01 January 2012


Like most people, I tend to start each new year making--in the words of Mary Poppins--"pie crust promises" that are "easily made and easily broken."  And, like most people, I am largely unoriginal in my resolutions.  I'm going to lose weight.  I'm going to exercise more.  I'm going to set broad and largely undefined goals that I haven't got a prayer of upholding because they lack specificity.

Last year I tried to remedy this problem by setting a more defined goal--lose 25 pounds by my 25th anniversary at the end of December.  Considering I have a good bit more than merely 25 pounds to lose, it seemed a reasonable and manageable goal, particularly within the time frame of a whole year.

I began the year, as always, with reasons why I couldn't start.

"I need to wait till my kid's back at college so I can concentrate more effectively."

"I'll start after the candy blitz of Valentine's is over."

"Well, I'm certainly not going to diet on my birthday..."

And so it went, till the breakage began.  It's surprisingly difficult to work out when you have one whole side dysfunctional, and of course we had to eat out lots because I "couldn't cook" with an arm in a cast.  While not entirely true, it certainly was a huge hassle to do any real cooking while minus a hand.

The excuses continued through the rest of the year, even after the bones had knitted.  Then I had surgery.  There was always a reason not to start dieting or exercise, just like there has been every year so far.

Given my abject failure with resolutions, I decided this year to try a different tack.  Oh, I'm still resolving to "lose weight," but no longer in the literal sense.  I have decided that this year, I want to lose weight by losing the burdens which bind me.  I am tired of carrying around past injustices and past hurts.  What is the point of living in a past one cannot change?  Doing so is exhausting and counterproductive.  So I intend to lose weight by dropping some of my grudges and some of the bitterness onto which I've been hanging.  I would like to lose the need to stuff my face whenever I feel bad about something or bad about myself.  I would like to lose the desire to pick and poke at myself when stressed.  While it may not be as extreme as cutting or other forms of self-harm, it's still a form of self-abuse, and I deserve better than that.  I would like to lose my lack of discipline for things like exercise or eating moderately and the hopeless feeling that usually precipitates them.  I want to lose the feeling of being trapped or stuck in a rut; I want to lose the feeling of having nothing interesting or important to do for the next 20 years.  I started to lose a little of this particular weight last year by beginning to venture out into my new community and find things to do which feed my soul.

Perhaps instead of just pursuing Weight Watchers, I can start looking towards Heart Watchers.  Heart Watchers should be an organization which helps us to focus on lightening our hearts and minds of burdens such as mine and yours, with the belief that as one's psyche is lightened, one's body will likely follow.  After all, it's far easier to dance if one's feet aren't nailed to the floor.

In addition to losing this "weight," I'm going to start to "exercise" more.  I will exercise my mind by studying for the GRE and applying to grad school.  I haven't yet decided whether I want to complete my doctorate (though part of me does, just for resolution's sake--ironic, no?) or try something entirely new and get a second Master's in some other field.  Several paths look interesting, but none are yet screaming "Pick me!  Pick me!!"  Perhaps I will audit classes till I find the field that does scream "Pick me."  I also want to exercise long-rusty theatrical skills by perhaps becoming involved in local community theaters, even if only as an usher or stage crew.  I've already exercised my love of singing by joining a local choral society; I want to find more things to do along this vein.  Perhaps voice lessons, who knows?  I do want to exercise my body as well, but I want to first shed the emotional weight which has been holding me back from doing so.  Priorities, people.  (Though now I have a disturbing visual image of trying to wrangle a sports bra around my brain...exercise is dangerous, kids--don't try this at home.)

I want to fly.  Literally, figuratively, metaphorically.  I want to shed my earthly bonds long enough to fly to new and interesting places, thus exercising my mind in completely different ways.  I want to soar to the heights of the potential I've been suppressing or putting on hold for the last 20+ years.  I want to be the phoenix rising that I like to pretend I am.  But before I can fly, I must cut the jesses holding me captive.  So yes, I resolve to lose "weight" and to "exercise" in 2012, to lighten my load in every conceivable way.

What about you?  Do any of you have unique ideas or resolutions for this year?  What are they?