Monday, January 08, 2007

resolutions for 2007

Ok, so I'm a little bit behind with this sort of thing. But I have excuses! I mean, reasons.

First of all, I'm feeling generally dysregulated with this non-winter weather we're experiencing -- it was nearly 70 degrees on Saturday! And yesterday was the 30th straight day in a row with above-normal temperatures, many of them record-breakers. It's making reading stories and doing activities about snow, ice, and cold a little, well, stupid. And yet, focusing on a different season makes no sense either. So that's left me with a feeling of sort of floating, supsended in space and time, waiting for winter to really happen so I can break out all those cool books about the snow, etc. My supply of books about the arctic (and other regiouns where it really IS snowy) are running thin....

Secondly, due to various things, we had to wait until this past Saturday to celebrate Christmas with my family. Now, while technically it WAS the "12th day of Christmas", we've never postponed Christmas for quite so long before, so that in itself was enough to make me feel a bit topsy-turvy. Add to that the fact that it was near 70 degrees that day (on a day that it should be about 30), and we were all sitting there roasting even though the windows were open, the whole experience didn't exactly lend itself to integration. As if opening a zillion and one presents wasn't dys-integrating enough!

I have to say, my kids have handled it better than I have. I still have that "what just happened?" head spinning sort of feeling. I'm hoping settling back into our regular "post-holiday" rhythms will help me feel a bit more grounded. Though with Jacob still running around singing Christmas carols at the top of his voice and doing impromptu recitations of "the night before Christmas", it's a little hard. That and the fact that we've still got Christmas decorations scattered throughout the house....gotta do something about that....

But instead, today I've been thinking about my yearly resolutions, although I've always viewed this as more a time to prioritize my life rather than setting goals to reach. There are several times a year that I like to sit down and do this -- at the end of summer, the end of the holidays, and the start of spring. And since the end of the holidays coincides nicely with New Years, these are what I use when people ask me my resolutions for the new year. For the past couple of years they've looked pretty similar.

1. Simplify. This is an ongoing, ever-changing goal of mine. And probably the most challenging for me, the over-scheduler who has trouble saying no to anything. One reason is because I want to do EVERYTHING. There's very few things in this world that hold no interest to me. And I just love to do stuff. Doesn't even really matter what the stuff is, if it's something to do, I generally want to do it. Or learn about it at least. And, if you haven't happened to notice, I'm a bit hyperactive.

There are several reasons I feel the need to simplify: first of all, for a child with ASD, running around with a chaotic schedule is a pretty good way to assure yourself of dysregulation and meltdowns. It's not so good for non-ASD kids either. So I'm constantly revamping how our week looks, to try to keep things as simple as possible. Secondly, let's face it, it's just not possible to DO everything! And the more things you "do", the less time you have to focus on any one thing and get really good at it. I haven't quite decided if that's a problem -- I mean, does it matter if you're really good at one thing as opposed to just OK at a lot of things? Probably not, if that's what makes you happy. And thirdly (is that even a word?), I truly believe that slowing down your pace in life helps you appreciate all the little things more. It gives you the time you need to truly absorb experiences, and have them grow within you.

My ultimate goal with all the simplifying is to be able, someday, to just sit on my front steps and enjoy the sunset, with no other agenda running through my mind, no other place I feel I need to get to, no list of needs-too-be-done urging me to hurry up with that cup of tea and get back to work. I'm still a long ways from that place, but my hope is to get a little closer with each passing year.

2. Live Greener. This is always on the list of resolutions, but I've backslid a bit the last several years. I could blame it on preoccupation with other things (oh, like Autism, Remediation, Sensory Integration, Homeschooling....), or on our tight budget (Ha! Budget! Is it still a budget when you're shoveling yourself deeper into a hole?). But really, I think I've just been lazy. Right now there is 3 tall kitchen trash bags full of my recent cabinet-cleaning fest sitting in my kitchen. Most of the stuff in those bags are outdated foodstuffs that can be fed to the animals or composted, and most are in packaging that can be recycled. I'm having my usual internal struggle with whether to just haul it to the dump as-is, or to meticulously pick through and recycle every bit that can be recycled. I think the greener side of the argument is going to win this time, not the lazy side. I hope so, anyway.

I want to live greener for several reasons, too. First, I want to do what's right for this world we're living in. Sometimes the feeling that I'm just an insignificant speck, whose recycling tendencies and product selection can't possibly really affect anything, is overwhelming. Yet, if everyone felt that way, or more importantly, pushed those feelings aside and strived to live greener, it would have a MAJOR impact. So there's that. More important is my second reason, which is to set an example for my children. Because then we're not talking about just me -- we're talking about two other humans, and potentially their future families and children and grandchildren. And last, but by no means least, is the overwhelming feeling of guilt if I DON'T try to live greener. How can I expect anyone else to care if I, I the lover of all things natural and pure and clean in this world, don't?

I need to embrace my inner hippie and get with the program. Not just as good as I can, but as good as I want to. If the world's going to come to an end, by gosh, it's not going to be MY fault!

3. Mindfulness. You know, living in the moment, recognizing and appreciating the powers around me, sitting in awe of the tiny miracles. Recognizing my "falls" but not laying blame on myself. I think I'm getting better and better at this all the time. Yet, there's still plenty of work left for me on truly focusing on the moment, letting go of guilts of the past, and (an area that especially needs attention from me) letting the future take care of itself.

4. Being nicer. My grandmother (and I wish you all could have met her, she was absolutely the best person ever!) was the nicest person I've ever met, without being the sort of person anyone could take advantage of. She had a quiet confidence, an innate perception, and a strength of character that allowed her to live her life to it's fullest without ever having the need to place blame on anyone else. I never heard her say an unkind word about another person, she never felt the need to whine or complain about anything, and she always thought the best of everyone she met. She was also downright hilarious, brilliantly smart, and moved through this world in perfect harmony with it. Her life was not all primroses and daisies (tho her gardens were!), yet she treated each day as a beautiful gift full of the richest of treasures.

I'm not like that. Oh, I'd LOVE to be!!! I want nothing more than to have just a fraction of the generosity of heart that my grandmother did. But I'm not her, I'm me. I'd just like to be a kinder, gentler version of me. I'm a work in progress. Aren't we all?

5. Get fit. Such a cliche, huh? Eat better, lose weight, exercise more, blah blah blah blah blah. But I'm serious about it this time. Really I am. Really. Sort of. Not.

I really SHOULD care more about this shouldn't I? That whole thing about you can't nourish others unless you are nourished yourself? Somehow I can't seem to get the leg up I need to climb aboard that bandwagon. So I guess it'll keep sitting at the bottom of my priority list until such time that something scares me into caring more about it. Candy, anyone?

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