Wednesday, January 8, 2014

I Resolve... (A Little Blog About Starting Off The New Year)

It's that time of year again. Time to make a whole heap of unattainable promises to ourselves that we have great intention of achieving...for about three weeks.
It's a new year, right? We should all be stoked. For starters, we're all still breathing, and most of us are in one piece, so things could certainly be worse, couldn't they?
The majority of people who make resolutions break them. I actually felt like an overachiever last year, because on December 31st, I decided to give up Diet Pepsi. And I made it longer than most people would with a typical resolution...I made it until August of 2013 with not a drop of Diet Pepsi to my lips. You would think that if I had gone that long, that I was obviously cured of my love for the twisted, weird, carbonated substance. But after moving to Alaska, and going through a horrible emotional struggle of whether or not I made the right decision to do so for a job/steady income--I caved. I figured it was healthier, and cheaper than Prozac. So I'm back on the sauce.
Why is it that so many resolutions fail? And what is this January 1st thing that makes us all of the sudden become superheroes over our former selves--at least for a few weeks...leading up to us feeling like crappy human failures again?
As I tripped over the gym equipment at the huge grocery/everything store entrance up here in Wasilla, Alaska, this week, I realized that the new year would never change the way we operate. The shelves by the checkstand that were packed with Hershey's Kisses, and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups two weeks ago, were now loaded with gluten free crackers, workout DVDs, and fat free popcorn products. Are we suckers, or what?
Some of you are probably like, "Uh, Whitney, at least some of us are trying to become better at things, and not giving up on resolutions altogether."
I totally get that, and this blog is not to dog on your lofty goals of suddenly thinking that you are going to be in the next Olympiad due to your 2 hours per day at CrossFit, and since the Winter Games at Sochi are on the horizon, and if you give up Cheetos, you could be there in 2018. But it is just to evaluate where we get some of these ideas, and to possibly inspire some change that
First of all, I am not perfect, and I am keenly aware of that. Mostly because I am a perfectionist, and I piss myself off on a regular basis for falling short of perfection. I am probably my worst critic, but some of you can probably understand, and even relate to that. I am very Type A, and I like things the way I like them (very organized, and methodical), and if anyone deviates from that, they probably catch a glare or two from me, because God forbid there be two ways to do something properly in this world. I am aware of my own shortcomings, and kind of find them funny. Usually after I spend way too much time getting pissed off about them, and implement the use of my hindsight--since it's 20/20.
But now that I've rambled on, this blog is actually not about me--it's about you. Where are you at right now? Are you someone that has those "lofty goals" for the new year, or did you just forget it altogether? Or did you just fall victim to the "learned helplessness" of life, or take on a severe amount of apathy because, after many failed attempts in previous years at resolving to make things better and failing, you've forgotten how to "pick yourself up by the bootstraps", dust yourself off, and figure if you ignore the new year, it will just go away???
How about a happy medium?
Life is one of those things that has some highs, and an exorbitant amount of lows to counteract them. It makes you count your blessings. It has been this way since the beginning of time. I'm pretty sure the first time a caveman got eaten by a gorilla, or got his butt kicked by a mammoth back in the day, did not classify that as his "best moment" in this life. Nobody knows what life has to dish out, so it's up to each person to figure out how they are going to manipulate their perception of it, and turn it into something that doesn't become super dreadful for 0-118 years (not sure how old the oldest person on earth is, but 118 is pretty dang old).
So what do you "resolve" this year?
I know I ride all of you to keep up on your health. I can't help it. As a nurse who used to work on the cardiac unit, with a bunch of 40-90 somethings who had horrible issues with their hearts, lungs and kidneys due to overeating, smoking, and multiple other things, I do encourage you to make a workout, and eating right part of your daily routine. The old saying is that, "If you don't have your health, you don't have anything." However, let's just look at "quality of life" for a moment, and realize that if you can play with your kids, run a race, have a good workout at the gym without feeling like dying--you're in pretty good shape! TV is overrated. The crap on the grocery store shelves is...well..CRAP. Time to embrace YOU, and not "SETTLE" for what our society has deemed "normal". Obesity is not normal, and you only have one of each body part to keep you running properly. Choose to keep it healthy--not because it's a new year, but because you just know that that's all you've got!
Make your goals SIMPLE (because small changes are HUGE)...
Although opposed to "typical resolutions", I did make some this year...and here they are:
1): I resolve to be a better nurse. Not because I am a "bad" nurse, or an "incompetent nurse", but because I do have shortcomings in my profession. I am super bad with peoples' names. Not intentionally, but after a lot of soul searching, I've realized that, when people tell me their names, I simply don't care that that is attached to their identity. I call them, "Honey", and "Sweetie", and "Girl", or "Hon". Time to start addressing the people I take care of in a proper fashion. I am helping them bring their family into the world as a labor and delivery nurse. At the very least, I can use their real names.
2.) I resolve to address confrontation in a "softer" manner. I am a very, "This is how it is, and no matter how tough the pill is to swallow, I'm going to shove it down your throat to beat you into a better person" type of gal in my personal life. I don't have a lot of filters, and I'm finding that my delivery with some things, to the people who matter most to me, lacks a great deal, and is compromising my relationships (because naturally, I know everything--right? *WRONG*).
That's it.
Sounds simple, but who knows....
I wish you all a very happy New Year. The one thing that I do love about the new year is the concept of "starting fresh". We cut off so many things from our lives for self preservation, and I think the new year helps us face some of those things that we have "tucked away neatly" so that we can forget about them.
This life is a lesson. It is a daily choice you have to make to want to be better than where you are at right now. With that being said, isn't it time to kick a little butt and take some names? Some things are out of our control in this life. However, we are driving the boat on more than we probably give ourselves credit for. 
Make this year a good one, people. Realize that you have a lot of dictation in the final outcome of things.
Life is pretty short.
Life is also pretty long, and too long to be stagnant. Don't live with constant regret, and remorse.
Resolve to do it better than you have done before right now--not just today, but every single day.