This article by Jinny Ditzler, the author of “Your Best Year Yet”, really pissed me off. The “quit whining” tone, the bootstrapping and the giving myself a performance review / holding myself accountable just all chapped my ass today. I’m feeling whiny and flaily and like I really just want someone to hand me a drink, pat me on the head, and tell me I’m doing my best and it’s all ok.
Except it’s not. I’m sucking in a lot of different areas right now – some a little, some a lot. Some of it is exhaustion-suck (which I’m trying to work on by getting more sleep, with limited success – apparently there is such a thing as too much sleep, or I’m in some other way not doing it right). Some of it is diabetes-suck (I’m not watching my eating or being all that consistent and disciplined with my exercise, medication, monitoring or appointments). Some of it is work-suck. My motivation is in the toilet, and I know my performance over the last 3 months has been less than awesome – my personal nadir was the last day before the holiday where I basically surfed the net all day and thought “fuck it all, each and everyone.” It was super obvious. I just got a promotion, and there’s a lot of fear of success / fear of failure stuff going on here. There’s also a lot of just plain overwhelm. Some of it is personality-suck – I don’t want to be around people, but I’m lonely. I want everything the way I want it, but I want to think of myself as a flexible and open person. I want connection, but I don’t really want to work that hard. I want the perfect relationship, but I don’t want to risk or trust or work on that either.
I’m also not meditating or doing yoga regularly anymore, after about 5 months of real consistency. I can tell. It leads to everything-suck.
So, reluctantly, I turn back to Jinny’s article. Here are the things she asks readers to focus on, to make next year not so sucky:
- Appreciate my success.
- Learn from my disappointments.
- Stop lying to myself about who I really am.
- Create my next year from the inside out.
- Give myself a performance review.
- Set my top 10 goals.
- Be accountable.
- Pay it forward.
The whining in my head is really loud, even just cutting and pasting this list. Performance Review? Who the hell wants to do that? I’m not gonna do it, and you can’t make me! (Except for that nagging voice that says, “yeah, but you really could be doing better at work, and isn’t it getting boring feeling so fragile and overwhelmed all the damn time? C’mon…)
So, here I go, real fast:
1. Appreciating my successes.
- I asked for a job and a promotion that I really wanted.
- I actually got both the job and the promotion.
- I started dating again, with a minimum of drama.
- I managed to keep my place within about an hour of being company-ready at all times.
- I’m closer to my son than I have been in over 3 years.
- I had five solid months of doing yoga and meditation every morning.
- I was able to start waking up super early and had a really good morning routine that became my new standard of normal.
- I am learning to be a manager, and being more brave about dealing with interpersonal things.
- I started therapy again, and have been genuinely working at it
2. Learning from my disappointments:
- My weight yo-yo’d and the binge eating hasn’t really changed.
- My sugar control hasn’t improved despite a new medication, because of the binge eating and other behavioral things.
- I fell in love with a married man and had an emotional affair for a couple of months.
- I reacted to a new challenge by freaking out and becoming resistant / hiding – this has been a longstanding pattern.
- I keep repeating my pattern of withdrawing and avoiding intimacy.
- I discovered that I have a lot of trouble keeping my promises to myself and to other people, mostly because of demand resistance. Again, the disappointment is in the repetition of a pattern I though I’d improved.
3. Stop lying to myself about who I really am:
I’m not sure exactly what this means, but I’m choosing to read it as “quit setting goals for the person you wish you were, or the things you wish you wanted, and set them for the person you really are, and the things you really want.”
Unfortunately, the person I really am wants to eat pasta and watch Netflix all day. While knitting. And buying things off Amazon. The person I really am doesn’t want to save money, and doesn’t want to complete things, and wants everything to work out awesomely anyway without expending any effort. The person I really am doesn’t want to be uncomfortable, ever, for any reason. The person I really am doesn’t want any motherfucking goals, thank you very much. The person I really am doesn’t want any part of the goddamn PMP.
Right now, the person I really am kind of sucks. I don’t really like this me. I like the hard-working, over-achieving, super-productive me. The me that gets praise and respect. I haven’t seen that me in a few months, and I kind of miss her. She’s not great at work-life balance, she can be hermit-like and kinda self-involved, and her idea of fun is reviewing different planner configurations to see if she can unearth One Planner to Rule Them All, while reading endless blog posts about GTD. Ok, so she’s got some flaws, but I honestly liked her a little better than this me that’s cropped up in the last few months, who doesn’t want to do or be anything except comfortable. I’ve got a little bit of contempt for this me.
So, which me do I approach the new year as? I’m sick of feeling like The Oatmeal’s Blerch. I don’t want to be a Blerch anymore. I don’t want to be stuck only doing the comfortable things, and never trying anything else because I don’t want to be hurt, or scared, or disappointed, or risk anything. But I also don’t want to be the isolated, solitary, over-achiever I was at the beginning of last year. I want to enjoy how satisfying hard work feels again, but I want to be able to modulate it a little, so that I can also really enjoy how satisfying fun and connection and play are. I’ve taken it to the opposite extreme, and it’s like eating nothing but ho-hos for a year. I am so sick of ho-hos, but I’m afraid of the pain of suddenly going paleo. The extremes are what I’m sick of, but that’s all I really know, is how to be extreme.
Maybe, the me I need to channel is the me that wants to gain my own respect. The me that wants to feel capable and strong. The me that doesn’t want to be afraid of myself anymore, or disappointed in myself. The hopeful me. Not the martyr me, but the solid, reliable, hard-working, fun-loving, affectionate me. I like that me the best, and I miss her.
I’m going to stop here and think about this a little more before I jump into the next steps. There are dishes to wash and cats to feed.