Thursday, January 07, 2010

The trumpet of a prophecy! O Wind, If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?

The wind has been blowing like crazy around these parts today, which reminds me of Shelly's Ode to the West Wind. The poem is not really as much about meteorology as it is about change, but on a blustery January day, poems involving wind and change still seem apropos. As much as part of me wants the wind to calm down, there is another part that likes to think that it is blowing away the last remnants of the old year to make room for the new. It seems like a good (if fanciful) theory, so I am going to roll with it.

I like to think that the wind is sweeping away some of my laissez-faire attitude about keeping my personal life happily organized, directed, and filled with the things that bring me satisfaction. At work, I am a organizational machine that has an action plan for everything and tracking sheets for tracking sheets, but at home...Let's just say that I am a little more relaxed - and not always to my betterment!). I don't know about you. Maybe you are one of those people who never lets things slides, draws firm boundaries and doesn't get distracted, but I'm constantly confounded by why it is so easy to stay on track when someone pays me to (or even just when someone else needs my help), but less so when it comes to doing things that are all about me! Well, no more, I say!

This week I have continued to think about goals for 2010. I am liking the idea of approaching them as a To Do list with some deadlines, rather than a vague set of resolutions about how I really am going to lose weight this time or spend more time with friends or take a real vacation or get off my ass and exercise regularly. This year I am taking a more intentional approach, thinking about what is important to me, how the goal will improve quality of life, and, most importantly, and how to attack it. I expect to have a list by the end of the week, but have already begun by organizing the Christmas decorations when I took them down instead of just throwing them into a random box not unlike the metaphorical one I keep filled with the well intentioned, but ultimately failed plans of years gone by. Wish me luck!

Friday, January 01, 2010

I've been thinking...

Happy New Year! As someone who has great energy for beginning new things (sometimes moreso than for finishing them), I love the start of a new year. There's something satisfying about archiving the old year and starting the new one on a fresh, blank page. It's definitely time for a change.

It's been ages since I've posted anything of substance, because my work has been positively soul sucking for the past six or eight months. After a great start to 2009 with a wonderful new boss (who is still wonderful), my job has snowballed into this monster that can't be caged. There have been pay cuts, expanded responsibilities, weeks where I've worked 30 hours by Tuesday, and times where I couldn't enjoy the little time I did have off, because my mind was so riddled with work dross that it just wouldn't shut down. And for someone who firmly believes that a job is just a job and not life, this is not a tenable situation.

It's funny sometimes how long we keep plodding along on in a situation that does not make us happy, simply because we are so immersed that we don't have time to think of change as an option. Little by little, the things we love fall out of our lives. We don't sleep right, we don't eat right. The next thing we know there is a dirty rumor circulating that we are workaholics. Despite our philosophy that work is just work, we realize that we're no longer doing things like writing, finishing projects, reading, taking pictures, playing the kazoo, hanging out with friends. Your list may be different, but you get the picture.

Fueled by two glorious weeks of vacation and the resolute tenor that accompanies the dawning of a new year, the CEO of Me, Inc. has decided that it's not only okay to want to be happy, but that striving to be so is important and should receive as much energy as we put into the things others pay us to do. The thing is that I don't really love resolutions. Resolutions sound like something you start and then allow to peter away as the year progresses. So, this year I am setting goals - SMART goals, even. If it's good enough for the projects someone else pays me to do, it should be good enough for me!

As it turns out, the Internets are as full of advice on goal setting as they are of everything else. While some of the tools come through expensive life coaching programs or for a more modest subscription price of $19.95 a month, there is a ton of free stuff out there - like these worksheets and that's just the tip of the iceberg. After all, I've only spent a couple minutes researching and we haven't even talked about the library yet! The tools are all there. It's just a matter of putting them together.

So, instead of making a ton of resolutions this year, my only resolution is to come up with a few well thought out goals and a plan to achieve them. Meanwhile, I hope that this new year fulfills all of the fresh, new potential it holds for me, for you, for everyone.