Mar 302010

Of course I had wanted to write these update posts at the beginning of the month, not at the end but since it’s still March if just barely – and anyway I can’t help it. I didn’t get to write this earlier so it’s late.

The third month after a new year’s resolution is always a bit slow. Most years this would be the point where I gave up. Like most people I start with a lot of enthusiasm in January, fall of the wagon in February, and in March I’d be giving up. But not this year. As I told you before I’m making these resolutions to become happy. So far they are:

  1. Go to bed on time.
  2. Pick up after myself.
  3. Write 500 words of fiction at least six times a week.
  4. Think about the things I love about my family, students, and friends.
  5. Exercise three times a week or more.

And I can tell you that I feel like I’m playing this party game (it’s German) where somebody starts by saying, “I’m packing a suitcase and I’m taking – a hat.” And then the next person says, “I’m packing a suitcase and I’m taking – a hat and an umbrella.” and the next, “I’m packing a suitcase and I’m taking – a hat, an umbrella, and an elephant.” and so on. Good thing the year only has twelve months, don’t you think? So here’s this month’s report:

  1. I’m still not going to bed on time! I can report, though, that sleep is directly related to happiness. It’s very easy: if I sleep enough I’m easy-going, nice, patient, and happy; when I don’t sleep enough I’m cranky, irritable, forgetful, prone to mistakes, and don’t get anything done.
    Still, every single day at 9.30 I think, “Oh, it’s not that late, I can still watch something on TV, read, write, knit, whatever.” at 10.15 I think, “Well, I should be in bed by now but if I hurry it’s not that bad.” and then I just sit a little longer only to go to bed at 11.30.
    I’ve watched myself, I do this every single night. Any every night I think that something else is at fault. It’s my husband who wanted to watch an episode of DS9 with me, it’s my son who went to bed too late so that my evening routine got screwed, it’s the knitting project where I just want to knit one more row, it’s the fight I had that made me unable to calm down, it’s the book that was so gripping, it’s the e-mail that came in (and why I’m checking e-mail at that hour is fodder for yet another post), well, you get the drift.
  2. I’m better at picking up after myself. As always when I become aware of it, the minute I do it I feel better. This doesn’t mean that the house is all tidy or clean but there are less small messes lying around, and that’s a very good thing. I have to keep working on it, though, already there’s a stray ball of yarn on the dresser, a half-empty water glass on the desk, and assorted papers all over the house. I also would like to find a solution for the stuff I’m currently keeping on top of the fridge, like my PDA, and it’s keyboard, pens, cables and such. the kitchen has become my second office/studio since I still have to spend my evenings there. My son is sleeping in his bed all right, but he still wants one of us nearby all the time. I don’t really mind spending my evenings there but I do mind the stuff I put there.
  3. I will have to change that resolution to “write at least 500 words five times a week” because that’s the most I can get to. I’m still stuck with my story, and therefore I haven’t been as enthusiastic with my writing as I had wished for but I did write. Most weeks I wrote about 2,500 words, and today when I printed my story out in full I ended up with an impressive stack of paper. I think my problem with being stuck results from the fact that I only ever have written very small increments of this story, I don’t have chapters or scenes or even lists of characters. And because I’m acting under time constraints every single day I never find the time to look up the name of that tall blonde woman that keeps reappearing. And that’s just stupid. I downloaded a writing software and will use Easter break to go through what I have.
    I’m happy to report that writing those measly 500 words makes me happy every single time I do it. And it doesn’t matter if the writing is good or bad, or I’m feeling stuck or not, it never fails.
    Also, I remember when writing the one NaNoWriMo first draft that I still like I had the same feeling of being stuck and boring through most of it. And when I read it I couldn’t tell.
  4. I’m struggling with the ‘”think about the things I love about the people around me”-resolution in a massive way. But every time I remember and try it it makes me happy. Instead of thinking about the fact that I have to work now, and sit there listening to the same pieces played badly over and over again I think about what I like about that student, and how he or she has come a long way. And by this little trick of the mind I find myself anticipating the students instead of dreading the work. This tool also makes me realize how much I still love my husband after all these years. We both work on being nice and polite towards each other, and of giving each other and our son frequent hugs. Definitely a win-win.
  5. I’m especially proud to report that I am actually exercising three times a week or more. I have been doing my running and walking thing for six weeks now, and I’m actually able to run for twenty minutes straight (well, very slowly) without keeling over. I’m still doing this in the safety and comfort of my own room which is a bit silly, but when I ventured outside into the garden last week I found that, yes, running in the grass is very different of running very small laps inside, and that it’s hayfever season. So for now I’m staying indoors. After finishing my nine weeks of training I will go outside, and hopefully even run with my husband. He is very patient with the unfit.
    In related news I did lose about a pound of weight, not that much but still a very exciting new trend. And if I ever manage to get enough sleep I hope to maybe lose another pound in the near future.

I also went to a really nice tap dancing workshop one day, and did some yoga on two days. Seems I’m moving again, which makes me very happy, indeed.

My new resolution for this month is to play the piano every day. So far I’ve been playing and not playing on and off but I’m making a bit more time for it, and that’s a very good thing.

The other things that made me happy were that I bought two new spindles, and my new project of spinning and knitting a cardigan. I had been all sensible and told myself not to buy any new spinning fiber before I had spun up all that I had, and then I sat there spinning the same oatmeal colored roving day in and day out. This has been an ongoing project for years now, and while I will finish spinning that eventually I started to feel a bit down looking at that oatmeal brown especially when the weather was not at all spring-like. I went wild, ordered some new roving, and now I’m busy spinning bright orange silk and merino and I love it.

Sometimes it’s doing the sensible thing that makes me happy, and sometimes it’s doing the wild thing. As you know, “It’s not easy being green”:

  2 Responses to “March update on my year of happiness”

  1. I learned that game as a child, although I think we always did it in alphabetical order. Maybe not.

    I’ve definitely been going to bed earlier, though not often enough. I must get up earlier and earlier in order to have more time to myself and to exercise. I’m not terribly energetic in the evenings.

    Occasionally I have ideas for writing that start out so bright and full of promise, but as time goes by and I do nothing with them, they become forlorn and wither up. Quite a bit like my houseplants, actually, but watering plants takes much less time than writing does. I am very slow, so there is no time for it now. I must devote the time to exercising or I will never lose any weight.

    At my job, there is one woman there who has been a full-time employee for the past ten years. The rest of us are part-time, temporary workers. She expects everyone to defer to her, which we do, but sometimes she is very rude about it. Today she was disrespectful to one of the men, and only because he did not seem perturbed by her, I held my tongue. But considering that I have raging PMS, I don’t know if I will have the same restraint tomorrow. I have little tolerance for people who are impolite and ill-tempered for no reason at all.

  2. this makes me smile, and that is a happy thing

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