The Best Laid Plans…

I have a resolution for 2011 and that is to make no resolutions.  I came to this conclusion after excitedly making a list of to-do’s for my ten days off over the Christmas holidays (do tae-bo or yoga every day in addition to my daily walks on the beach; bake cookies; sew some gifts; clean out my part of the garage; organize my beach glass and shells; sort through clothes and other belongings for sale/friends/charity/trash; write every day and get at least two stories done for upcoming anthologies).   I was hyped about all of these things, full of energy at the thought of ten days to get my life in order, by thunder!  Instead I got sick two weeks ago today, dragged myself into work for the first three days until my vacation started, and was pretty much ill for the duration with maybe two days feeling relatively healthy, overdoing it, and getting sick again.

I did manage a few batches of cookies and some sewing, and had some nice walks on the beach in between some butt-ass cold and windy days where my common sense actually overcame my “I…Must…Walk!” attitude and I stayed home, but organizing, sorting, exercising and writing were all busts because I just can’t think when I’m ill.  We’re talking your basic fever/congestion alternating with runny nose/aches/chills/exhaustion type bug.  I have no idea what it was/is (still kicking it off and not happy about having to go back to work tomorrow) and it doesn’t really matter.  I figure it was my body’s way of saying “Enough, beeootch!”  so I’d take some time off and just rest and relax, something I’ve lost the art of doing somewhere along the last few years.

Problem with this is while intellectually I know I needed the rest, emotionally I refused to accept it and proceeded to beat myself up over my inability to get my shit together and accomplish all the things on my list.  This led to a fairly comprehensive depression (NOT my natural state and one I don’t handle at all gracefully), a state not helped by the fact Dad died last year on December 27th or the declining health of my oldest feline, Beezle.  Lots of mortality issues going on here.  I spent a lot of time on the couch with Beezle curled up next to me on or on my lap.

At first I tried to write, but even emails were a struggle.  A story I actually have plotted out in my head is still stuck in there with only a few paragraphs to show for literally hours of computer time trying to get the damn thing written.  Much bleakness and self-loathing ensued.

Did I mention I don’t do depression well?

Finally after a meltdown New Year’s Eve right before midnight (not that I placed any expectations on New Year’s Eve as heralding in a better new year or anything…Nope, not me!), I thought about the correlation between stress and illness; the fact most of the people I’ve known who’ve gotten cancer or some other major illness tended to be workaholics, martyr types, or just people who refuse to give themselves a break when it come to down time. I took a look at the last week and a half and the time I’ve spent with Beezle and my other cats; more quiet time than I’ve had with them in literally years.  I considered how hard I work what with my day job (at least a half hour overtime every day), commute time, and all the writing I’ve accomplished in the last three years. I thought about what I want to accomplish in 2011 and thought maybe I’d make a list of resolutions.  And then I saw this cartoon and saw Type A Dana refusing to accept relaxation as an option ’cause it’s Just. Not. Productive!   So I grabbed Type A Dana by the shirt front, bitch-slapped her and told her to shut the eff up and deal with the down time without making me feel like a worthless slacker.

No resolutions!   If I make a list and can’t live up to it, I’ll just beat myself up over my failure to achieve results. I know what I want to accomplish and what I need to get done in order to do so.  The important thing here is to appreciate each day no matter what it brings, to enjoy time spent with family, friends and felines … and to learn to relax while I do the things that need to get done and the things that I want to do.  Funny thing is if I just remember to stop beating myself up by not living up to a self-imposed list, what I need and what I want tend to be the same things.

20 thoughts on “The Best Laid Plans…

  1. I understand and sympathise with your “productivity” drive: it’s good that you have it. Look around you: few do. All those people who say, “I’d like to be a writer, but –” You’re wise, too, to recognize that you’re over-doing it. I love this quote from Emerson:

    Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.

    Let every day be new, let every day be an opportunity. Treat yourself as you treat a friend and have confidence that you will write all the wonderful things in your head, and be patient. It will be done.

  2. Thank you for sharing these thoughts, you photos and your valuable vacation time with us. Wish I’d been more probing when there, thought something was a miss. So what did I do – talked non-stop. Its my coping strategy:-(( So glad you took some time with Beezle and hope you’re feeling much, much better now.

    Funny that self-loathing thing. I tend to get on to-do benders as well, then over do it and have to stop. Then, beat myself up for not finishing. Don’t even get me going on melt-downs – the kids and I have turned them into an art form!

    Luckily, life lets us “start over” every moment of every day – and not just on New Year’s Eve!

  3. Aw, heck, Cietta, spending time you with you, Ken and the kids was a high point! We had great fun, I got an extra walk on the beach, and you actually caught me the one day I was feeling healthy! So yay for that!

    Melt downs and to-do benders… sounds like it should burn more calories than it does for me…

  4. So Dana have you “resolved” not to make any resolutions? 😉

    Hugs to you and get some rest! (And then get back to writing, because you know it charges us.)

  5. OMG, Dana, I could have written this post (except for the getting sick part)–right down to the New Year’s Eve meltdown. As a result, I got very little “done.” My office is still so full of piles of paper I don’t want to go in it, and it seemed much more fun to go shopping than do filing.

    I’ll tell you to go easy on yourself if you’ll do the same for me. Deal? Hope you feel better soon.

    Margery, LOVE that quote.

  6. Deal, Cindi! we need to have a girl’s night or afternoon out… walk on the beach and drink some wine and talk… I suspect we’re going through the same thing about now…

  7. Sorry you had to deal with a meltdown. You may have been overworking, but only because you want to perfect your skills.
    Sorry I haven’t been following the den lately. I’m recovering from a bad fall the week before Christmas. I’m doing well overall. I certainly hope things will get much better for you. (Dave is right, by the way!)
    You do need a long rest, so please take as much time as you need. We’ll be here when you’re ready to get in touch with us again.
    LOL. 🙂

  8. Oh, Jack, I am so sorry to hear about your fall! How did it happen? And when you say you’re doing well overall, does that mean nothing is broken?!!!


  9. Nothing is broken. How? I stumbled over my own big feet. My head at least isistill on correctly.
    Please conserve yourself. For all our sakes. You are a person to be treasured.
    HUGS retuirned.

  10. I stopped doing resolutions a few years ago and I am so glad I did. It’s quite freeing! Also, I’ve learned I get a lot more actually done when I’m not stressing over all the things I did not do.

    Hope you and your kitty both feel better soon!

    (I have had serious depth perception problems for the past few days – can I blame that on weather too?)

  11. Resolutions suck and yes, the stress is a killer for creativity and motivation.

    Beezle is on his way out… I think tonight will be it. Having the vet over… I’d rather let him go now than let him suffer any more and I think it’s at that point…

    You can blame everything on the weather!

  12. So sorry to hear about Beezle. There’s nothing I can say to make it any better so I will say nothing more except I sorrow with you. HUGS to you and to Dave. LOL.

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