First of all, before I get off on this latest ramble, I hope that you all had a fantastic New Years eve and that 2012 is an amazing year for you!
I have to say that I love the ‘cleanliness’ of a New Year. It just seems like a bright, clear, new page stretching out ahead of you. Poetic huh! 😉 New Years is probably one of the only two times in a year that most of us indulge in a bit of self-reflection. The other is on our birthday. Self-reflection on New Years is kind of foisted upon us by social convention whereas self-reflection on our birthday is largely a result of us being one year closer to our graves. 🙂 Luckily for me my birthday is the day before New Years eve so I can wrap the two days into one self-reflection package. Which is probably a good thing because the last thing I need is to spend more time navel gazing. I already spend more time inside my own head than is probably healthy; hmmmm nice random mixing of anatomical metaphors there! 🙂
Moving right along, this years self-reflection has lead me to decide on having three resolutions, one for something I will continue to do, one for something I will do more of and one for something I will do less of. I just like the symetry for some reason. 🙂
The thing that I am going to continue to do is a no-brainer really. Exercise. I probably wouldn’t have included it normally because it is such a part of my life that it really didn’t need a special mention. But I have because of this article. I have always had my own ideas about how much exercise benefits me, in all sorts of ways. But I never realised how much it was actually helping me. I was especially interested to read that exercise ‘has now stepped into the realm of “treatment”‘. So on the basis of this I thought it warranted a mention as my thing to continue.
My thing to do more of is to accept as many invitations as possible, and within reason, that are extended to me to get out and do things. There are a number of good reasons for me to do this, including that I mostly work from home, which removes the social interactions that a work environment provides and the fact that I can be a lazy bastard at times. But the main reason for this one is that I am a compartmentaliser, a term that I have just recently coined myself. 🙂 I have this habit of seeing the world as a series of discrete events, each of which needs to be completed before I can move onto the next one. Which is kind of fine probably, except that I am an extreme compartmentaliser. By this I mean it is a real battle for me to do anything until each event is dealt with in order. Let me give you an example. I have a lecture to give on the 9th of January. In my mind that somehow limits what I can do in the meantime because I have to prepare for the lecture between now and then, or something like that; I’m not totally sure what is going on in my head because the lecture is already written and all I need to do is remind myself of what I am going to say. And said lecture is at 4.30pm on the 9th but if you asked me if I was free at any time on that day my immediate reaction would be no. After I thought about it I would realise that I had plenty of time but my first reaction would be that I couldn’t do anything because of my lecture.
I think the problem is that I have too much spare time so that the things I do have to do take on a sort of un-real importance. A busier person, like my twin brother, doesn’t have this problem. He is actually exactly the opposite, he would arrange something at 3.30pm for half an hour, on the assumption that he can get up to the university in 30 minutes; which he can’t by the way! 🙂 The answer to my compartmentalising lies in a couple of things and one of them is keeping myself busier. Hence the plan to do as many of the things I am invited to do as is feasible.
And the thing I am going to do less of is sweating the small stuff. My desk calendar for 2011 was titled ‘Stop sweating the small stuff; and most of it is small stuff’. It’s taken me a year to get the message, I’m a fast learner aren’t I, but I think it has finally sunk in. I used to think of myself as a pretty sanguine person but I seem to have lost it over the years; and I want it back! 🙂 I have a poster on my wall that says ‘Is there anything today I really can’t handle’ and my personal experience, in 49 years and 2 days, is that there hasn’t been. Which kinda suggests that a bit of performance anxiety is a good thing but all-out worry is a bit useless.
But it goes beyond worrying really. Too many little things bug me, something I would really like to change. The old saying ‘give me the courage to change the things I can, the patience to accept the things I can’t and the wisdom to know the difference’ comes to mind. I’m not totally sure how you actually go about worrying less and being more sanguine, and please no-one say anything as trite as ‘just stop worrying, life is too short’. No shit, Sherlock! 🙂 My strategy for this year is to make use of the psychological theory that we can act our way into a new ways of thinking. So a lot less ‘fuck!’ and a lot more ‘meh!’ 🙂
I’ll let you know how I get on. But until I have some progress to report, take care and may 2012 bring you everything you wish from it.