Resolution Report Card

As we fast approach 2016, the media are full of retrospectives, best-of lists, worst-of lists, remembrances and clearance sales. The usual accounting.

lantern-festival-06-4-1196554-639x426And, of course, it’s that time of year to consider New Year’s resolutions. But instead of coming up with a new list, I thought I’d review last year’s and see how many resolutions I actually accomplished—and how to move closer to my goals this year.

My top priority for 2015 was to enhance my weekly exercise routine. I took the plunge and joined a community fitness center. But it didn’t work out. The classes mostly consisted of repetitive movements that are hard on my joints, and the studios were as chilly as refrigerators. I could not motivate myself more than maybe three times to go to the gym and use the stationary bike. The one class I really liked cost extra. Not worth the membership. My one big accomplishment: walking 15 minutes to a half-hour around my neighborhood at least three times a week.

My New Year’s remedy: At the recommendation of my cardiologist, I checked out local colleges for indoor tracks, to continue walking warmly and safely this winter. Al is an alumnus of one of them, which gives me spouse privileges at a very reasonable rate for the campus recreation facility. I also found a new Pilates studio nearby with a variety of exercise options that enables me to use a punchcard for drop-in classes, rather than pay for classes I may miss. I have to be more consistent with exercising, to stay strong and flexible, and this seems to be a more realistic formula for success.

Decluttering our home was also high on the list. Well, we got started clearing out books and old toys. Then we stalled. I managed to cull through decades of old files from the filing cabinet in the basement—dating back to the 1980s! But I still have to consolidate what’s left in a manageable way and then transfer current files (sans unnecessary paper) to the filing cabinet from my office floor. Over the winter, I want to finally tackle the family room in the basement. On the plus side, if we hadn’t been decluttering this fall, we never would have discovered a huge plumbing leak, and damage would have been much worse.

Last New Year’s I promised myself I would limit multi-tasking and keep my to-do list to what I could actually accomplish. Let’s just say this is a work in progress. Same for spending undistracted quality time with my family, minus iPhones and other beeping gadgets. Getting better about this, but there’s plenty of room for improvement.

Did I favor locally grown, organic produce when grocery shopping? Not as much as I had intended. Need to work on that one.

Another goal for 2015—saying thank-you to someone for something specific, each day—I  try, but could be more mindful about this. I did fulfill some major community volunteer commitments, another resolution, without draining my energy, which I plan to continue.

Then there was my big creative goal: write the first draft of my novel. I haven’t finished, yet, but I am making steady progress. I’m just about at the halfway point, and I participate in a weekly workshop class in Boston that is helping me to sharpen my writing and stay on task. I’ve learned a great deal about how much is involved in an artistic project this big, and I know, now, that it’s a multi-year undertaking. That’s okay. We took an amazing trip to Europe this summer to do research for my novel that taught me I really can travel, despite the complications of my scleroderma. As I wrote last year, investing in my own art is truly central to my being—and well-being.

I need to remind myself of one more goal from last year—go/do/see someplace/something new each month. So important to keep growing.

As for adding anything new for 2016, the best goal I can think of is this: Remember to just breathe.

Best wishes to all of you, Dear Readers, for a healthy, fulfilling and prosperous 2016. Thank you for your continuing encouragement and thoughtful comments as I enter my fifth year of writing this blog. Let 2016 be a year of more progress toward a cure for scleroderma, and toward a just and lasting peace in this troubled world of ours.

Evelyn Herwitz blogs weekly about living fully with chronic disease, the inside of baseballs, turtles and frogs, J.S. Bach, the meaning of life and whatever else she happens to be thinking about at livingwithscleroderma.com.

Image Credit: Yee Wong

Comments

  1. Pat Bizzell says:

    Wow, entering your fifth year of this blog! I continue to think there’s a book in here somewhere. Also glad to have the update on your novel, which I eagerly await. Seems to me you should be really proud of sticking with your goals for your creative work.

    As for new year’s resolutions, I am feeling more retrospective than prospective at the moment. 2015 was a year of big events for me, some heart-breaking, some wonderful. A lot of ups and downs and a record number of miles logged in my little blue Civic. I have a strong feeling of leaving a phase of life behind. There’s a new one peeping over the horizon, but I’m not ready to think about that just yet.

    Best wishes for the new year!

    • Thanks, Pat. I was thinking as I was writing this piece how curious it is that we all engage in this kind of reflection just because the year changes one digit. In reality, every day is an opportunity for renewal . . .

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