1) Condition myself to get enough sleep, which means more than five hours. For most of my life, I went to bed at a decent hour and averaged about eight hours of sleep a night. And then a couple of things happened that interrupted that pattern: I started a perfume blog nine years ago and began staying up later at night to work on my posts, and then there was a spell of time (probably only a couple of months) where my husband was staying up until the wee hours of night playing computer games, and that gave me tacit permission to stay up just as late. Of course, he got himself sorted out and I never did; though I wake up each day around 7 am and don’t take any naps, I typically don’t go to bed until 2 am. I know this is unhealthy, and yet oddly enough, it’s as if my mind and body are now hard-wired to expect only 5 hours of sleep (so, if I manage to go to bed at 11 pm, I’m often awake by 4 am). Even though I have obviously functioned for years now on little rest, I’m training myself to get back on track. Some nights it requires the aid of a dose of Benadryl to make me drowsy, but over time I’m hoping that sleep will prove to be a natural craving, the way it once was for me.
2) Get new frames for my glasses so that I actually enjoy wearing them. I’m far-sighted and have had a pair of progressive lens (aka “no-line bifocal”) glasses for years, but have hardly ever worn them. When progressive-lens glasses originally came out, they were not as good as the ones that are being produced now – and my eyesight was such that I could get by with relying on my reading glasses, so I did. Then two years ago I got a new pair of progressive lenses that worked so much better, but I never liked the frames: they seemed the best choice when I was in the store, and since I had to make a decision that day (or so it seemed) I ordered them. I did make an effort to wear them at first, but every time I slipped them on I felt unattractive. So, my resolution? This past month I got my eyes re-examined and insisted that my eye doctor give me my prescription so that I could hunt for frames through some of the reputable eyeglass manufacturers on the Internet, at least one of which allows you to do home try-ons with various frames (and the shipping for the try-on frames is free). I’m going to resolve to be patient and find a pair of frames that works for me — and if in the end I order them and change my mind about how they look, I’m going to wrestle my utterly useless sense of vanity to the floor and commit to wearing them anyway. 2017 is the year of me wearing the glasses I need.
3) Get back to doing pilates. Most of my exercise centers around running, and that leaves certain groups of muscles neglected: my arms, abs and back. I used to do pilates floor exercises quite a bit, and even doing them only twice a week makes a big difference in my muscle strength and posture. As I’m writing this, it also occurs to me that back in the days when I practiced it regularly I tended to sleep better, too. It’s a quieting exercise with a lot of focus on breathing, so it calms the mind much in the way yoga does, and in my experience, it’s a whole lot easier and more comfortable to do than yoga, because the movement is continuous: you’re stretching and trying to keep the movement slow and steady, but you aren’t holding a difficult pose or position for a determined length of time. I really like that about it, so why did I ever stop doing it? Well, for all of the normal reasons that people stop doing things that don’t come naturally and require a certain amount of concentration or focus. However, I hereby resolve to get back to it, and I’m lumping this in as an “easy” resolution, because I already know the routine. I don’t have to learn anything new, I just have to make the effort.
4) Write letters to people I love. After featuring Garrison Keillor’s How To Write A Letter essay in one of my posts, I realized how much I treasure the letters people once wrote to me and which I have kept all these years, almost as souvenirs of those relationships, whether they were familial, friendship, or romantic relationships. I have letters tucked away from my paternal grandmother, maternal grandfather, my mom, childhood friends, college roommates, boyfriends, and even a couple from my husband, whom I’ve never been away from for more than a week or two, and who isn’t a letter-writing kind of guy, but who managed to write me a couple lovely letters anyway. It seems to me that if you treasure a certain tradition or institution, you should do your part to reciprocate and uphold it, so I’ll be writing letters this year, on the flaps of birthday cards (which is the easy way to start, since the motivation to address a card to someone is already there) and hopefully on some nice stationery, too.
5) Do a better job at connecting with my husband’s interests. When you’ve been in a marriage a long time, it’s easy to take the other person for granted. If your personalities and interests are very different, and you think you no longer have to impress this person, why not let him do his thing and you do yours? I have the tendency to adopt that stance, but fortunately my husband keeps us on track. For the past two years it has been with ballroom dancing lessons, which has led us to going out a lot more with friends (the friends who are in our class and who are quite a social bunch). And his allowing me to bring my pet rabbit, Boxer, into our home has brought us even closer, because we never had children and now we’ve both fallen for this precious little guy who is like our child. All of which is to say, I’m grateful and I’m going to show it to him by engaging in some of his favorite pastimes. For starters, he’s wanted me to play computer games with him for the longest time, and this year I’m going to learn the ropes of World of Warcraft. (Yes, believe it or not, honey, it’s true. Count me in!)
This wraps up my “5 Easy Resolutions for the New Year” series. If you made any resolutions, I hope they’re going well and that they impart a sense of renewed energy, or perhaps a greater sense of personal contentment, in the year ahead.