very big deal indeed.

And guess what happened?

I followed the signs, avoided heading toward Milpitas and sure enough, after taking the Middlefield exit and turning left on Ferguson I found Central Expressway – a faster, easier way to my home.

I know.  It was a simple thing, turning right on 237 instead of driving straight ahead.  But it revealed a big truth.  Narrowing our focus to a list of resolutions taped to a closet door has nothing to do with life.

There will be no list this year.  This year I have only one resolution.

This year I’m going to follow the signs and find my way home.