Monday, January 03, 2005

The Requisite Resolutions

Happy New Year to everyone who reads this.

I had planned to write down my resolutions for 2005 and then I got sucker-punched by Husband’s rant first thing this morning. Which is, I suppose, as it should be – it seemed like he was letting out a lot of things that had been bottled up inside him for a long time – just about two months, to be more precise.

Part of me is glad that he got it off his chest – especially in such a public way that anyone who cares could check in and see how he is feeling about the situation. Which doesn’t seem to have changed much since November. Understandable, I suppose.

I’ve bottled up some stuff, too, but I’ve vented it already to my friends (and to him) so I’m not going to let it out here. Wouldn’t do any good, anyway. Wouldn’t make me feel better – and I hope that one effect of Husband’s rant is to make him feel better. It’s never good to keep strong feelings like that inside – it eventually poisons everything. I should know.

Suffice it to say that I choose not to fuel the issues with anger and harsh words. Suffice it to say that there has been enough harm done by me and I will not participate in hurting anyone’s feelings further, including Husband’s. Suffice it to say that I choose to live my life in such a way that I can exist and grow with Duckie in contentment and grace. Because I can’t change the past. I can only move forward…

… into 2005. I saw the other two Whiskey Sisters on New Year’s Eve and we ruminated for a few minutes over the enormous changes that have happened over the last year. One new child has grown from an infant into a toddler, two children have been adopted into a family, we’ve had deaths in the family, a suicide attempt, a nervous breakdown (sort of, although that’s not my story to tell anyway), and a separation. Oh, and GW got re-reelected. 2004 was a hell of a year. Buffy said that one of her goals over 2005 was to achieve some measure of peace in her life, and I have to say it’s a great thing to shoot for. Myself, I work for it daily.

So on to my concrete resolutions this year…

Quit smoking. This one’s going well for now. I bought the patches and have been using them religiously, being very careful to keep them away from Duckie (which means I have to be careful about where I place them on my body, as it seems to be her favorite playground lately.) I know that there will be times when I will choose to smoke – at parties, in social situations where my daughter is elsewhere. But it has made such a difference in her happiness and in mine even over the first two days that I can’t see myself going back to being a full-time smoker, even if I was only smoking ten or twelve a day. Here’s why I quit.

My mother died of complications from lung cancer at age 51. My grandmother lost a breast to cancer, which eventually metastasized to her brain and killed her later in life. At 34, I’m entering into the cancer years. It’s up to me to minimize the risk.

It upsets Duckie every time I sneak out for a cigarette. Granted, she’s in her high chair and eating happily, and I can see her through the living room window, hear her through the crack in the door, but still she knows I’m gone and she doesn’t understand why. Smoking is a crappy reason to give up even a few moments with her – and now that I don’t have that separation, she seems so much happier and is much easier to deal with.

Smoke stays on your clothes and hands and face, even if you wash well. It can get into Duckie’s system and cause allergy symptoms and decrease her immune system. My job as a mother is to keep her as safe as possible – even, and especially, from my own idiocy.

It’s really freaking cold out most days (this strange week notwithstanding – global warming, anyone?) That makes it a lot more appealing to stay indoors and take care of the house and my daughter. Instead of going outside for that last smoke before I go to bed, I make a cup of Sleepytime tea and read for a few minutes. Much cozier, in my opinion.

The ups and downs of nicotine cravings can’t be helping whatever bipolar issues I’m dealing with. Using the patch, I think, has evened things out a lot. (I didn’t see any reason to make things harder than they needed to be.) And now that I can’t smoke when I’m hungry, I have to eat instead – I’m trying not to choose junk food, but y’all know the holidays… Anyway it’s a matter of blood sugar levels and trying to keep those from spiking and dropping like they do when you smoke.

I got really really sick of the smoker’s cough in the mornings. Lately my stomach has been pretty queasy in the AM (nope, not pregnant, not a possibility, don’t even go there) and the coughing and mucus has not made things more pleasant.

I’m hoping that the Whiskey Sisters will be going strong again in 2005, and my voice suffers from cigarettes. When I quit in 2003, I gained probably four or five comfortable notes in my upper register, and vanity requires that I keep those notes in my working range. So do all the existing arrangements that have me singing in the stratosphere.

I got really sick of feeling ashamed to be smoking. I knew it was stupid, I knew it was bad for me, I knew it had long-term consequences for me and for Duckie. I had to hide the habit from people for a long time. But I did it anyway.

It’s expensive. Smoking regularly was costing me a fair chunk of change (not as much as heavier smokers, granted, but still more than I needed to be spending.) Hell, I can get four meals for Duckie from the money I would spend on two packs of cigarettes. And when you think in terms of taking food out of your baby’s mouth… well, suddenly it doesn’t seem so attractive anymore.

I’m bookmarking this post, by the way, so I can bring it up when things get tough.

More resolutions…

My finances are pretty much in order and my goal for 2005 – and for the rest of my life – is to bloody well keep them that way. There are still some things that are outside of my control – Husband has volunteered to pay for weekly day care costs and to make the monthly car payment. But for those things that I can control, I will pay those bills on time. (The budget for 2005 has been done and the only thing that looks hairy is the February mortgage payment – if anyone has some ideas on how I can make an extra $150 by February 1st, PLEASE let me know.) I will not generate more debt than I can pay off within a reasonable amount of time. I will not spend more than I budget unless there’s an emergency. I will not file for bankruptcy.

I will lose 40 pounds by the end of the year. I’m ready for this. I’m chomping at the bit, and so is my workout partner. The last time we both dropped a significant amount of weight, she was dropping baby weight and I was dropping weight in general – now it’s me who needs to lose the baby weight. We started in January 2002, walking around and around Lake Osceola with her baby in the stroller – now we’ll have two babies in strollers and I honestly can’t wait to show Duckie her baby namesakes in the springtime. And I can’t wait to look on the outside as good as I feel on the inside (most days).

I will take care of myself. I am already planning some decompression trips without Duckie – it may sound harsh, but she’s fine with Husband (you should have seen her walk to him this morning, it was adorable) and I need the time to myself, without the responsibilities of motherhood. Even if it’s just an overnight at Buffy’s or a weekend at the beach, I have got to take that time away. I have to get enough sleep. I have to eat well, and regularly. I have to drink water, not wine or beer or soda. I have to do these things because no one else will do them for me. And if I don’t, I could run the risk of being right back where I was on Election Night. And – read my lips – I will be damned if I ever go back to that awful scary place again.

There are some other things I would love to do by the end of the year – creative things, like finish the revisions on the book I’ve been working on for something like four years now, write however many songs for TWS, make the quilt for Duckie I’ve been talking about for over a year. But the things I’ve put down here today are the critical maintenance issues that will make it possible for me to do those other things. They may sound pretty simple and obvious, but to me they’re not. They are things I have neglected for too long while I tried to keep Duckie and Husband happy. I don’t think I’ve forgotten how to do them – and who knows, I might even be able to do them better now. We’ll see.


Anonymous said...

There is much here and much to do. Much luck to you and love.


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