The end of the year is rapidly approaching and I am realizing that all of the goals I had for myself this year, got upended by circumstance and I just let it happen. I really did have every intention of becoming this person I described in my blog, but somehow I have let outside sources and influences get to me and disrupt every plan I made for myself. At every single turn, life jumped in the way and caused me to veer off my course, leaving me to navigate through brambles and sage brush and sharp rocks instead of the nice, clear, pristine, easy to navigate path I planned for myself. So, I need to step back, look at my plan and analyze why and how it went so horribly wrong. And by horribly wrong, I mean so far from my intended course. I need to figure out how and why and make changes.
One of the things that I wanted to do was pay particular attention to my health. I wanted, needed, to change my eating habits back to the way they were when I was first diagnosed with Celiac disease. My diet has gotten better for the most part, but there are things that I still need to work on. Sugar is not nearly as appealing as it once was, but potato chips are the most common replacement for the lost sugar. In the last couple of months, even that has gotten better. If I had been behaving myself the whole year, my weight would be down a lot more and a lot of the inflammation associated with both Celiac disease and Hashimoto’s disease, could have been eliminated or reduced. In short, I would be feeling and looking better. Slight improvement, but not nearly enough. Definitely something I need to work on in 2018.
Another area that needs improvement is becoming that “wannabe gym rat” I talked about. I bought a gym membership in March and for the first couple of months, I did really well. I wasn’t really losing any weight, but I was feeling better and enjoying my work outs. As much as I wanted to stay on a routine, several things got in the way of my workouts. Well, more like several factors relating to one thing in my life: work. One thing about working a retail job that tends to suck at times is your schedule. My schedule is supposed to be Monday through Friday 7am – 4 pm. Supposed to be. When managers rotate, things change. One of the first was my Saturdays off were taken away. New schedule is Tuesday through Saturday. I wasn’t happy about that, but not the end of the world. The biggest factor that I have dealt with has been the way they bounce your schedule around. Because my schedule is open, they can make me work whatever shift they need so sometimes they have me work a regular schedule, sometimes 4 am to 1 pm, sometimes 5 am to 2 pm and sometimes the overnight shift. The really early mornings are difficult, especially when you have kids at home and you have to go to bed before they do and be out of the house hours before they get up. It throws your sleep rhythm off and it leaves you exhausted. The worst schedule is overnights because you only work that one week at a time and then go back to a regular schedule. I don’t sleep more than 3 or 4 hours, if I am lucky, per day. By the end of the overnight week, I am pretty well zombified, but somewhat adjusted to the schedule. It then takes me two weeks to readjust to the day shift. I don’t know why, but it is always harder to adjust back to the normal shift. Several bouts of that and I am left exhausted and fatigued and the gym, however much I might want or need to go, sits on the back burner. Anyone who has ever tried to stay on routine knows that if you say “no” once, the second time is easier and then the “no’s” snowball and pretty soon the gym is a distant memory and getting back to that routine is nearly impossible. After a few months absence, I got back into going with my son and then the schedule changes happened again and a few months later, I still haven’t seen the inside of the gym. I need to find a way to fit it into my schedule, even if it means just 30 minutes on the elliptical before going home from work. I know that I look and feel better when I am active beyond the walking I do at work. It needs to be higher on my list of priorities.
One of the things I have wanted for years is to be a Zumba instructor. This goal completely hinges on the two previous. The job does not require that I be super skinny. In fact, a good number of instructors that have taught the classes I have taken, have had very fit but curvy bodies, imperfectly beautiful and perfect bodies. What it does require is that I be able to move without being so out of breath I collapse (I can do that now, but I can definitely do better). The added weight on my frame really needs to go so that I can move more freely and lightly. Having a healthy body is going to benefit all aspects of my life. Feel better, look better, be better.
Being kinder was another goal. I think I met at least the minimum standards of that goal. I smiled through a lot I could have let drag me down and didn’t say mean things back to less than kind people, whose need to feel better or save their own asses allowed them to constantly throw barbs and knives and push me under buses that should have been theirs. I made a point to say nice things to people who probably didn’t deserve it, although they probably really needed it. I said thank you more, tipped better and always tried to find and point out something nice or complimentary about people, whether it was their shoes, choice of eye wear, their smile or their hair style/color. Who doesn’t like hearing that someone appreciates them? I still do this on a daily basis whenever I can.
Doing what makes me happy was the last on the list. Did I do it? Not really. I finished two paintings, stressed myself out over shows and online orders, procrastinated, stressed over work, was exhausted over constant schedule changes and work related incidents that made me miserable and fearful about my employment and ability to keep my kids housed, clothed and fed. Wow, that was a mouthful. I am at the point now, where I am no longer willing to give my job and those who hold it that much power over my happiness and stress level. It is just a job, and the things that make me happy are a necessity for my sanity. I need to find my sanity again.
In 2018, I am setting goals for myself. Not resolutions. I don’t want to call them resolutions. I think that tacking the term “resolution” onto something takes giving “wiggle room” for small failures away. You must abide, always, by new rules you have set for yourself, that when broken, make it easy to give up. With a goal, it is more of a destination you are working toward, a journey. When you go on a journey, there will be side roads, pot holes, break downs and rest stops. But regardless of the exact path, you are still headed toward that final destination, whatever it may be. Things will slow you down, but finding the road again or even finding a new one is always right there. Little failures cannot stop you unless you let them. Those side roads and such bring necessary things to our lives, to teach us, to inspire us and to energize us. Or we do the same for others. So my goals for the coming year are:
- First off, I want to take finding love off the table. I don’t want dating or romantic love to be a focus in my life. If it happens, it happens, but honestly, I am not holding my breath. I don’t want to have to worry about my worth to others, which always happens when you focus on finding love and never do, which at 48, I never really have.
- Finding happiness in my work. I really don’t know what that looks like at this point. New job, new position with my current employer or moving to part time work and part-time Uber driver. I recently started driving for Uber and I am having a blast. I love it. My current employer, through what I feel are bullshit reasons, has put me in a position where it will be a year before I can promote, move or transfer. I don’t like being stagnant and I don’t like other people putting limits on me so I am open to anything and everything right now. I just want to be happy doing it and I don’t want to get screwed over for my efforts.
- Find a way to balance work, exercise and creative endeavors. I have to work. That is a given. Food, housing and warmth cost money. But work can’t be the deciding factor in my stress level, my worries and my ability to do the things that make me happy. I have let it rule the show long enough. I need to be in the gym sweating my ass off and at home doing fun things with my kids and creating art.
- Be more social. Work schedule and fatigue have been the primary deciding factors in my social activity or lack thereof. I want to get out more and talk to more people. Enjoyment of my life has to be a priority. Getting away from work and home and being with people whose company I enjoy is essential.
- Create more. I definitely want to paint more. The goal for that is to complete one piece per week. I have a boatload of unfinished pieces in my studio so completing new pieces or just finishing the ones I have started will count toward that goal. Miniatures or large canvasses, it doesn’t matter. They all count. There are a few new mediums I want to try. Wood carving is one and I would love to figure out the whole woodworking with power tools thing. I want to make beautiful, elaborate handmade advent calendars for the Christmas shows. The kind you pass down through generations. Those things are amazing. Wood burning would be cool too.
- Pay off debt. This goal will probably be ongoing for several years I am sure. I still have one credit card, school loans and a car. I am working on paying them off as quickly as possible and getting them off my back so I can purchase a house of my own within 2 years.
- Remove toxic people and those that make no effort in our friendship. The older I get, the more I realize how much I don’t like toxicity in my life. I don’t like negativity or conflict or anger. It affects me in ways I don’t like. I am tired of making effort for friends who do not reciprocate. I don’t mean that I am just going to drop everyone because there are different levels of friendship and different levels of involvement. I don’t even know how I am going to decide who gets purged, but I am going to make my friends list smaller this year.
- Work toward being a Zumba instructor. This will involve weight loss, a better diet and lots of gym time. I don’t think it all has to happen this year. All of that takes work and time and I won’t beat myself up if it doesn’t happen before 2019. Zumba makes me happy and I would love to be an inspiration to others. I have had a number of things working against me where health is concerned (Hashimoto’s disease, stress, diet difficulties, etc). If I can reach my goals and someone struggling can see where I was and how far I have come, it just might give them the push they need, belief that it can happen and the desire to never give up.
- Love my kids more. I love them more than anything, but I am not always sure I show it. Right now I have a 13-year-old who is becoming quite the challenge. He can be pain. He can be irrational. He can be annoying, not very nice, dramatic, emotional, rude, etc. He has been my most challenging and it is in those difficult moments he needs me to love him more. When he is most unlovable. It is so hard to keep my cool sometimes and not just blow up when he is blowing up and screaming at me, but that is precisely when he needs me to be rational and calm. That can be super difficult for me, but both of us losing our minds is not going to help matters and he is just beginning to navigate the waters of puberty. He needs stability. My 12 year old will be there soon and I will be in the middle of two storms of puberty. Finding my calm and keeping it will be essential.
- Become more organized. My life is chaotic and so is my living space. Unfinished pieces of art, half painted glass and tea sets, art supplies and books. Everywhere. I need to find a way to create in a more organized way in a more organized space. I enjoy chaos, but it can’t be everywhere in all aspects of my life and me retain my sanity. Something has got to give.
So there they are. My goals. I plan on 2018 looking a lot different than 2017 and that is going to require work and dedication. And change. Lots of change. I am going into the new year with a positive attitude, ready to take on my world and all the challenges that face me. This year will be badass.