I do not like New Years. I don’t mind it changing from one year to another but I’m just not in to how it’s celebrated. It’s not my thing. I don’t totally get it, because time and dates are really kind of arbitrary, it seems to me like its some kind of Christmas after party if you weren’t satisfied with Christmas festivities. Whatever. I don’t do staying up late, that’s not my thing. And all the drunk people? Annoying. But the thing I hate most of all is resolutions.
That being said, I’m sort of making a few this year. Normally I make one ironic resolution every year, it’s always the same (to stop using the word like inappropriately), and it’s highly unlikely to ever happen. But it just so happens that this year I’ve become aware of some goals I need to set for myself to increase my health and happiness, it’s just a coincidence that my discovering these needs happens to coincide with the new year.
To be more physically active
After the embryo transfer I was instructed to take it easy and not work out too much. In my heart I felt that was maybe a extreme medical position and that a little exercise wouldn’t hurt, but I followed the doctors advice anyway because God forbid I was wrong. I’ve now been cleared to exercise again and I’m terribly out of the habit. This is a dangerous thing for me because I tend to have self image problems while pregnant. I don’t feel very good about my body most days, and I know that puts me at risk for depression. I think a little fun and empowering exercise is just what I need to counteract that. I tend to feel better about my body when I’m using it to accomplish cool, fun, and challenging tasks. When I was pregnant with Freja, I biked the whole 41 (almost 42) weeks and felt pretty awesome about myself. This pregnancy I might bike some, but I want to try some new things to maintain and maybe even improve my strength and dexterity as well. My local rec center offers a prenatal Pilates class I think I’m going to try out, and maybe I’ll check out their class called Body Pump, which is a strength conditioning class. The baby’s mom gave me the gift of sponsoring me for the Fit Fatties Virtual Event decathlon, and I’m super excited to complete my 10 events. I’ve picked five organized events here locally I’m going to complete, and I plan on doing the other five as solo, unstructured activities. Hopefully this will get me back on track with the active lifestyle I normally enjoy.
To be more social
Apparently I’m an introvert. Not that I can’t be outgoing I just generally don’t, because it’s exhausting and I’m not terribly confident. And when I avoid social situations they just become more exhausting and overwhelming and awkward, and I start losing social skills pretty fast. And I have been avoiding a lot of social interaction lately. Not intentionally, but, I’m just so tired at the end of the day, and Facebook, that’s social interaction, right? No. (More on that later)
I’m not 100% on how I intend to get more social activity in, besides these other activities I plan on getting in. I suppose I’ll make an effort to go to more meetups? Or Green Drinks events? I have to plan this more.
Get more involved in activism
Making changes in our personal lives to live more in line with our values and hopes for the world is great, and it’s something we all should do, but let’s be honest, it can feel overwhelming and pointless at times. What difference does it make if I grow my own food and stop using wrapping paper when everyone else in the world is still having a CAFO, disposable goods, trash factory orgy every day? And then there are the issues I can’t change in my own life no matter how much I want to, like the fact that I don’t live in a bikeable community, so bike commuting even 50% of my trips is not a viable option for me (as it’s not for most people, no matter how much it might benefit them), or all of the economic and social inequality that keeps many of us from reaching enough security to try to live sustainably. It’s not that nothing can be done about these issues, it’s just that my own little personal actions aren’t going to do much hidden away in the privacy of my own home. Even with talking about them here, let’s be real, this is not a blog that gets a lot of traffic. And I sincerely doubt that anyone with the power to change city planning or economic policies is reading this and saying “Golly gee, she’s right!” If anything, they’d read it and say “Meh, one person, and it’s not like she’s out in the streets or anything.”
Well, maybe I need to be.
Activism can feel like running on a treadmill too, don’t get me wrong, but I think I would feel better about the things I’m trying to do if I utilized all my avenues for action. It’s hard to narrow down where I’d like to get involved, because there are so many issues that are near and dear to me, but to start with I’d like to get more involved with 350.org, and environmental organization that focuses on the need to reduce CO2 levels in the atmosphere from its current 400 parts per million to 350 parts per million in order to mitigate the worst impacts of climate change. Since climate change impacts the poor and people of color first and hardest, I feel that addressing this issue also is a big step for my passion for social justice. I strongly believe that goals of climate justice cannot be achieved without social justice, and I know I’m not the only one bringing this issue to the movement, but I can be another voice voice for it. I have already applied to attend a local 350 leadership training conference this month (fingers crossed my application is accepted), and from there I hope to get more involved and learn more of what it takes to make s difference through activism.
Also related to this goal is to finish reading a book my #1 blogging hero, Colin Bevan (AKA, No Impact Man) recommended to me, The Activist’s Hand Book.
Stop trying to do long term projects on this blog
I am not going to keep up with them. I’m not. And to start one and have it fall by the wayside makes me look stupid. I’ve thought long and hard about this the last few months (while you may have noticed my blog has been pretty quiet) and I don’t want to be a famous blogger that gets thousands of hits a day. Maybe one day I’ll change my mind about that, but right now I’ve got too much other way more important shit to do like finishing my damn degree, hanging out with my family, working in my garden, and all of these goals. It’s not like blogging is now or never, if I want to build this into something big later, I will. I’m still going to come here and share stuff from time to time but for right now I have bigger fish to fry that to try and network and build a blog, so expect this to stay little.
To spend less time on social media
Ah, Facebook. The website everyone loves to hate and hates to love, for various reasons. I hate Facebook because I think it’s a vector for comparison and self judgement (not to mention its a safe place to pass judgement on others without feeling bad about the hurt you are actually causing other real people) and I also think it does more to destroy community and hinder socialization and relationships than anything else. Facebook socializing is not real socializing, it does not give you the same feeling as actually hanging out with a person or people, but increasingly, Facebook interactions replace those kinds of interactions. It should not be surprising, especially for busy introverts like myself, because it’s really appealing to meet your social needs while being in your pajamas on your couch. Facebook can also swallow up a lot of time that I’d really rather use working on projects, doing homework, or even cleaning my house. I feel much better at the end of a day spent on those pursuits than reading articles about how fucked up the world is and whatever I Fucking Love Science is posting.
I also feel like Facebook tends to encourage a narrowing of of social spheres that is damaging to community as a whole. Yes, it’s great that I can get online and join a community of, say, like minded moms who home birth and breastfeed and don’t spank. It’s nice to have that safe space and that place to go to know I’m not alone in this world. But when that becomes my primary source of interaction rather than getting out in the more diverse population of my actual local community, I start losing the ability to interact with those who are not exactly the same as I am, and our communities miss out on the opportunities to learn from and grow through our diversity. If my ideas are so great, they can stand up to a little bit of challenge from those who live differently than I do. Further, if they are so great, maybe I should be putting them out there to challenge other people’s ideas, in a loving, respectful manner that can only be achieved through face to face interaction, of course.
But I don’t feel like I can eliminate Facebook all together. It is the only way I keep in touch with certain long distance friends and family, and a lot of social stuff is planned through it (and since I have a goal to be more social, completely eliminating Facebook seems counter productive). So I really want to cut back on Facebook. I think I’ll remove the app from my phone again, the harder it is to access, the less I use it.
Take more photos
I want to keep my photography skills up and improve upon them. Honestly, I think they’ve gone down hill a little since leaving the Army. And I especially want to learn self portraits.
Say nice things about myself
I shit talk myself a lot. I am highly critical of myself. Logically I know I’ve been brainwashed by a misogynistic society to think that shredding myself apart emotionally is some form of humility (it’s not) and that I’ve been trained by consumer culture to constant feel as though I am lacking so that I’ll always be primed to buy shit, but knowing that doesn’t stop the thought bullying I put myself through. I am told that making s conscious effort to say nice things about myself can actually physically change thought pathways in my brain and essentially rewire it to be less cruel to me. So, I’m going to try really hard to say nice things about myself, publicly and privately, more often. And that’s one New Years resolution I think everyone should set!
Finish my laundry
Not, like, keep up with it all year, that’s not realistic, but the pile I’ve got down there in my laundry room right now, that’s got to go. If I can eliminate that pile just once, I will be happy.
Set up Freja’s bedroom and start her sleeping in it
I do not think I will be able to handle bed sharing with a two year old in my third trimester.
That’s it. It’s a longer list than I anticipated, but I’m hoping I can cross one of these items off my list this weekend (but laundry always seems to foil me!). There will be many more projects and goals this year, I’m sure, but I don’t know what they are going to be yet!