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the new year…

…is, so far, only marginally better than the old. But that “marginally” is enough to make me think that — one bit at a time — I’ll eventually see the light. It isn’t happening now, but I no longer want to stick my head in the oven because I have a slight bit of hope.

A couple of women in the blogosphere have sent me donations. One of the hip mamas is taking me out to lunch this Wednesday. Another hip mama directed me to a support group for jobless folks at her church. I spent a few days with Rebel, who finally came back from Connecticut, including going to Navy Pier (for free, because I have a friend who gave me wristbands) and getting a kids’ movie from Blockbuster for only 99 cents. My sponsor has given me some instruction on what to do differently in the short-term. I went to my neighborhood food pantry today, and the volunteers there were extremely kind and friendly, releasing me of the fears that I’d be chastised. These little things added up to just enough to begin the tide’s turn.

I know a lot of people are making new year’s resolutions. I’m not yet one of them, because I suppose it takes me a little more time than other people to come up with a plan for the year. I do know what’s on the immediate list (by the end of February):

  • Read If the Buddha Got Stuck (which I’ve had for some time, but I guess I never felt “stuck” enough until now)
  • Go on a spiritual retreat. There are a few monasteraries within a quick drive or train ride, and many of them offer laughably low rates. I’m aiming to do the work described in Joan Anderson’s A Weekend to Change Your Life…again, which I’ve had for years but never had the courage to go through.
  • Program-wise: Attend at least 6 meetings a week; meditate/pray daily; talk to my sponsor every other day; and meet with my sponsor once a week.
  • Clean out my closets and storage space, as well as my bookshelves, cabinets, and tables. I have too much “stuff” — and I think know that it impacts my state of mind, being overwhelmed by my own possessions.
  • Get back into the habit of writing a daily summary every night before I go to bed — noting my accomplishments, reasons to be grateful, things I could have done better, and things I need to make amends for. It only takes five minutes, but it keeps me centered spiritually.
  • Write for at least an hour every day. Even if it’s lists or bullet points or jibberish…the writing needs to be done. I have an article coming up in the local iteration of a national magazine chain this month, and with any luck it will boost my website (which will, no doubt, feature much of the days’ one-hour commitments), which is getting a mention.
  • Do something fun once a week with my children. Too often, the time I spend with them consists of me reading or watching TV on DVD while they play their video games. That isn’t what I want my children to remember of their childhood, so we’re getting out of the house from now on. They won’t like it now, but they will appreciate it later.
  • (Maybe) Jump back into the world of online dating. Now, this will probably wait until I have a job, because (a) the cost of online dating isn’t a luxury I can currently afford, and (b) I know *I* wouldn’t want to date someone without a job, so why would they want to date me? But should my website take off (the chances of which are extremely good), then that will be different. Really, it has to be better than the last time I dated online…although that is both what introduced me to The Narcissist (bad) and sobriety (good, so far).

I think that’s enough for the next two months, and — even more — I think it’s all attainable without killing myself and making me feel even more down. We’ll see if it helps.

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