Resolution Re-evaluation

I took this photo a couple of years ago while playing with a used 50mm MF lens on my camera.
Did I know what I was doing? No, not really, but I still took a beautiful picture despite myself.

Now that we are a couple of weeks into 2020, I imagine some folks who made resolutions are starting to rethink them. Being successful always comes back to mindset. Why did you make a resolution in the first place? Is it a “have to” or a “want to?” Since life is full of “have to”, I say make your resolutions “want to”. Is that cheating? No, not really. Self-improvement can take many forms; including learning a new skill or making an effort to carve at least five minutes out of your day for meditation. You’re far more likely to succeed when you look forward to doing something.

I generally don’t make resolutions, not so much because I don’t believe in self-improvement or making needed changes.  I just don’t see a reason to put a lot of pressure on myself at the beginning of the year. The definition of evolution is change over time, and it’s more user friendly than resolutions. Change is easier when it’s done in small, incremental steps as part of a daily practice.

The same is also true for situations or circumstances one has allowed to get a bit out of control. We have such a situation here, in dealing with clutter and disorganization which has been allowed to run amok. It can be easy to make excuses, especially if someone in a household is dealing with less than ideal health. Unfortunately, that’s the worst time to lose control. Sooner or later, there is going to be a day of reckoning, and it rarely comes at a convenient time. For years, I’ve been telling the man to tackle the mess in small doses, since we have a garbage day two days a week. We’re finally starting to clear things out, in a manner which doesn’t make us feel so overwhelmed. This week was a little harder. Overall, we haven’t had much to complain about this winter. We’re actually a bit behind in rainfall, only this week it’s been damp and gloomy. Though it wasn’t cold, motivation skedaddled. (I don’t know what it is about cloudy weather that makes one want to hibernate, or cuddle under a blanket with a cup of tea.)

We’re at a cross-road, being parents of grown children. Down-sizing certainly has its appeal. We bought our house nearly 20 years ago. With all the new development around us, home values have gone up in this area. We probably could sell our house “as-is” and still walk away with something. However, I feel like it’s in our best interest to tackle the issues we have here and leave with a sense of accomplishment, rather than defeat. Mental baggage had a major effect on all the other “baggage” we’ve accumulated. Addressing it isn’t easy, but is one of the most rewarding when you succeed. If we don’t conquer it, those problems will continue to follow us, meaning a different address will have no true benefit, other than escaping the stairs in our current house.

So, why start writing again in the midst of all our issues? I’m still trying to figure that one out. It wasn’t a New Year’s Resolution. Finally finishing that novel I started 30 years ago, wasn’t even on my radar last January. I started it at the end of April. Returning to blogging wasn’t in my plans until October, and I’m pretty much panstering it. I was getting close to finishing my book, and following the advice of others, started the process of creating my author home base. I opted for a paid plan to begin with, to give me some room to grow up front. Once I had it, the clock started ticking to do something with it. Now here I am, showing my particular brand of crazy.

Creative writing is a reward activity for me, like any of my other pursuits. For the most part, I did enjoy the process of tackling and conquering something which defeated me years ago. There are days the words don’t come so easily, or I discover I’ve written myself into a corner. Like most “artistic” types, I do have doubts, something I’ve poured my heart and soul into may not be good enough. While a few people have read my first book and given positive feedback, it’s still scary to think about releasing it into the world at large. It helps I have a lot of practice with critical evaluation of my work and survived it just fine, even if I didn’t always agree with another’s opinion.

The same thing goes for this blog. The only way I’m going to continue writing posts is if I’m actually enjoying it. I learned a long time ago playing the popularity game doesn’t suit my personality. I’m a non-conformist rebel type, and stressing over how many “followers” I have here, or anywhere else on social media, doesn’t bring me any sort of pleasure. In fact, I find it counter-productive to my creativity; especially when there are so many people out there who think the unprecedented “access” we now have to each other, gives them a license to attack and tear down others about whom they know absolutely nothing. Sadly, it seems like the only thing “social” media has really accomplished is showing us how immature, insecure and vulnerable we are as a species. There’s a lot to be said for keeping one’s poo-poo undies covered with adult britches, especially in today’s hyper-connected world. (Come here if you need a “hug” or someone with whom to be silly. Otherwise, don’t waste my time.)

It is possible to make friends over the internet. I have one, met over a forum a few years ago, who is an “old school” email pal. How did we make a connection which has lasted more than four years so far? We have some things in common. There are also some differences. Being respectful of the differences is the only way we will continue to be friends. Hopefully, we’ll be able to meet in person a little later this year. She recently moved to my home state, Colorado. I also have a relative there I haven’t seen in a long time, and I’m overdue for a visit.

How does one learn to get along with others? You start by liking yourself just as you are, which is the most “extra” way to live. Take it from a rebel who rarely allows anyone to twist my knickers, I’m much happier that way. I find it counter-productive to be in conflict and competition with everyone around me. And what is true success really? Most of the tools we use to measure it, do nothing except cause stress and jealousy. Why are we so gosh darn needy to receive recognition for our achievements from others? What is really missing? That’s the billion-dollar question, isn’t it? The answer is inner peace. Elusive, and often fleeting, yet sublime when we find it. It’s most powerful when your life seems at its lowest point. (Yes, I like the Kung Fu Panda movies. Never underestimate the power of an uplifting underdog story.)

If you find yourself at a cross-road, re-evaluating your evolution, jump-start your progress by first eliminating those non-essential things which bring you no lasting pleasure. Make at least one new friend who is “different” from you, by finding the things you have in common. Do not let others tell you what to think, or give them the power to make you angry all the time. Afterall, the educated person shouldn’t be so easily influenced. Most importantly, never underestimate the power of small changes to accomplish big things. That also includes doing things for others without the expectation of personal recognition. We only get one day at a time. Each day is a clean slate.

Quote of the Week

Set small daily goals, and when you look back at your life, you may find yourself surprised at the grand things you accomplished.

Kristal DeJong

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