Merry Marathon to Year's End of 2011

I can't say the entire year of 2011 has been bad, but I've had challenges to face towards the end of the year.  The holidays were somewhat of a blur with having a virus after Thanksgiving (I think projectile vomiting would make a great theft detractor if you worked it right), trying to squeeze in as many meetings, conference calls, and errands within waking hours, and I liked the time off from work and loved the food throughout. Yet I lost momentum towards the end.

I felt overwhelmed with the receiving of gifts.  I am a firm believer that it's the thought that counts, but I've grown tired of receiving certain gifts from well-meaning co-workers who are clueless as to what I like or do (or don't do).  For example, I received two holiday ornaments for a tree that has not existed in my house in about twenty years.  Decorations require storage and time/energy to put them up and take them down.  It's a redundancy I no longer need in my life.  I have sensitive skin and everything I use is hypo-allergenic and unscented.  Hence the perfume and cute liquid soaps and body splashes won't be used.  And I've never had my ears pierced ever.  This should be confirmed by the fact I never wear ear decorations -- ear clips, studs, clip-ons,  but this goes unobserved.  I exercise the right to remain silent, smile, and realize I'll make someone in a thrift shop very happy.

The Christmas card paradox has been solved -- you send to me, I'll send to you.  If your card is late, yours will be as well.  If you don't send one to me throughout a full Christmas season, you are off my card list forever.  Hate to be cut-throat, but cards and time are money.

As I sit here and reflect upon the idea of New Year's resolutions, while my neighborhood sounds like a military invasion, I realize I've only had one:  get all Christmas chores done and paid for before Thanksgiving.  I've lost my fervor for doing this since I found it caused more stress to get a lot done within a short amount of time.  Plus, the paying off really didn't help since I get the trifecta of bills prior to Christmas:  parish tax, city tax, and my car insurance bill.  No sooner I pay off Santa, the "man" is waiting in the shadows.  Can't win.

The standard resolution fodder doesn't apply to me.  I'm always trying to lose weight and I'm three pounds from my goal weight being worked on since August.  Took a detour for the holidays, but I'm back on track.  So my gym membership is always in use.  It's a pain with the gym newbies in early January, but they always stop attending by the first carnival parade.  I don't smoke, drink, and try to save money when I can by only buying things I need and eating at home more instead of going out.

I could try to personalize my resolutions to stop unwanted behavior, such as not worrying so much, which would mean I'd have to be in a coma for the rest of my existence.  Or trick myself into doing something I don't do and prefer not to do by making it a resolution, such as do the "big" clean of the entire house.  Oh that gets kicked to the curb immediately and frequently (gee, dust all the books in the bookshelf or watch my DVR listing...hmmmm).

Okay, I'll resolve to work on the following during 2012:

Go to the WYES Chocolate Sunday event -- it's one of those things I've wanted to do and talk myself out of every year because it would means spending money and eating fattening treats.  This year I will attend,  leave the calorie counting on the front porch until I return home, and tell my inner life coach to shut its pie hole for a day.

Actually spend the money I received for Christmas -- I have this habit of putting gift money in my savings with the idea I'll spend it later.  And I never do.  I've worn black pants until they have turned gray.  Padding in my dress shoes is thin and patchy.  I realized today it's been six years since I've bought a pair of jeans.  Seriously.  So I will get thee to an outlet mall and update my wardrobe.

Create a kick-ass costume for the Mad Hatter luncheon -- I have the technology and the creative prowess to pull something off.  It may cost extra money, but I've gotten away with cheap for the two years I've attended.  Time to do something out of the box. 

Read more -- this is always a fight for me since I have a stack of books and newspapers I never get to because I work three jobs and time tends to be scarce.  But, I have a car with a CD player so I could listen to books like I used to.  And I can find snipets of time to do it.

Write more -- oh my journal needs serious updating and I've been assignment driven for so long.  And as you can see from the timing of my last blog entry, I haven't kept up with that very well.  Writing skill is a muscle that will grow weak without frequent use.  No atrophy here.  I'll find a way to make it work.

Visit the Quarter more often -- I don't chastise myself for not going when I was busy every weekend with school or work.  Nor do I miss going now at the height of the holidays and bowl game season.  I would be out of my mind to go down there with the crowds and lack of parking.  But between now and carnival season, I could go and make a day of it with a leisurely stroll and visit my old haunts.  Parking fees aren't bad and I'll have some free time before next semester.

Find my happy place -- okay, that sounds weird to me as I type it out, but it's true.  This year I've felt like a machine with completing tasks and getting others done like they were on a never-ending assembly line.  I didn't call friends like I should have or made time for visits.  I haven't gone to a movie in years.  I only went one day to Jazz Fest this year.  I attended a few charity events, but I've made little time for myself to do things that won't make me money, skinny, or productive.  I need to make more time for pampering, chilling, and withdrawing into myself for inner balance.

I think I have enough to keep me busy for 2012.  I've noticed a few folks have wished 2011 to be over because it was "a bad year" for them.  Just remember, we can't control the cards we're dealt -- we can only play them the best we can.  Don't say you can't handle one more bad thing because one more will come and then what?  Cut the negative people out of your life who insist on holding you back or keeping you down.  Focus on what is working positive in your life at that moment.  Bad will come back, but you'll be stronger to face it.

I hope you all have a safe, happy, and hopeful 2012.  And let's see how accurate Mayan predictions truly are!

Annnd, it's midnight and explosions have commenced.  Happy New Year!

Travel light,