Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Positively Un-Boring: 07/70

I declared last year that 2006 was going to be my year of "no joy." I was supposed to reel it all in and be More Responsible.

My thought was that, you know, it's kind of cute how I spent my late 20s as most people spend their college years, but maybe I should perhaps behave a little more like a thirtysomething.

11 months later, the Friday after Thanksgiving in fact, I woke up with a raging hangover (love you, urban family!) and stumbled into my kitchen. I trudged to my fridge, hoping against hope that I'd find something, anything, in it that could qualify as "nourishing." Instead I found 16-month-old salad dressing, expired milk, 3 sticks of butter, and my bra.

Right.

Thus, without going into details, I think it's pretty safe to say that the "No Joy in '06" mantra didn't exactly catapult me into responsible adulthood.

But then, I shouldn't be too hard on myself, either. My goals for '06 were mostly vague and generic. "Consume less" is hardly measurable. And looking back, I think NJ06 was really about laying the groundwork for some great things to happen in '07.

Let's review, shall we?

(Shush. I am sure you're all bored to tears with blog entries about resolutions and lists and blah blah blah. I know. But if I don't do it here, it seems less "real." Plus, it's a good exercise in seeing the glass half full.)

(And if you're already bored by this entry, skip to the end. There's something of an epiphany. And also a new '07 mantra.)

Year In Review / The Year Ahead

The Financial Picture
"Spend less" is a great idea, but that's hard to do when you don't actually know how much you're spending in the first place. I basically lived just ever-so-slightly beyond my means for about 18 months, without ever bothering to really monitor it. Just, every month I spent a little more than I took home. Over time, that compounded. Thus, debt.

So even though I didn't really tighten my purse strings in 2006, I did do two little things that helped a lot:

1. I built a spreadsheet to track my bills. All in one place, all with due dates outlined. Now I know exactly how much I owe, when, and to whom. Seems like a "duh" thing to you probably, but mapping it all out for me made a big difference.

2. I pre-emptively saved money for "big ticket" items. There were a few things I knew I'd be spending money on this year, and instead of just sucking up and putting them on a credit card, I saved money and put it away (like for my computer, and for my plane ticket home at Christmas).

The way I see it, I got my finances "in order" in 2006. Now I can focus on actually improving my financial situation this year.


Creative Endeavors
2006 was not a complete bust as far as starting projects was concerned. I just failed to have much discipline (oops) about them, and they got all muddled and confused and most just fell to the wayside, unfinished.

I jumped into comedy and worked on developing stand-up material. I started a comic novel. I wrote about my divorce here, and from there was inspired to write/propose a memoir. I continued to try and grow our a cappella group, and wanted to arrange at least one song for us. I tried to teach myself CSS and regularly redesign this blog. I wanted to start a political blog. Started a book with Ish. Started designing a website for the a cappella group. Knitting! Ha!

And the list goes on, down a windy path into a rabbit hole.

Basically, without plans or forethought, very little of the above list got "accomplished." 2006 was apparently the Year Of The Dabbler. It was certainly exciting to have an agent consider my memoir proposal, but her rejection was warranted (I had NOT spent enough time figuring out what I wanted it to be, and it was -- at best -- inconsistent). I can't spend my after-work hours knitting and writing and learning code and design and Photoshop and arranging and.

Or maybe I can, but not if I want to get anything done.

So I am going to focus and prioritize.

1. Blogging: More, better, often. I feel like I have worked myself up into a self-censored corner. I tell myself I can't write about x because of this, or y because of that, or z because of the other thing. It's stifling, and unlike me, and results in stilted entries. I have come to care more about what my readers think than what I think, and that's the exact opposite of why blogs matter.

2. The novel. I vow to work on it, in one form or another, at least once a week. My goal is to complete it this year. For reals. My stuckness is similar to that with my blogging. I censor as I go, so much that I just stop writing. I really believe that if I could just "let go," it would come.

3. Everything else. I will allow myself to dabble in other interests, but not at the expense of 1 or 2.


Weight Loss
I guess the main thing here is that I joined a gym in 2006. Well, actually, I joined two. I was good about going to the first one, back when Risey and I were working together and going to the gym together and had a routine. But that fell away when she changed jobs, and I didn't do anything for a while. Then this summer I joined a different gym, and went for a few weeks.

And that, dear IIFs, is about the extent of my weight loss efforts in 2006.

What the hell is wrong with me?

If I can't stay motivated to lose weight and get healthy, and yet bitch about it constantly...what's wrong? Where is the disconnect? Do I, under it all, really NOT care? Am I "afraid of success"?

I really can't say. But here we are, two years after starting this blog, and I've barely begun to scratch the surface of my weight/health goals, despite oh-so-much posturing about it.

So the best I can do right now is announce, declare, proclaim that 2007 is THE YEAR I lose weight. Again.

And the best thing I can think of to make THIS year different from LAST year and different from THE YEAR BEFORE that, is to give it a number.

::::drumroll, please::::

70.

Yep. Seventy. Seven-oh.

I am aiming to lose s-e-v-e-n-t-y pounds this year. I can't even believe it myself, that number. But there it is. Stark and real and in print and adequately horrifying. shudder

The upshot is that it works very well with this year. As in, "getting rid of my 07/70."

Or just 07/70 for short.

* * * * *


As I was writing this all out, I was struck by my resolve related to writing: stop self-censoring I said.

And that's my biggest goal for this year, even bigger than 07/70: Writing without heeding my inner critic. Going for it. Reminding myself constantly that getting it out is more important than getting it right. I can always edit later.

And yet even as I write this, I hear my inner critic say, "Your big goal for this year is to not listen to me when you write? Isn't that kind of shallow and stupid? Who cares?"

But I'm not listening because, deep down, I know it's not stupid. And any of you who write blogs or read them or keep journals or have any passion for writing, you know too. Writing isn't just about writing, it's about expressing your inner narrative. It's how you think. It's how you process your whole world.

Writing is never just about writing words; it's about writing who you are.

So I know that if I can ignore that nasty little voice, the one that creeps in and tells me "don't" or "can't" or "shouldn't" or "not now" or "shhhhhh," then I don't just write better.

I live better.

And isn't that the whole damn point?


So here is to a new year full of being brave and real and not listening to the inner critic when she tells me it's not interesting, or funny. When she says I needn't bother putting lipstick on because it's not going to make the extra 58 lbs. of ass I'm carrying around look any better. When she says 70 is too much. When she says it's not worth it.

She's not the boss of me.

Sure, ignoring her might mean I occassionally wake up with my bra in the fridge. But you know? At least I won't be boring.

19 comments:

  1. I think the reason people make resolutions is that going public makes you a little more accountable. Just as people say, "Be careful what you wish for," they also say, "Don't make promises you can't keep." Making a New Year's resolution is really a promise to yourself.

    I made a very public August resolution this year and declared myself fat. Not only did I state the obvious, I stated it loud and clear, on Mental Snacks, my "other" blog on the website of the newspaper for which I write. I started a thread called The Shrinking Village, where I have posted my weekly progress, shared recipes, and exchanged ideas with other people in need of Shrinking. The newspaper regularly publishes a teaser for the blog in the print edition, and the thread is nearing 4,000 hits (a big number for this market).

    In addition, I drafted two of my chubby friends to join me, and that, Kristy, is the only reason I have succeeded. Like you, I could not stick to a program when I was only accountable to myself. Joining Weight Watchers is soooo not my style (although I am following the points program), as going to meetings to collect applause and gold stars from strangers does not motivate me. Instead, I joined two of my closest friends, and, along with the public declarations on both of my blogs, I have forced myself to have the integrity to focus on my goal.

    To date, I have lost 26 of the 48 pounds I set out to lose, and I'm still going strong. As a team, my two friends and I have lost 83 pounds. I know that you don't really know me, but I would love to have you join me, either on the Shrinking Village thread at Mental Snacks (there is a link on my blog), or by emailing or posting here. Or, find a flesh-and-blood friend or two who can join you in your journey toward healthy eating. I cannot tell you how much better I feel, even though I'm only halfway there.

    Okay, this is MUCH longer than it was supposed to be....

    You are the only one who can take care of yourself, so what are you waiting for?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Sweet- I love reading your posts, so more of them and more uncensored sounds great! Good luck on all of your goals.

    ReplyDelete
  3. i can't wait to see how it all plays out.

    and you're never boring, k!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I read all the time and hate that I tend to only comment on weight related issues, but its something I resolved to do in '06 so I know it well. I started working on my weight on 1/17/06 and hit my goal on 12/17/06--I lost 62 pounds. I feel like in those 11 months I got my life back. I consider it one of the biggest achievements of my life; not because it makes me more valid, or more worthy of love, more attractive, or whatever people think losing weight will do for them, but because I finally decided I was worth caring about.

    I can run on the treadmill for a half hour when I couldn't walk up two flights of stairs without getting winded. I can shop in stores without leaving in frustration and tears. (Size 6 is easier to find than 16) My self esteem doesn't plummet when I just cannot stop myself from eating 5 pieces of pizza-I've learned to eat 2. My skin is better and I don't have to worry about chub rub.

    It's such a struggle and I know where you have been. I really wish you luck. It took me a while to finally be ready to make the changes, but now that I have, I could not be happier.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Maybe you should stick with this "bra in the fridge" thing and expand it to "food in the dresser". You could only have fresh fruit, etc. in the dresser - all good and fatty food would go bad in a hurry.

    And if you did eat it I heard that botulism is a great way to shed a few pounds.

    Good luck, I am right here with you!

    ReplyDelete
  6. try losing 1 lb per year. it is very achievable. i've been doing it for over 20 years now. slow and steady wins the race!

    ReplyDelete
  7. no way you keep your bra in the fridge also???

    ReplyDelete
  8. You chose the right goal to be number one. If you can't blog freely, there's no point in a personal blog. And I like to read blogs that are obviously written for no one except the blogger. Hey I love a nicely constructed, well told story, mind you (which is why I read your blog, but I am digressing and obviously ass kissing) but I also like bloggers to keep it real. god, did I just say that?

    ReplyDelete
  9. i'm loving that you will write for you without listening to the nasty little voice and sensoring yourself. we want you to write for you. and we will enjoy it, i'm certain.

    i am committed to losing 52 pounds this year...one for each week. if i lose moer one week it will make up for the other week(s) when i indulge more than i should. can't stop being me so alcohol won't go, but because i plan to scale it back a tad perhaps my bra will no longer wind up on my ceiling fan. we shall see. i make no promises. but i will try, damn it.

    good luck to you. good luck to us all with our efforts to make us the best we can possibly be.

    happy 2007.

    ReplyDelete
  10. 1. Good for you! The internal Critic is common to many, if not most (and possibly all) artists. Overcoming that rat bastard is difficult but not impossible. I've used several strategies to deal with the Critic. One way was to listen to the Critic and write down what he said, then create an opposing affirmation. For example, when the Critic said, "No one is going to want to read this," I countered with "People enjoy reading my fiction." I knew the latter to be true but the knowledge lacked force. Repeating the affirmation a couple of times a day gave it power and weakened the Critic's objections.

    Another strategy I used was to create a new Voice In My Head: The Coach. Coach helps me a lot when I get stuck, and he can often shut that damned Critic down in record time. Whether I need another voice in my head is a question for another day. Anyway, I've gained so much confident that, as I wrote in a comment yesterday, I've set my sights on writing a million words this year.

    2. Good for you! Having finished the rough draft of my novel last year, I can tell you that it felt very good. If you need encouragement or free advice that's worth every penny you pay for it, please feel free to email. I looooove to talk about writing.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Ericha2@yahoo.com9:53 AM, January 03, 2007

    K- You and I both started out '06 as the year to lose weight and get in shape.

    No one who starts a diet ever does as well as they hope as fast as they want. That being said since 1/11/06 I have lost 36 lbs. and 26 inches. Ironically, I've only dropped one clothing size. Bigger girls have farther to go between sizes than smaller girls. So, even though I still have to shop at Lane Bryant, I look better in my clothes and have better self esteem because I know I've worked hard and not given up on myself, like every time in the past.

    Ideally I'd like to lose another 100. I have reservations as to whether my body will actually allow me to do that. I would be happy to lose another 75 - 80. It may take 2 more years but I am determined to make it happen.

    You can't do it just by making a resolution. You have to be in the correct mindset to stick with it. If you're there...you'll reach your goals.

    Best of luck. I look forward to following your progress.

    Warm wishes for '07.

    Erica

    ReplyDelete
  12. I'm with you. I re-started Weight Watchers (counting points - but no meetings - I actually can't afford an extra 13 bucks a week at the moment). And I want to lose 70/07, too. I got a look at some pictures of myself recently and I'm not happy at all. I don't FEEL that fat...but I'm disgusted with what I've become. Although I will give myself credit, I've only gained 10 pounds in the holiday period since I quit smoking on November 27th. Good luck to us - It's doable, though....

    ReplyDelete
  13. I'm still confused about the bra in the fridge. Was it put there on purpose or did it somehow just end up there?

    ReplyDelete
  14. Maybe that little voice inside you wishes her own damn bra could end up in the fridge sometimes too. maybe she too is working on not censoring and maybe she's concerned she'll gain and not lose 70 pounds because she knows it is possible. maybe she is learning to let go the grip so everyone including herself can breathe a little. I bet she means well and is a pretty good salsa dancer. she's in awe of you. at the core of it she's on your side - given she's been with you all these years, she just wants to nurture cuz that's what she knows of herself? Thinking of you a lot!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Good luck with your ’07 endeavors. I am in awe of people who can really write, and I count you amongst them. I look forward to reading your posts as you grow in your art. We all have inner critics, but few of us really try to face them down, and for that I think you’re incredibly insightful and brave.

    As for 07/70, you know you can do it, you just have to actually do it. In ’06 I resolved to get a hold on my weight like every other year, but for some reason it actually happened a little bit this time. I set out to lose 50 – 60 in ’06. I lost 35, but I’m not the least bit disappointed I didn’t exactly hit the mark, because I learned a lot and now know how to make it happen. I got off track with moving and the holidays and gained 4 pounds back in the last couple months, but now that it’s the New Year I’m trying to establish routine and do the things I need to do to get it going back in the right direction. I’ve found the forums at 3fatchicks.com very helpful, you might want to check it out and see if you don’t find something of interest to you there.

    Good luck in ’07, and thank you for sharing and putting it all out there for us to experience with you here.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Hey there, just found your blog through some way I can't recall. Best of luck with your weight loss goals, but ou mentioned something about blogging being all about your inner narrative, and not censoring yourself that I'd really like to comment on.

    I've been having my own drama lately, and writing it all out has made me realize just how often my thoughts on one subject are completely different one moment to the next. I never would have seen how and why the reasons I want to and don't want to re-date my BF change and mush and expand if I hadn't said "Fuck it" to all my friends and just wrote every damn thing down I wanted to.

    So I encourage you to do the same. If your friends and readers don't like it (which I doubt, you have an awesome writing voice), tell them to take a hike, this blog's for you.

    You go girl.

    P.S. Bras in the fridge are fine. Just don't accidentally nuke your cell phone in the microwave. That is No Fun.

    ReplyDelete
  17. wait - did I miss the answer as to WHY your bra was in the fridge?

    ReplyDelete
  18. as the old saying goes, "better a bra in the fridge than used as a coconut/cell phone at a wedding."

    -el snarkster

    ReplyDelete
  19. Its a hard one the inner critic...I'm afraid of her and of my dad's wife suing me....that's actually more what i'm afraid of.

    it is about writing but only a rare few of us are actually just writing, and I applaud you because you are the one that we all relate to when you say what we want, and damn you get it right.

    I'm often reading you and thinking...yeah, that is totally what I meant...she nails it!

    thanks

    ReplyDelete