Happy Gregorian New Year!


Many people I’ve talked to in and out of the blogosphere are telling me they are so glad to see 2011 come to an end. Apparently 2010 was a dreadful year, but 2011 wasn’t a whole lot better.

How they feel about 2012 is a mixed bag.

Personally, 2011 started poorly, but had a couple of great moments mid year, and then finished incredibly well. Work gave me an incredible amount of negative stress through August, but then we made a crucial (and expensive) change that lifted most of that stress right out of my life.

  • John and I spent a really fun vacation week in Ashland with friends in the late summer — that was a lot of fun, we also did a lot of traveling together — he for work and me for pleasure. We saw and stayed in places we wouldn’t otherwise go to, and that was great.
  • Last year we’d made a promise to become more social with our friends and to expand our circle at least a little. Through our Sunday Suppers and gaming and general social events, I think we’ve succeeded. This was something that was very important to us, and has been a positive all around.
  • We acquired two cats. I had no idea how much I’d missed cat energy until we brought Kit and Roland into our lives. They have been a source of joy (and the occasional frustration) for us both, and I think even Sasha is beginning to find a way to play with them. :-)
  • Personally, while I remain frustrated with my weight and shape, I made a major change and got myself exercising regularly again. 2012 will see me adding yoga into the mix, and perhaps another Pilates class. This effort is making my body stronger and healthier, and that is truly the goal. The rest is societal junk.
  • Of course, the high point of the year was deciding to get married and the planning we’ve done towards making the event feel as much like ‘us’ as we can.

Looking Forward

There’s been quite a bit of hype about how the Mayan calendar is predicting the end of the world in 2012 (December 12th, to be specific). To which I say: nonsense. They were carving their calendars into stone and they picked a dramatic ending point (it’s an astronomical configuration of many planets in alignment, I believe; an alignment that frequently happens at that point in the year) where they ran out of room. If the Conquistadors hadn’t shown up and destroyed the culture they would have carved more calendars.

Calendars exist for keeping track of the passage of time, not for predicting the future. The Mayan astronomers were clever, and they developed a very complex calendar. Ancient calendars are interesting to historians, but of course they cannot match the ability we have today to keep track of time, or the precision of the calendars currently in use. The main point, however, is that calendars, whether contemporary or ancient, cannot predict the future of our planet or warn of things to happen on a specific date such as 2012.

I note that my desk calendar ends much sooner, on December 31, 2009, but I do not interpret this as a prediction of Armageddon. It is just the beginning of a new year.

~Dr. David Morrison, Director of NASA Lunar Science Institute and Senior Scientist in the NASA Astrobiology Institute. From: http://www.skeptic.com/reading_room/2012-and-counting/?gclid=CLKkjqmhr60CFRRZhwodzEaKTw

(I just love that last line.)

The Power to Change

The best thing about a new year is is that it encapsulates the power of change. We all know this — that’s why so many resolutions are made. But most of us take it too far, want it too fast, or make the resolutions from an ill-considered place.

Take weight loss, for example. Many of us (me included) want to lose weight. But according to Health At Every Size (which I am nigh unto evangelical about — if you haven’t read it, read it. NOW.) the weight you are at is NOT causing you harm. I fact, there is a lot of evidence that thin people are unhealthier than fat ones. Yes, I know this is counter-intuitive, and the author and I agree that this is not a license to gorge on donuts and ice cream. It is, however, a reason to relax and get rid of all of the ‘shoulds’ and ‘should nots’ you have running in your head.

When I was working on the phones at Samaritans of NYC (an all-volunteer suicide hotline), one of the things we were trained in was to avoid saying ‘should’ (generally, in the context of “you should do this”). Saying “should” is proffering advice. It is telling another person they are wrong and you are right/ have the answer. Should is the language of guilt. When you say ‘should’ to yourself, you are trying to shame yourself into doing something you don’t want to do. “I should eat more fruit.” On the face of it, that is a perfectly fine statement, but if you wanted to eat more fruit, you would! 

We learn ‘should’ from society, and society is trying to sell us something.

I’ve said this before:  I am healthier now — even being ‘overweight’ by ~80 pounds with an ‘obese’ BMI level — than I was in my 20’s when I was a slim and fit 145lbs, biking ~10 miles/day.

My Resolutions

  • In 2012 I will be consistent in my exercise.
  • I will do things that feel good, and I will try things to see what I like to do.
  • I will continue to eat well, minimizing processed foods and keeping a high level of organic foods in my home.
  • I will cook more often, and encourage J to cook more often as well.
  • I will enjoy how healthy I feel, and pay close attention to those things that make me feel unhealthy — eliminating them from my life whenever possible.

There is always room for change, and time for it to happen. The more deeply the change needs to occur, the slower it will happen. Give yourself a break and let it happen, ignore anything negative from the outside world; accept only the positive motivators.

Finally, and I say this with utter sincerity: You are a Beautiful Amazing Glorious Person, just as you are.

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