This year, my only New Year’s Resolution was not to make any New Year’s Resolutions.
Instead, I made a commitment to take the time to find ways to be successful. Success, much like health, is a highly individualized thing. When I think of success, I think of freedom and self-confidence and accomplishments. I don’t picture any one particular end-goal or person, but rather a full package of characteristics.
I started to have an anxiety attack at around 5:00 PM yesterday. I didn’t want to be having an anxiety attack – in fact, I’ve never wanted to have an anxiety attack. In an effort to distract myself, I decided to write positive things I’ve done so far this year. Mini-success stories to a) distract myself, b) honor my commitment, and c) see what positives I could come up with when I really looked for them.
The list I made follows.
- Started blogging again.
- Looked at some potential properties.
- Tried Stitch Fix for the first time (review to follow soon!)
- Dyed/cut my hair.
- Went back to working full-time.
- Kept the kitchen clean.
- Refilled my inhaler prescription.
- Had breakfast every day.
- Paid off a loan.
- Watched some of the Winter Olympic trials.
Yesterday, when I stopped and started at this list, I started wondering what the hell I was doing with my life. Not in an existential crisis sort of way. Just in a why-do-these-things-matter kind of way. So I decided to take it a step further and write out the reasons why these seemingly small and inconsequential things do matter.
- I love to write. Love, love, love it. I’ve had a writer’s bump on my finger since I was five and now I have typist callouses on my fingertips. That said, I haven’t written anything aside from homework assignments in six months and it’s not for lack of an urge. Blogging again acknowledges the urge and reminded me that I can still be an author, even though I’m also going to be a nurse. I’ll just have other things to write!
- Now that my income will be doubling within a matter of months, my other half and I have been talking about the THREE YEAR PLAN. The plan includes saving money up for either a home or a property upon which to build one. We saw one in particular over the weekend that we both fell in love with and it renewed my desire to start saving/looking into home-buyer’s programs.
- I tried Stitch Fix on a whim, because I had the $20 to spare and wanted to do something as a just-for-me indulgence. As a submissive in a BDSM relationship, I don’t do that very often. My other half fully supported the splurge and it was fun.
- I know it’s cliche to change your hair as a sign of a new stage in life, but I did it anyway. I had eight inches cut off my hair (it’s not quite a pixie cut, but not far from it). It was scary, but I now love it and can’t really imagine growing it out in the near future. It suits me and actually makes me feel more girly than I did with the long hair that I only even wore up in a messy after-thought bun.
- Working full-time, ah, how I missed thee. I like being able to pull my own weight, financially. My other half paid most of the bills during my last six months of school, because I was only earning enough for my phone, our car insurance, and my health insurance. I also got a $1.00 raise at the end of last year, so I’m looking forward to seeing it manifest on my next checks.
- Breathing is expensive, when you aren’t born with fully functional lungs. For four years I didn’t have health insurance and was never sure how I was going to keep getting my inhalers – I relied on charity sometimes, sometimes on generic nebulizer treatments, sometimes on ER visits. Having health insurance is still something that I’m bemused by, because it turns a $230 a month thing into a $30 a month thing.
- Keeping the kitchen clean may seem insignificant to some. For me, it’s a sign that I’m moving beyond my upbringing. I grew up with a month’s worth of dishes sitting in a sink at any given moment. Keeping my own dishes washed has been a challenge for me and making a concentrated effort to do them makes me feel more like a well-adjusted and functional adult.
- Having struggled on and off with anorexia, eating breakfast every day for ten days is also a huge accomplishment. Breakfast is the most easy meal for me to brush off, still, becauseit’s the only one I don’t eat with someone else during the week. Lunch is eaten with my co-workers, dinner with my other half. Breakfast is all on me.
- The loan was only $60 that I borrowed from a friend when we went Christmas shopping and I thought I forgot my wallet – I didn’t, it was just buried in my backpack. She had already forgotten about it when I stopped by her work to drop it off, but it’s nice not to owe money.
- I had to really stop and wonder why I included watching some of the winter Olympics as an accomplishment. I came up with two reasons. The first is that my other half knows one of the women who competed in the speed-skating events. She’s from our home town and a good friend of his. It was cool to see her out there, living her own success story. The second reason is that I’ve always enjoyed the winter Olympics, but haven’t always had the time to watch them.
I’m glad, in a way, that I had the anxiety attack. It also gave me a chance to write a mini success story. I didn’t have to leave work early due to it. I stayed the full day and then came home to eat dinner, have some playtime with my other half, and fall asleep watching Food Network. Because of the anxiety attack – or my response to it – I was able to include a little mental-health exercise in my day. I do, sometimes, have existential crisis moments and looking for purpose is something that’s always been a big deal to me. Bringing my focus small enough to see that something as simple as eating breakfast can have meaning as a personal level actually gave me some breathing room.
That said . . . it’s time to go do the dishes and eat breakfast, before work!
This morning, Annie’s Frosted Flakes are on the menu.
Also! I’m curious . . . what mini success stories have you created, this year?