Happy New Year’s Eve Every Day

Today is the day we Earthlings have arbitrarily decided is the end of one period and the start of a new one. It would probably make more sense to choose the Winter Solstice. That is the day the earth begins to turn it’s northern hemisphere, where we live, back to the sun. However, the pre-Christian Romans chose this day to honor Janus, the God of new beginnings. Then when Pope Gregory XIII came along, he took over that day to remember the naming and circumcision of Jesus, despite the fact that it probably didn’t happen on that day at all. So here we are, celebrating a day as the end of one year and the start of a new year, and pretending somehow that tomorrow will be so very different than today because we use 2016 at the end of the date.

Many people use this arbitrary day to start over, set goals, and make resolutions for what they want to accomplish. It’s a noble endeavor, other than the fact that most of us never really start over, our goals fall away, and those resolutions get broken almost immediately. We just keep doing more of the same, over and over.

I went into 2015 knowing that wouldn’t be the case for me. I had known for some time that our show was ending. I knew there might be a possibility of continuing there, but I also knew that would mean the end of who I truly was. I would be lost forever. Because I had time to make other plans, I was able to set a new course. Looking back, I can see how it all came off as planned, but of course last year at this time, I had no idea if it would work out. I planned to sell my house, but you never know if that will work out. I planned to move across the country, but had no idea if I would really like it in Missouri. I worried that I had been so unhappy for so long that it had become a part of me. I looked forward to 2015 with excitement and some fear.

Now looking back over the past 365 days, the job did end, the house did sell, I did love Missouri, and most thankfully of all, the unhappiness fell away almost instantly and I recovered my true happy, optimistic nature with ease.

Looking forward, I hope the next 365 days brings a cessation of sugar eating, better water intake, less fast food, more exercise and generally better health. I also plan to finish my novel and begin the process of publishing it.

There is no magic about tomorrow. I could have been, and have been, starting those goals now… Well, not the no-sugar thing, but I admit I am weak when it comes to traditional family-made Christmas treats. And the cold weather while visiting family in the frozen tundra didn’t help with exercising. I don’t do frigid cold, which is a big part of why I didn’t move closer to home.

At the end of this arbitrary period, we all look back on the past year and reflect on what we did with the time. It’s over. We can’t change it. We can only accept and learn from it. Yet today, and every day from here on out, we will be creating our year. Our goals and resolutions are long term, but we must not forget that these grand goals are only accomplished day by day. What will you look back on? What will you do? Who will you be? Each choice you make will create the New Year’s Eve you have next year. As stated in the song Unwritten – “Today is where your book begins, The rest is still unwritten.” Write your book well.

So happy new year’s day today and every day. It’s where your next New Year’s Eve reflections will come from. Make it one you’ll be happy with.

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Wherever You are is Perfect

All the advice on building a loyal audience to my blog is to make regular posts. I’m failing at this. Like most people, I don’t like failing. However, being kind to myself is taking precedent over achieving many of my goals.

Historically, I have not been particularly kind to myself. Most of us aren’t. We say things to ourselves that we would never tolerate being said to others. We know how those words create deep wounds and step in to defend others, but then we cut ourselves to the bone. It’s a disease we need to work on curing.

When I first moved to Missouri, I was in an almost manic phase. I had a vision of a perfect life. I didn’t want to fall into old habits. I wanted to pursue social connections and not become isolated. I wanted to find people with whom I fit. I wanted to eat right. I wanted to exercise. I wanted to lose weight. I wanted to write daily. I wanted to meditate. I wanted to keep negative thoughts at bay. I wanted to solve every problem I’d ever had. AND I wanted to relax into my new slow-paced, stress-free life.

Ha! It was like I short-circuited. Since I hadn’t reached my goals, it felt as if what was true today, would be true forever. It hadn’t worked instantly, so it would never work! (face palm)

When I realized I was rushing into things and trying to make it all work at once, I actually learned from my mistakes and stopped stressing so much. I allowed things to unfold at a natural pace, and stopped worrying about where I should be. Shockingly, that has done the trick.  I actually did solve all my problems at once, and have been able to relax into a new slow-paced, stress-reduced (not free) life.

You see, once I stopped beating myself up for not being perfect and recognizing that life is a process, the social connections were far easier to make. When someone is telling you you’re a permanent failure, it’s hard to believe you’re likeable. Then I joined a group class at work, where I not only exercise, but get to do it with fun, supportive people. That ticks off the boxes, making connections, exercising, and losing weight. The more I work out, the less eating garbage appeals. I’ve started to meditate again. I’m not doing it daily, but I’m doing it more days than I was. I’m definitely reaping the rewards of that. As I slow down and focus more on being present, joy comes flooding back into daily activities. Even turning on the faucet can be miraculous if you’re in the right mindset.

So, what’s been learned? Acceptance. That, wherever you are is perfect. It has to be. It’s where you are.  If you want to be someplace else, then take a step in that direction. It still won’t be exactly where you want to be, but it will be perfect for you, because where you are now is one step closer than where you were. That’s the only way to get there. One perfectly imperfect step at a time.

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Victim Investigator: Special Whiney Unit

As quickly as I was on the trail of joy, I have temporarily lost it. This blog was meant to be light and fun, however, if I’m going to be honest here, I have to admit that things aren’t always sunbeams and rainbows. Still, I will always attempt to find some fun in the misery.

Last week was a difficult week. Having workers in your house doesn’t seem so bad at first, but as the days wear on, you just want it to end. They’re still here. I’ve been informed that they will either be done today or tomorrow morning. What really took the wind out of my sails was more bad news regarding the value of the house. Of course it came late Friday afternoon when nothing could be resolved. I was left to sit for an entire weekend, imagining all the worst-case scenarios. I saw my dream of a writing life go up in smoke. I quickly slipped back into fear and the anger that always accompanies it.

It set me off on a journey, gathering evidence to prove that I was the victim of a cruel universe whose sole purpose was to toy with me, giving me hope than yanking it away. Issues with work came flooding back. I had told myself that despite the unfairness that my 20 years of involvement with the show meant nothing to production and was not rewarded, I would be okay because of the house sale. That perhaps the purpose of being stuck for so long was so that I could have this payout and finally get a shot at my dreams. So, what exactly was my reward for that 20 years of stagnation? I kept asking myself why other people were allowed to make big profits on real estate. When the market is booming all around me, why am I only allowed modest gains? Why is it that the banking system, which made a killing on selling me a house they foreclosed on, is now limiting my profit? Why can’t those who “have” ever allow those of us trying to make some progress even a few crumbs? I know those gold plated toilets, expensive vacations, and Ivy League schools for the kids don’t come cheap, but can’t we peasants even have a roof over our heads in old age? I’m not asking for a million dollars. My dreams are modest. I want a chance to write, and I don’t even want to be a rich and famous author. I just want to earn a living doing what makes me happy and be able to take care of myself into old age. Apparently only the dreams of the “haves” matter. I should know my place and just keep toiling away so the deserving can go to the ball.

Yes, monkey mind is alive and well. My thoughts actually reminded me of someone I used to work with who demanded perfection at all times. You could do it right a million times, but make a mistake once and you would be subjected to a tirade of, “Just once I wish people would do their job right. Every single time…” Except it wasn’t every single time. The mistake was a rare anomaly, but he only saw the mistakes. It was not an attractive trait, and the memory held a mirror up to my own thoughts. Sometimes you really do have to thank people for who they are, and showing you who you don’t want to be.

I reminded myself that there were many times I had something within my grasp and managed to get it. I’ve had some remarkable and unexpected successes. While we don’t live in a fair society, and at times I have felt like I’m going through life with one arm tied behind my back, I also can’t deny that I have enjoyed privileges of which others can only dream. I can focus on how unfair it is that I have to keep downsizing my dreams, or I can rejigger things and find a way to succeed despite the limitations forced on me. I can think about all the times I’ve lost out on something, or I can focus on all the times I’ve succeeded and let that inspire me to succeed at this.

The battle hasn’t been won yet, but the tide is turning. I’m keeping at it, one thought at a time. Hopefully next week I’ll have a far more upbeat post, and perhaps finally some good news about the house.

And on a side-note – I have decided to give the Whole30 program a try. Since being out of work, I have had a hard time avoiding sugar and fast food. I’ve also experienced increased inflammation. Coincidence? I think not. It will likely be hard to complete with goodbye dinners, etc., but something needs to change, and so it has. Day one had me running for the bathroom like American Pharoah. There was hunger, but I enjoyed the tastes of the food I did eat. Today I am tired, partly from the lack of sleep from continuing to go to the bathroom throughout the night. Sure am glad I don’t have to work today!

Have you tried Whole30? What were your experiences?

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