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NEW YEAR

Cindy Maddera

Monday morning, I set in on the far side of the kitchen and started cleaning. I pulled out drawers. I threw away packets of soy sauce from 2013. I removed items that we no longer use (anyone want a programable rice cooker?). I wiped down every surface with disinfecting cleaner. When the kitchen was done, I moved on to the rest of the house, moving from room to room armed with a dust rag and a trash can. When I finished with the house, I moved on to myself. I coated my face with a charcoal mask, took a steamy shower and shaved my legs. Then I rubbed coconut oil all over my body because my skin is so dry that I am turning to dust. I’m like the ending of Avengers: Infinity War. Michael and I rang in the New Year watching Bird Box while working on a puzzle. I was in bed by 12:10.

Tuesday morning, I got Michael up and dragged him to a yoga class that my friend Kelly was teaching for New Year’s Day. Kelly gave us some intentions for the new year and I wish I’d written them down. Dr. Mary was there and she hugged me tight and told me I looked rested. Then Michael and I walked across the street so I could take my final picture of my Flickr 365 Day project. It was 18 degrees with snow flurries and I did not smile. Even though our New Year’s traditional Indian food place was just a few blocks down the street, we drove to the restaurant. It was closed. So Michael took the most convoluted way to the Indian place in Westport where we struggled to find a parking place. There was a woman sitting in her car and we pulled up next to her. I asked if she was leaving. She rolled her eyes at me and said “One minute.” But we got her parking space. We ate too much Indian food and then walked it off at the local health food store before driving over to pick up the Cabbage. Then Michael and I finished our puzzle and I went to bed.

I am entering 2019 seriously unmotivated.

The psychologist and author of the Willpower Instinct, Kelly McGonigal said in a New York Times article about crushing your habits that you should focus on changes that would make you the happiest and pick a theme for the year. Most often we tend to make resolutions about our health based on things that we’ve heard would be good for us. Running. Meditation. Eating a daily kale salad. It does me no good to make a resolution to run a marathon in 2019 if I hate running, but eating a daily kale salad is reasonable because I do love kale. I understand the brain science of creating reasonable resolutions. It is the focus on changes that would make me happy part that I am having a hard time with. I have yet to spend any time reflecting about what I want for myself this year let alone reflecting on changes that would make me happy. I don’t know what changes would make me happy. Skipping January, February and even parts of March would make me happy, but that doesn’t ever seem to be an option. Maybe skipping those months wouldn’t necessarily make me happy as much as it would make it easier for me to reflect on things that would make me happy.

I can say that yesterday afternoon, when Michael and I were finishing up our puzzle, that I was pretty content and at peace. We moved the puzzle to the kitchen table to have more space to work. Then we sat in the dining room, with Andrew Bird playing on Alexa, piecing together the Periodic Table. It was nice to be sitting at the table doing an activity other than watching TV. I feel like a change that would make me happier would be to step away from the TV. I read in the evenings, but I’m usually sitting on my end of the couch with Michael on the other end and the TV playing some stupid crime show. I’m going to get up and leave the TV area. Maybe to read; maybe to do some writing; maybe to work on another puzzle. I don’t know, but the TV is not bringing me joy or good health. Another thing that I know for sure is that I am happiest when I am on my mat. I have myself booked up with yoga workshops through March and I’m eyeing a women’s yoga retreat in April. I might even buy a membership to a studio for the summer.

One of the intentions for the New Year that Kelly gave us in class yesterday was to get rid of all the bullshit. I recently was made aware that I put in a lot more thought than some into my actions towards things and people around me. I put a lot of effort into making someone else’s life easier, while making my life harder and it’s really kind of exhausting. Especially when it’s one sided. It’s bullshit. So, I think I’ll dump it and do more to make my life easier. Take more initiatives for myself instead of waiting for someone else to take the initiative. Do a better job of tuning out the grumbles and whines. I don’t understand why it is so hard for some women to put themselves first, but I am one of those women who has a hard time doing just that.

That’s some bullshit I can do without.