Monday, January 17, 2011

The Dark Horse Resolutions

My best resolutions always come quietly, usually emerging from some area of my life I hadn't even known I was thinking about changing. This happens approximately two weeks into the new year, when I have had time to nurse my Christmas cookie hangover, and deal with the official aging that happens in that time. For example, this past week I celebrated my four year anniversary of quitting smoking. Not coincidentally, I also celebrated four years bronchitis-free the same day.

This year, after my last post considering what I should do to better myself and immediately alter my life so that it includes either louder desperation or less deperate quiet, I have given myself permission to have twelve mini-resolutions. So, I shall try on new lifestyles, habits, thought patterns, shoes, what-have-you for thirty days each and see which ones are worth keeping. Hell, 98% of resolutions die by February anyway, right? Might as well build in obsolescence and give myself a chance at twelve small victories rather than one big eleven-month long failure.

Ten days in, I decided January is vegetarianism and intellectual reawakening month, because I am bored as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore!

I'll start with vegetarianism. I wish I could say this was a moral choice and I'm a good person and all that. I can't make such lofty claims with a straight face, though. Anyone who has ever heard me talk of my experiences as a toddler and small child being sent out to feed the miserable bastard chickens knows that I cannot be compelled to eschew meat based on the helpless animals theory. This is a lifelong vendetta, friends, and the chickens clearly started it. No, this choice is mainly to give the kidneys a break from all the very hard work they have been doing, force myself to find those vegetarian recipes I keep swearing I'll find and learn, and just give myself a challenge big enough to shake my deadly-dull life up a bit. Nothing says paradigm shift quite like steamed asparagus and almond slices, after all. It's now day 8 of the 30 day vegetarian challenge, and I have had some success. I found a veggie chili recipe that is very yummy, for instance. Since I am not going vegan for the month, I also find I can have a slice of what passes for pizza in DC without feeling gross about it because I have been eating vegetables all day.

So, the first week went very well, and was quite an easy transition. I mean, rice and beans, peanut butter and apples, carrots and hummus are all quite good. I have lots of energy, and wake up annoyingly bright-eyed and bushy-tailed in the mornings. My diet alerts come when I get to the end of a day and realize I have not eaten enough fat! Emergency bruschetta, heavy on the olive oil, STAT! There is a challenge looming, however, in that for the past two days I have been fucking starving, no matter what or how much I eat. My calorie intake is just fine, I've been checking, and my protein intake is low normal, but normal. So, I hope I will be able to figure out the trouble there before I eat the houseplants or gain fifty pounds in excess pasta.

Intellectual awakening is lumbering along in fits and starts.
  • I started by trying to read popular non-fiction and self-helpish type stuff, when it occured to me that the authors of such books assume that their primary audience is barely literate, a little simple, and unable to suss out the great piles of festering herring said authors deposit on the page. I mean, generally. I'm sure there is a self-help author who is brilliant and insightful, but my local library does not feature that author's works.
  • Due to a little known corollary to Newton's First Law which reads "An object in sweat pants tends to stay in sweat pants," I have not been able to drag my sorry ass out to the (free and metro-accessible!) museums that all exist within ten miles of my house before their 5pm closing times on weekends.
  • I have signed up for a Continuing Education class that is technically supposed to be at graduate level, but having perused the syllabus I will say that it is clearly not. Still, it's a chance to think new things, buy new books, and have new conversations with people I didn't previously know.
  • I have been using the tubes, catching up on blog posts by more serious minded individuals than myself, and reading the letter collections put up by Columbia's Center for New Media Teaching and Learning at Epistol√¶. There are letters from Hrotsvit!

So, that's all you never asked about my January. Fascinating, no? Alas, I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be.

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