It feels pretty good to have my hands on the keyboard again. I gave myself a three-month sabbatical from writing (and a myriad of other activities) to focus on my new role at work, and I’m glad I did, but I am beyond ready to get back into some regular habits. I know a lot of people shy away from New Years Resolutions because they so often end in failure; however, ever since I quit smoking cold turkey many years ago, I have enjoyed great success with them – from running marathons to earning my PMP – so here’s to continuing the tradition. This is the first time my resolutions haven’t including something brand new. This year is all about reviving old good habits that have taken last place in the busy-ness of life. And somewhat uncharacteristically, I’ve decided to get a bit personal in hopes that anyone reading this will take a look at their own habits and maybe avoid some of my bad decisions!
Resolution #1 – Running. Ever since I hobbled through the last half of a marathon with a stress fracture, I haven’t felt much like running. The past few weeks or so I’ve caught myself daydreaming about being out on a run…just me and my music and the fresh air. I don’t think I could ever feel like running if just for something like weight loss – there’s too many other types of exercise to force yourself to do something you don’t want to do or that you’re afraid you’ll hurt yourself again doing. But my daydreaming tells me my body is healed and my mind is aching for the peace and clear-thought that where such a large part of what made me start running in the first place.
Resolution #1a – Remember I haven’t had a good run in over a year and not get discouraged when I can’t just trot off a 5K before breakfast like I used to!
Resolution #1b – While the running focus is mostly mental-health-driven, part of the resolution is really putting more focus back on my physical health. In my 30s, making purposeful health choices (like quitting smoking and picking up running) helped me through some major health issues practically unscathed. A hysterectomy seemed like nothing to me compared to the alternative. (NOTE: please know I don’t mean to downplay the seriousness of this situation, especially for anyone facing it who still wants children. Thankfully, my kids were already teenagers).
After I made it through the surgery and all the procedures, I spent ten years focused on my health, religiously putting up with the inconvenience of tests and biopsies every three to six months. Then the weirdest thing happened. In 2015 I got my 10-year-cancer-free card and, apparently, went completely batshit insane. Like a dumbass, I went from working out 3-4 days a week to doing practically nothing. Do you know what happens when you quit working out? Yes, you gain weight, but that’s just vanity. The real issue is that you quit paying attention to the crap you put into your body. I still don’t know exactly how or why it happened. I even started eating fast food, for Pete’s sake! I suppose not having to purposefully think about it or shoved in my face every 90 or so days with a blood test here or a biopsy there made the threat of it less real. Which is crazy, since my mom died from cancer just three years ago and I’m a walking genetic clone.
So here we are a year later and (thank you God) I just got through my dozens of tests and specialist appointments with no sign of cancer (or anything else serious). Funny how fast that year went and how little I thought about it, but let me tell you, I did a lot of thinking (and remembering) as I went through all those tests again. And I was ashamed of myself and how I took it all for granted. This year I’m shaking all that off and get back into the awesomeness of healthy living!
Resolution #2 – Writing. I have two half-finished books that I’m determined to complete this year. One of them, a non-fiction book about Agile Project Methodology, I (legit) set aside to complete another large Agile implementation and purposefully test out some ideas and theories I had suggested in the book. I’ve got a ton of new material swirling around in my head (which may be part of the drive to run so I can sort it all out and start writing it down!)
The other, a work of fiction, quite honestly got set aside before I even hit the sabbatical. I had reached a point in writing that happened to coincide with some circumstances in real life and the emotional collision paralyzed me a bit. Whenever I wrote dark situations in the book as tight and tense as I think they need to be, I found it difficult to keep from picturing similar (worst-case scenario) events and situations happening to some real people I love.
Now let me preface that normally when I read something I wrote a few months or years prior, I am hyper-critical of my work. Sometimes I think parts are okay and maybe if I polished it I could salvage something, but for the most part, I fail to see any spark of originality, let alone brilliance, my professors and others have claimed to see. I read over my draft the other day and I realized that the parts I wrote with dread in my heart were some of the most honest and striking writing I have ever done. Also? The worst-case scenarios I kept picturing never materialized. I thought, maybe instead of hiding from the way my writing makes me feel, I need to embrace it and write through the emotion, raw as it is, and let my characters take on that dimension.
So there it is, for all the world to see. My New Years’ Resolutions. Perhaps now I’ll have to post every now and again on how it’s going and let the thought of that help keep me on track! 🙂
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