Like most people, I find myself occasionally taking stock of myself and my life, looking for things I could do better. To become a kinder, healthier, stronger, more financially stable, better educated, more loving wife, mother, and daughter. Whew.
Big job. Big.
Friends and family can (and often do) cheerfully point out that the majority of my self-improvement projects quickly torpedo into blog posts that chronicle my lack of success over the years to be the “best me I can be.”
Recently, I attended a workshop about “finding your inner Ghandi” or some zen-like thing and they had us write down our personal improvement challenges, in an effort to uncover the reasons we might be resistant to positive change. We were instructed to list our top dozen, and were given 30 minutes. I was done in 10. (I’m nothing if not self-aware.)
My Top 12 Self-Improvement Fails:
1. Eat more vegetables. “More” is misleading. It suggests I eat any. Never have. Never will. I hate all things green. For years, mom would bargain, “If you eat your broccoli, you can have a cookie.” What I heard was, “If you eat that nasty leafy thing, I’ll give you something wonderful.” After I moved out at 18, I said “Screw that. I’m going straight for the cookie.”
2. Work out daily. I’d love to. Workouts make me feel good. All those endorphins humming through your body. But I get up at 4 a.m. during the week, to write before work from 8 ’til 5, then write in the evenings and on weekends. Precious downtime is spent with Hubs over the bbq, friends around the table, and the wine poured. Fitness fanatics love to sniff, “We all have 24 hours in a day. It must not be a priority for you.” You’re right. Toned thighs are less important to me than family, friends, writing, or the job that pays my bills. I promise not to wear a bikini.
3. Say only nice things about other people. I try with this one. Really, I do. But the world is just too full of idiots to resist. We’ve got Boo Boo’s and Kardashians on the national news, mega-rich divorcing celebrities fighting over the family dog but shipping their kids off to boarding school, stupid criminals who stop to take showers at the home they just burgled, teenage pop stars with million-dollar homes and Serenity Lane on speed dial, superstar athletes who attempt to board planes with loaded weapons in their carry-ons, and on it goes. Some days you just want to shout, “WTF is WRONG with you people??” They say God isn’t dead…Just disappointed. Amen.
4. Save money every month. One of my favorite eCards says “I don’t want to spend money. But I want to buy stuff.” ‘Nuf said.
5. Take more care with my weekend appearance. Hubs has remarked (more than once…ouch) that I leave for work every morning looking all “done and fabulous,” but when I’m home with him, he gets yoga pants, Walmart t-shirts, and no make-up. Valid point. But all he has to do every morning is brush his teeth, rub wet fingers through his hair, slip on jeans and a t-shirt, and he’s out the door. Weekends are my break from the two-hour process of getting “done and fabulous.” I just tell him that at 58, five days on/two days off is a gift. You’re welcome.
6. Stop swearing. Yes, I know I should stop cursing. It’s not feminine and it can be offensive (although not to anyone in my social tribe. Apparently we were all raised by truck stop waitresses and drunk sailors). But sometimes an emotion just can’t be expressed any other way. A prim “I’m so pleased” just doesn’t resonate like a big smile and an “I’m all giddy and shit.” I’ll work on it.
7. Accept the things I cannot change. This is a tough one for Type A, controlling personalities. We tend to think that if you try hard enough, for long enough, you can fix anything. This may be true if you’re talking about a bicycle. But when you’re talking about a human, you might as well be trying to teach a fish to sprint. We can’t “fix” anyone else. We either love them or we don’t, exactly the way they are.
8. Face my fears. By 50+, they’re called “instincts.” I instinctively know that my avoidance of skydiving and bungee jumping is probably healthy and that not going downstairs when I hear a loud thud or a crash in the kitchen at 2 a.m. to “see what it is” is not necessarily the wrong decision.
9. Spend less time on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, and more time in the real world. I want to. Really, I do. But all my cool friends live in Facebook-land, so I go and hang out with them whenever I can. God, I’m pathetic.
10. Learn moderation. Not. Gonna. Happen. I’m just not a moderation kind of woman. Moderation is for wussies with no passion for what they’re doing. I never want a headstone that says, “Here Lies Vikki. She Lived Her Life in Moderation. She Was Also the Most Boring Person on the Planet.” I’ve instructed Hubs to inscribe, “Here Lies Vikki. She Was Crazy, But Damn, She Was FUN.”
11. Be less judgmental about myself. Be kinder, less critical to me. I’m learning that with most things in life, it’s okay to fail. It’s only not okay to quit trying. I wrote a post a few weeks ago about self-talk (Today, I Fired my BFF). I’m a work in progress on this one.
12. Quit drinking. A friend who’s lived through every detail of my diet struggles over the years suggested that if I quit drinking wine, I’d cut out a buttload (pun intended) of empty calories and probably knock off those last 10 pounds I’ve been fighting since 1982. I pondered this for a moment, and I could only respond “BAHAHAHAHA!!!”
My beloved Cabernet understands me.