Wednesday, April 18, 2012

April UNresolutions

Do you ever have ideas that seem really good and smart at the time, and then later you look back and go, "WHAT was I THINKING??"

I do. In fact I'd say that's my sentiment regarding most of middle school & high school. (I'd link some photos, but thankfully that was before the days of digital photography & all the evidence is probably in a shoe box at the bottom of a closet at my mom's place or something.) It happens less often now, but it does still happen. And recently it occurs to me that it happened at the beginning of this month, right before I wrote this post.

Essentially, I'd noticed a pattern where I spend the morning doing important but not urgent work or running errands, & then sometimes when the afternoon comes, I realize that I have other work or errands unfinished that have to be done that day that I've forgotten about, and then end up not running because I have to take care of it. So my resolution was to get my runs in before noon as often as possible so that I wouldn't have to worry for the rest of the day when I was going to get it in.

I've been an unmitigated failure at this. I think I ran before noon all of twice this month.

Also this month, I finally read The Happiness Project, by Gretchen Rubin. I've been reading her blog for years now, but never read the book until the lovely Jana lent it to me during Oakland Running Festival weekend. I won't blame you if you think the basic premise sounds sort of cheesy & Pollyanna-ish -- I did too, until I started reading Gretchen's blog. I've learned so much from it and highly recommend it to anyone. It really is about the deep-seated, long-term stuff.

One of the central features of Gretchen's own personal happiness project is her list of twelve commandments, the first of which is "Be Gretchen." For her, essentially, "Be Gretchen" is a reminder to accept her own nature without trying to be something or someone she's not. Now, "Be Gretchen" is not carte blanche to avoid working on her flaws and shortcomings. (We've all met people with some -serious- work to do on themselves who declare, "That's just who I am!") It's more about neutral aspects of her personality. "I love the idea of playing Chess, going to a lecture on international markets, doing crossword puzzles, getting a pedicure, eating dinner at a hot new restaurant, or having a subscription to the opera or season tickets to the Knicks," she writes in one section. "I can see exactly why other people enjoy these activities. I wish I enjoyed them. But I don't." She described how she used to push herself to try these things and do them with friends who really enjoyed them because they just seemed like things people should enjoy. But finally, she accepted that, no matter how much other people might enjoy those things, she didn't. She preferred writing, and children's literature groups, and collecting scents. She described what a relief it was to just "Be Gretchen" in her extracurriculars, instead of putting pressure on herself to do things that she felt she was "supposed" to enjoy but didn't.

So it occurred to me a few days ago, whilst flagellating myself for failing at my resolution, that this whole running-in-the-morning thing could be something like that. Yes, I could make myself run in the mornings if I absolutely had to, if that was the only time I had (and on days when it has been, I usually have). But I really, really don't like it. The very idea exhausts me before I even start. I really do prefer to run in the afternoons, either around 1 or 2 as a break from work, or 4 or 5 as a treat or chance to decompress before the evening, which I really like to protect as fun/relaxing/social time.

So why not accept that and just "Be Angela"?

As for my original problem (finding myself blindsided by urgent work/errands later in the day), I think I just need to plan better. I have a feeling that getting better at that is going to be a whole lot easier than trying to change my basic nature. Instead of just jumping into whatever I feel like doing in the morning, I need to get in the habit of reviewing what I have on tap -- what I can get done, what I should get done, and what absolutely has to get done -- and plan appropriately.

Truly. This is not rocket science. I have three degrees. I can do this.

No comments:

Post a Comment