1/9/10

Doomed Personal Initiative 2010

It's a freeing thing, this skipping out of New Year's resolutions.

The word "resolution" always sounds so serious and onerous. Also: DOOMED.

I don't need MORE things I'm supposed to do, more things on a list to look at and think: Riiiiigggghhhhtttttt, there's THAT I could do or there's ......Jersey Shore on the DVR.

(Oh yes. There is.)

"Resolutions" are for other people.

For me, it's more like: "Yearly Attempts at The Same Impossible Things" or "Annual Doomed Personal Initiatives".

I really love hearing what other people resolve to do. Really. I beam and cluck when reading about people's new, complicated eating plans or training for triathlons or enrolling in scary academic courses.

And then I contemplate taking a nap.

Whoever came up with the insane idea of attempting to do new, difficult personal improvement projects in January? It's dark. It's cold. It's time to make like a bear and HIBERNATE. It's time to sip hot tea and read books and lose brain cells watching reality TV.

But then there's Erin's Quiet Project, where she chose "Quiet" as a word to focus on last year. As Doomed Personal Initiatives go, this one, with its simplicity and lack of measurable outcomes, seems like a good fit for me. I thought long and hard about just stealing her last year's word for my own focus this year, because I sure could use a good hit from the Quiet Stick.

But the more I thought about it, the more another word kept popping up.

SLOW.

For all the above blathering about wanting to sip tea and stay still, I am rarely still. I am rarely slow or measured or calm. I am often doing many things at once, most of them poorly. I've always walked fast, leaving annoyed friends behind or forcing them to run to keep up. I cook fast, leaving tornado-like flotsam around the kitchen that is terrifying to see, exhausting to clean up. I've always inhaled my food with barely a chew, a habit that has not been improved by the chaotic mealtimes of motherhood.

The act of slowing down is often painful to me, as if it runs counter to every part of my being. The slowest dance piece I ever performed nearly made me crazy with it's monotony and lack of momentum. Meditation is torturous. The Sisyphean act of helping my daughter put on the necessary layers for outdoor excursions drives me completely batty.

But, clearly, I crave slowness, stillness, calm. I find the rare moments I can slow myself down to be the most present and pleasant parts of my day.

Slow is about lower expectations for what I can accomplish in a day. Slow is about giving us all more time to do just about everything. Slow is about being present and receptive to what is. Slow is about less.

So: SLOW.

Here I go.

5 comments:

Sam said...

Awesome idea! I too avoid the dreaded New Year's Resolution.

Sarah said...

We could ALL use more slow. It's kind of related to another word I've been hearing people resolve for this year: HERE. As in, actually BE here, whatever you're doing, instead of having your mind run in a million different directions because the act you're doing is too simple and tedious and SLOW and you must have something else going on simultaneously to avoid boredom. I do this almost constantly- read or do computer stuff WHILE eating WHILE trying to play dominoes with Adelay.
I think moms are so used to multitasking that even when we have a chance to be SLOW and just be HERE, in one single thing, it feels strange and unfamiliar and not enough.

Marie Green said...

Slow is a great word! I could definitely stop rushing the kids all the time, that's for sure. And my voice when I do so... it's so crabby and mean sounding!

Eleanor Q. said...

I really like the idea of focusing on one word for the year. I think it will be an interesting year to see all the places slow can seep in to your life.

Good Enough Mom said...

I love this post. Check out my husbands mini-blog: www.aspiringtaoist.wordpress.com
you might like it
(remember--this is the same husband who does pilates--and he claims it's not just for the sexy woman on the video...)

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