May 042010

It feels like the year has been going on forever, doesn’t it (and I know it’s already May, sorry)? And now we enter that phase where resolutions start to fade, and everything goes back to normal. So to counter this I renewed my commitment to become happy, and started over. So here are the things I have been doing to become happy:

  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.
  6. Play the piano every day.

Well, I had, let’s say, mixed results. Still, even trying has made me a bit happier. It’s not about succeeding all the time, it is about inching my way towards a happier me. So let’s see how I did:

  1. I didn’t do well with the “going to bed on time” again. You could say I should just give up on this resolution but still I know that this is key to feeling better. When I manage to get eight hours of sleep or more I feel so much better. Of course, today I’m feeling smug because I managed to get enough for two nights in a row. I really hope I can continue this streak. I’m planning to give myself stickers again for every day that I manage to turn the lights out before 10.30. Wish me luck.
  2. The picking up after myself goes really well. I even do the kitchen, and have managed to tame the laundry monster. I give myself a pat on the shoulder for that. Now I’d like to add some cleaning into the mix. That would be fantastic. I only don’t quite know when to do it but I fear this has to come out of my computer time.
  3. I’ve been writing constantly, and I’m really happy about that. There was a point where I was totally unhappy with my story, and didn’t write because it felt all so arbitrary, and made up. And then I found that what was really bothering me was that I had all these characters at the beginning of the story that got abandoned, and then it all went somewhere else. So I decided to bring them back in, and now the writing is flying. So far I have written about 45,000 words on this. Sounds impressive, doesn’t it? And all I do is spend about twenty to thirty minutes a day on this. The thing that I’d really like to do on top of this is edit another story of mine. I can’t seem to find the time to do that as well. May I’ll take that one along when we travel at the beginning of June. We’ll see. For now, while I’m mostly writing “only” five days a week I’m really happy with that.
  4. Think about the things I love about the people around me. That’s quite hard to do for me. But I’m slowly getting there. Every time I feel myself dreading to teach I remind myself of what delightful people my students are, and then my work seems less of a drudgery and more enjoyable. Every time I think, “Oh, and now I have to get my son to bed, I’d rather watch TV.” I remind myself how much I love reading to him in the evening. Every time my husband goes on my nerves I reming myself of the things I love about him, and how much he does for me, and this family. And that makes me happier.
  5. The exercising. Well, the good thing is that I am exercising. I exercised ten times in the month of April. Not quite the “three times a week or more” quota but still way more than last year. Again, I don’t quite know where to fit the exercise into my day. I usually have a bit of time after lunch but really, I don’t see myself going for a run on a full stomach. Still, I’ll be getting there.
  6. The piano, well, failure. I blame others, of course. You see, there it is, my shiny new piano that I love. A few weeks after getting it I decided to have it tuned. I got a complementary tuning with the purchase. You’re supposed to let the piano sit for about three weeks before having it tuned, so I did. It was mostly okay, only a few notes out of tune here and there but there was a slight problem with one of the keys, and so I asked them to send a piano tuner over. The tuner came, he asked me how I wanted it tuned, I said, “Please, tune it to 440 Hz.” He said he probably couldn’t do that because it was a new piano, and a little “high-strung”. (One of these days I’ll get my piano tuned to 440 Hz. One day. One day when I switch from guitar to piano I won’t have the feeling that everything sounds shrill and out of tune.) So, this nice little man tuned the piano. He spent more than an hour on a piano that was almost in tune. Then he played a few chords for me, and left, and I felt all happy that my piano was finally in tune, and ready for my husband to record something with it. Until my husband stopped me that evening and said, “You know that your piano is completely out of tune, don’t you?” Well, I didn’t, and he was right. The piano sounds much worse than it did before the tuning. There are keys that play two different tones simultaneously, and obviously that tuner must have had a very bad day, and a problem with very high and very low notes because those sound horrible. This has somehow taken the joy out of my piano playing. I toyed with the idea of having him come back and tune it again but then I just decided to have my regular piano tuner come in, never mind the 100€ that will cost me, at least the piano will be in order afterwards. So I’m looking forward to this Thursday very much when he will come in, and care for my poor piano. While I didn’t play the piano that often I did start to practice guitar again, so things are looking up.

The thing foremost in my mind this month, though, was how much weight I have gained. I’m feeling quite unhappy about that. When thinking what part of it made me unhappy the most it is not how I look, or feel, it’s how my clothes fit. And the fact that I’m taking up more space than I think I do, I’m constantly bumping into furniture, and if I am in a tight space, and somebody wants to get past me I have to flatten myself against the wall. Also I’d like to become a bit fitter; but mostly it’s my clothes.

Last year I thought I’d be back to a normal shape in no time, and I wasn’t going to buy a whole new wardrobe but by now it’s about 20 kilos I want to get rid of, and if I manage to get in weight-loss mode again, and lose weight at my usual pace of about 300 to 400 grams a month, then – well, let’s just say, I definitely need a few bigger t-shirts until I’m back in shape. So that’s the thing I’ll concentrate on in May. So far I have been trying to sort my clothes into what fits and what doesn’t, and I haven’t quite been able to make time for that. Not even on the two ‘free’ weekends I had. Of course everything will be getting even busier as usual in the next two weeks so we’ll see how that works out. At least I went out shopping with my husband who needed a whole new wardrobe too (because everybody needs new clothes every three or four years, not because he ‘outgrew’ any of them), and now at least I am the proud owner of a second pair of pants that almost fits, a really great new jacket, and a blouse. Onwards and upwards, then.

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