Saturday, January 8, 2011

Deciding What to Be

I was working away on a New Year's Eve/Day post when I dropped everything to write my post on depression. Now, one week into the new year, it feels a little late to post a reflection on 2010 or my New Year's Resolutions. 

But I do have hopes for 2011. There's a line from a song by The Avett Brothers, "Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise," that sums up my approach to this year:

"Decide what to be and go be it."

I spent much of 2010 doing whatever felt right in the moment. It's how I coped with the pain, loss, and fear associated with my divorce and the uncertain future that accompanied it. It wasn't entirely a bad thing - it did serve a purpose after all - but it's not a healthy way to go about life long-term. For 2011 and beyond, I need to decide who and what I want to be, and then do what it takes to be those things.

I want to be happier. Too often my happiness is based on external factors that change quickly and easily - someone else's opinion of my work or behavior, whether I've gained five pounds, or if a guy calls me for a second date. I think it's probably normal for these sorts of things to affect my mood in the short term, but I don't want them to rule my overall happiness. I need to learn how to feel good about myself and to be confident in that.

I want to be healthier. I really let myself go this past year. I stopped exercising and started allowing myself to eat and drink everything in sight. Not only is this just plain bad for my body long term, but I don't feel good physically either. I recently starting using Lose It! to log my food and, eventually, exercise. The only way I've ever managed to lose weight is to keep careful track of everything I eat, so that's what I'll do. But I also think I need to be realistic. I like to eat good food. I like to drink wine. I do not like to exercise. Given all that, I'm never going to be a size zero. At this point, I'd be happy if I could settle in at a comfortable size 12 and a BMI under 25. I've done it before, and I can do it again. 

I want to be more comfortable being alone. I've made big strides in this over the last few months. There were times when being alone made me physically uncomfortable: my chest was tight, my heart beat faster, and I wanted to crawl out of my skin. I sometimes dissolved into hysterical tears from it. I just didn't know how to be alone. Turns out practice helps. Putting on some music and snuggling with Juliette on the couch while I read a book no longer feels awkward, just quiet and relaxing. Spending the afternoon with a latte and my writing in a coffee shop doesn't make me worry about looking conspicuous anymore. I still want to learn how to go out and do things on my own, though. The other night I went to a book talk at our local independent book store with some friends, and I noticed quite a few people who were attending it alone. I think attending some of more of those types of events on my own might be a safe place to start - alone in a group.

Those are my modest hopes for 2011, to be happier, healthier, and more comfortable alone. In short: to get a little bit better.


Katherine said...

Funny: alone made me feel exactly the same way for a while, even when I wasn't physically alone. Glad it's more comfortable for you now. It's definitely an acquired taste, but the upside is that you learn so much about yourself in the meantime in a very genuine way. Whatever this year has in store for you - well, I hope it's great. Food and wine and writing and all. Love you, lady.

Burgh Gourmand said...

I can't think of all the alone time that I've wasted. This is an investment in yourself. Know that and enjoy it. Great Blog post, Erin.

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