Accidental Fudge

Updates Thursdays

Tag: new year

Plans

After I posted last week about my word of the year being “Action”…I promptly caught the cold from hell and lost several days to that nonsense. I was out of the office for three of the last five work days, and spent a lot of time annoyed by the fact that I couldn’t breathe through half my nose and kept waking myself up coughing. But I finally (FINALLY) and starting to feel more human again, so now I feel like it’s time to move forward with starting 2018 (a little over a week late, but hey, who’s counting?).

I’m continuing PT for my knee, which is helping a lot. It also makes me whine a lot, because the exercises are HARD (but feel like they shouldn’t be). I’m working on being more gracious about it and grateful for the progress I’m making.

Songwriting class started this week, and I’m trying to hit the ground running, so I have a shot at hitting my goal of 40 songs written this year (twice the number I’ve written each of the past two years).

I’m working on anxiety coping mechanisms in therapy. One of the things I’m trying this week is writing down my anxieties, in the hopes that getting them out of my head onto paper will make it easier to talk myself down. So far it seems like it’s helpful, but it’s only been a couple of days, so jury’s still out. I left my session this week with several ideas to try, though, so if this doesn’t work out, I have other options.

One of the things I want to do a better job of this year is actually planning out my weeks. There’s a big part of me that hates the idea of being boxed into a rigid schedule, but I also recognize that I’m more productive if I have a plan. If the only way I will make time to write songs or read books or whatever else I want to do is if I block out time in my schedule every week, then that’s what I need to do.

I’m trying to keep my goals reasonable, to not bite off more than I can chew in the first two weeks of the year, because I don’t want to burn out. Finding the balance there is a challenge.

Action

Happy New Year, readers! The adventure(?) that was 2017 has ended, and 2018 has begun. Last year was a rough one on a global level, but while my generalized anxiety reached new heights, I can’t say it was a terrible year for me personally. Sure, I didn’t knit as much as I usually do and I spent a lot of the year feeling an overwhelmingly hopeless sense of doom…but I also strengthened some really meaningful friendships, went to Song School, wrote 20 new songs…and I survived. A lot of pieces of my life that felt chaotic and unsettled for a long time have calmed down significantly, to the point where I feel like I’m coming out of survival/energy conservation mode and into a place where I can DO things.

Which brings me to the point of this first post of 2018. I don’t do a lot with concrete resolutions, but I’ve liked the idea that I’ve seen of choosing a word with which to frame the new year. My word for 2018: Action. I am still sussing out exactly what that means for my year, but I know it means a few things for sure:

  1. Taking better care of my mental health, particularly in terms of anxiety. I am back in therapy with a new therapist, and my goal is to work on finding better coping mechanisms and strategies for dealing with the anxiety that has become a constant under the current political administration in the U.S. I’ve identified some triggers and some key areas where I shut down, and while I know this will be hard work, I am at a point where I feel like I can do it.
  2. Taking better care of myself physically. I’ve started physical therapy for my right knee, which has been acting up since Thanksgiving, and as long as I keep up with the exercises, it really does help. Today I’m going to the doctor to follow up on some high blood pressure results from the last time I was there. I have a few other longstanding issues that I want to work on, too (chronic pain, follow-up on some issues I had before we moved to Chicago that should probably be checked out).
  3. Being more politically active. I want to call congresspeople, and be involved in local politics somehow, and stay outraged and stay active. Because this nightmare of an administration isn’t going away on its own. I can’t do everything, I can’t fix it all, but what little bit is in my control, I feel like I need to follow through on.

The brilliant S. Bear Bergman wrote a really wonderful bit about this in his Ask Bear column this week, and you should read it here if you, like me, are feeling overwhelmed here at the start of 2018. Here’s to tackling this new year “bird by bird” (to quote Anne Lamott), or “one penguin at a time” (to quote Bear’s article). We can only do what we can do. For myself, that means better self-care and more external action. Inertia is hard to overcome, but it’s time.

Reflections and Resolutions, 2016 Edition

Well, folks, here we are at the end of 2015, and what can I say except…it’s been a year.

The past 12 months have held some of the hardest and best decisions I’ve ever made for the sake of my mental health. It’s been a year of purging in many areas of my life – from clothes and books and other belongings to toxic relationships – and while it hasn’t been easy, overall I’d say it’s been worth it. I’ve learned a lot about myself, about who I am and what I believe, about what works for me and what doesn’t. I’m exiting this year feeling better about myself, my space, and my relationships than I did entering it. Which, as it turns out, fulfills the loose goals I set for myself last year.

Some things, sadly, have not changed since I wrote that post last year. Police have continued to murder black people and suffer few – if any – consequences for it. Violence against trans women, particularly trans women of color, has continued to occur at alarming rates. It’s a frightening world we live in, and as a white dude, I have far fewer reasons to be frightened than most people. I am still learning how to use this new voice and new privilege for good, and I know I fall far short the majority of the time.

As I’m writing this post the day before New Year’s Eve, I’m formulating a little intention-setting ritual for ringing in the new year. At this point, it’s going to look something like this:

Supplies

  • Tea lights (real candles, not the electronic ones)
  • Tea light holders
  • A toothpick or pocket knife
  • Somewhat concrete goals for the year
  • Matches or a lighter

Ritual

  1. On each tea light, use the toothpick or pocket knife to carve a word or symbol representing a goal for the new year.
  2. Place the tea lights in their holders.
  3. While lighting each candle, take a few moments to focus on what the manifestation of that goal will look like.
  4. Once all the candles are lit, spend a few minutes watching the flames in meditation/reflection.
  5. Let the candles provide the ambiance for the evening as they burn all the way down.

That’s it. Super simple, but still something a little special to mark the beginning of a new (re)commitment to a goal. (I’m still working out exactly what goals I’m going to set for the year…perhaps one of them should be, “learn to be more decisive!”)

I’m not sorry to see 2015 go, but I feel like we’re parting on mostly amicable terms. I’m looking forward to 2016 and all the promise that it holds!

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