On December 31st, I took off my problems and hung them over the back of the chair like a pair of jeans. And on January 1st, I woke up in the morning and put back on my problems, because, hey, they looked sort of clean. Because that’s the thing with artificial, man-made starting points like a certain date on the calendar: nothing is really different the next day. You’re the same and your situation is the same. Just with a different year tacked on the end of the date.
But it feels different.
The start of all my problems — the snake’s mouth, so to speak — are all back in 2014. And now I am dealing with either the snake’s body or the snake’s tail. And that is a powerful thing, no? I mean, by now I’m accustomed to the dangers of the snake, and at least I don’t have to worry about a snake bite. Sure, the body may crush me or the tail could slap me, but there is something so much scarier about the snake’s face lunging at you, or even the snake simply approaching.
(Apologies to all herpetophiles for this analogy.)
Problems also seem scarier when you can see them coming at you, or when you’re grappling with them in the beginning. At this point, 2015 could contain solutions whereas I know that 2014 contained situations I didn’t want to be in.
So… yeah… nothing is really different. But it feels different. So I’m going with that.
At this point last year, my back went out. Like went out to the point where I couldn’t move, couldn’t work, couldn’t think because of the pain. Since then, I’ve done yoga most mornings to stave off that ever happening again.
Of course, I ended up taking a break over winter vacation. I slept in, and then there wasn’t time for yoga. Or the kids were now awake and there wasn’t a quiet space for yoga. I could always come up with a reason why I had to skip my yoga session.
I let myself eat thoughtlessly. That’s the best way to describe it. I ate without thinking about what I was eating or how much I was eating.
I kept thinking, January 1st. On January 1st, I’ll restart all my good habits and get rid of these bad ones. But the kids were off until the 5th, so… the bad habits continued with the excuse that I would restart things once we were back to a normal routine. But then it was Monday and Monday was going to be so hard, emotionally, so I gave myself a pass. And then Tuesday was a snow day, and I couldn’t be expected to start all of these good intentions on a snow day.
On Wednesday morning, I woke up early to do yoga. I hauled my ass out of bed even though I was miserable and tired. I saw that we had a two hour delay after I got dressed in my yoga clothes and came downstairs to start, and I had a moment where I considered crawling back into bed and stating emphatically that tomorrow would be my starting point. I promise.
And then I realized that if was going to keep setting these unnatural starting points, penciling in when I was going to do the right thing, I was never going to get started. It was like I was waiting for a divine invitation to stop treating myself like crap. But I am the only person who can send myself that invitation, and let’s face it, invitations like that are a waste of postage. So I saved the stamp and forced myself to get started immediately.
So I’m back to treating myself well. Yoga in the morning. Tracking my nutritional intake. Eschewing refined sugar and processed foods. No snacking after dinner. Sleep at a reasonable hour.
I’m trying not to look at it as a punishment but rather a decision to treat myself kindly. I expect other people to treat me well, but that idea should probably start with me considering I have to live with myself all the time.
It took me until 40 to realize that if I constantly said that I’d do something tomorrow or next week or next month that it wasn’t going to happen at all. If I’m looking for the right time to start something new or instigate a change, pretending that life is just one big game of double dutch that I have to time just right, I am going to constantly be in waiting.
Because, you know, there was no reason why I needed to wait until January 1st to feel as if we were closer to solutions than to the start of our problems. I could have started feeling better back in December if I had made that my choice rather than having the date dictated to me by a paper wall calendar.
I don’t like being in waiting. Waiting is an uncomfortable place, especially when you don’t know when the waiting will end. So it makes no sense whenever I hold myself back there.
So no more waiting.