Season of Change

I’m an overachiever. Yep, I’m admitting it. And if you don’t believe me just ask my husband—it drives him crazy. I tend to organize and make lists, heck even my extensive movie collection is alphabetized and categorized by genre. Not kidding. My books would be too if I could talk my husband into building me more bookshelves. Maybe when the basement is finished?

Every year for the holidays I wind up making a giant list of what needs to get done, then when I accomplish it… I celebrate for about thirty-seven seconds before making another list, and then another. So in truth I probably got the important stuff done way back with the first list but then I spend my holidays killing myself to achieve more and more, and only wind up making myself crazy.

But this year was a little different, I got sick right after Thanksgiving and I’m still recovering. I’ll just say that bronchitis sucks and I found out the hard way that you can actually tear muscles in your chest wall from coughing. Not fun! But being sick has taught me several valuable lessons and helped shape my New Year’s resolutions this year as well.

1. Priorities

What’s important and what’s not. Spending time with family and friends is important; having everything “perfect” is not. I mean really, is the house going to fall down if it doesn’t get vacuumed? Apparently not. And besides, there is no such thing as “perfect”, and even if there were, “perfect” would look different to everyone. Writing is also a priority I have been denying myself. Don’t get me wrong I write but it is usually in fits and surges where I write for like ten hours a day for a week and then not at all for a few days, then pull a couple of all-nighters. By the way, I don’t recommend this writing style to anyone. I have to stop scooting writing down on the old priority list and make time for it everyday. You know the drill, sit down and write a good story, the rest will take care of itself. To be successful you have to show up everyday and you have to work hard, but I know it’s worth it because nothing worthwhile ever comes easily. Come on, if it were easy to climb Mount Everest, everyone would do it.

2.  Friends And Family

Friends and family have always been important to me but since my dad’s sudden death last December this point has really been driven home. Once the people you love are gone there is no going back so it is important to love the people in your life well NOW. Not tomorrow. Not next week. It is important to forgive perceived wrongs, to send a card or pick up the phone to tell someone you are thinking of them, to look up that old friend you were thinking about, and above all treasure today.

3.  Unclutter

Not just getting rid of the clutter in the attic or the basement (Lord knows mine currently need attention) but also throwing out what is not working in life and incorporating more of what is. I think it is always important to reassess, figure out what is important to you and go after it. Like writing for example, I have to stop putting obstacles in my path, sabotaging my own success. I need to stop being afraid to go after what I want and just do it. No more excuses. I have to stop running the other way by switching which story I’m currently working on when I hit “the wall.” It’s time to pick one story and finish the damn manuscript come what may.

4. Live Healthier

Hi, I’m Dana and I’m a diet coke addict. I could also stand to cut back on the junk food and move more. I love writing, but it’s kind of a fat girl sport. When I’m writing, I’m sitting on my butt behind a computer and let’s be honest, that does not lend itself to exercise. I need to force myself to get back to a regular exercise routine and eat the salad not the cookie currently calling my name from the pantry, and take the walk instead of sitting down with a book when I’m not writing.

Now you’ve heard some of my New Year’s resolutions–my promises to myself. Me, yelling at me to get it in gear and make better choices. I would love to hear some of yours.

I wish you all a 2012 full of health, happiness and writing inspiration.

22 thoughts on “Season of Change

  1. Hi Dana! First–I hope you are healed or at least very close to it! Lots of things stuck out in this wonderful post…”even if there were, “perfect” would look different to everyone”–I’ve never heard it put exactly that way but it’s so true! And for the getting healthy and exercising part, I may have already shared this with you but I have come up with a really good way to get excited about sweating on a daily basis. What you do is create a hero whose sole purpose is to hang out and watch you as you are on the treadmill or whatever exercise you do at home. He can give you flirty looks, admire your curves, be your dj, whatever floats your boat! (It works best from home but I suppose you could take dreamy man to the gym, afterall he stays safely tucked away in your head)! Happy New Year!!!

  2. Great post, Dana, and wonderful reminder to us all to examine our priorities. I blogged yesterday about the Winds of Change and things I need to improve, so we’re on the same wavelength. Great minds… 🙂 Of course, there the similarity disappears. I’m so NOT organized, with time or anything else. I have to make some changes, start focusing on what’s important and making the most of my time.

    I hope you shake this last of this illness soon. I’m looking forward to breakfast and catching up.

  3. I’m slowly getting better Carlene. All I have to say is thank God for percocet or I would never sleep! That is an interesting idea–creating an imaginary companion to motivate you when working out. I’ll have to give it a try. Lord knows I don’t need to embarrass myself in front of any REAL people, especially not after being down for the count for the past month plus. Then again it might be handy to have someone around to dial 9-1-1! LOL!

    Anita, what can I say? Great minds think alike! We all have our strengths and our weaknesses, and we all have things we need to improve on. And if your really feeling bad about the unruly state of your house you can come over and see the disaster area that is usually called my closet. LOL! While I am uber-organized almost everywhere else I never seem to get to the closet. The only thing that could help that baby now would be a hand grenade or to pull everything out, purge and start over. Yet another project for the new year, perhaps?

  4. Hope you are feeling better Dana. I know about ripping those chest muscles (a bout with bronchitis 20+ years ago showed me). Not fun at all! Best in 2012 to you and your lists. I’ve been a list maker, too but after years of finding half completed lists in every folder of my house–I’ve narrowed it to one ‘family’ priority list which includes household repairs and major family issues–wisdom teeth extractions, college classes, etc.

    Getting back into exercise with our jobs is not easy. I love Carlene’s idea of ‘hero’ and thought I was the only one who did that. Happy to know I am in good company. Usually a picture of most recent inspiration–last year it was Hugh Jackman while I was writing Wanted: One Ghost. Nothing like having Hugh’s smiling face and cut abs staring at you as you sweat it out on the treadmill!

    All the best to you all out there! Good luck on all your resolutions!

  5. Dana, I hope you feel better soon!!! You have my best wishes for a healthy rest-of-the-winter!
    I really like your resolutions. I’ve been doing a fair amount of yelling at myself (to get in gear) this morning as well, so your post is quite timely.
    “I love writing, but it’s kind of a fat girl sport.” Ha! I love this line. So true. At some point, however, I think I saw a video of Kieran Kramer walking slowly on a treadmill all day long as she writes. It’s an interesting idea, but I’m not sure it would work for me. Might be worth a try for some people, though…

  6. Ha! Yeah, I can see it now P. H., me walking on a treadmill and writing at the same time would last about three and a half seconds before I face planted! I could only wish to be so coordinated! 🙂

  7. Awesome post, Dana! I hope you’re feeling much better! I loved all your great points. I wanted to say that one type of exercise I do (as P.H. also brought up) is that I walk on a treadmill and write on my laptop at the same time. The treadmill has a small desk attached to the front of it. I have no problem at all with it or getting dizzy. I have a friend who says there’s no way she could do it. Maybe not because she gets motion sickness way more easily than I do. But I find it helps me think better and create better. I forget I’m walking until I start getting tired.

  8. “Not just getting rid of the clutter in the attic or the basement (Lord knows mine currently need attention) but also throwing out what is not working in life and incorporating more of what is.” That lesson couldn’t have come at a better time for me. I read that and had a little ah-ha moment. Gracias, Dana!

  9. Thanks for stopping by Vonda! I am feeling better, although that could have something to do with just coming back from the doctor with a new prescription for percocet! LOL! At least I should be able to sleep tonight. 🙂 I don’t get motion sick easily and I LOVE roller coasters, hang gliding, rappelling, etc., but I just don’t think I have the coordination to walk and type at the same time. Maybe one day I’ll be brave enough to try it… Did you have to order the desk attachment for your treadmill or did it come with it? Heaven knows it would make my life easier if I could combine exercise and writing. 🙂

  10. Avery, I’m so glad I could be of service. I can’t tell you how many a-ha moments I have had over the past month laying in bed or on my sofa, too sick to actually accomplish anything. I like to think that things happen in your life that force you to look at things differently. Maybe this was one of those times for me–a time to sit back and reevaluate.

  11. Love the idea of uncluttering life–now if only I can do that. I’ve got the diet and exercise thing down, but life clutter…not a chance! Tell you what. Once you’re better, I’ll cheer you on and send you a pedometer . You can just kick my butt about my life.

  12. Hey Dana, glad you are feeling better. Thought provoking post. Love Vonda’s idea of writing while on the treadmill, but I could never do that. Would throw me off. However, using something like Dragon or other voice activated software to do the typing while you do the walking sounds doable.

    I read something this year that stuck with me. Most New Years resolution type stuff involves adding things we all need to do: getting organized, eating better, exercise, etc., but this article was about each NY focusing on something to eliminate in our lives. Most of us live with so little margin, it comes as no surprise when we don’t have time to do the things that matter. So here’s to taking things off the list, rather than adding them for 2012.

  13. Thanks for stopping by Miriam and Derek! It’s so good to see so many of my Celtic Heart clan today. 🙂

    Miriam, I’m all about it! When I get to the point that even mild exercise doesn’t make me want to cough up a lung I would love to have a cheering section!

    Derek, I agree with what you are saying about what most people make their NY resolutions about, and it comes as no surprise that most people don’t stick with it. This year, after a lot of reflection, I just feel a need to simplify. I looked around at all of the unnecessary crap in my life that is bogging me down and realized how freeing it would be to toss it all aside and start fresh with things that are uplifting and enriching.

  14. I just found you ladies and love this post! Agree with DerekD that the idea of finding a place you can/should simplify your life is a wonderful way to go instead of making resolutions which merely add more to your to do lists.

    Hope you feel better soon. Wish you had a wordpress ‘follow’ button!

  15. Glad you are feeling better first and foremost, but this post is gospel, missy. I love it. In particular number 3! That hits home for me big time…the challenge is getting the courage to take that first step.

  16. Hey Dana, I’m glad you’re feeling better and enjoy the percocet while it lasts. I’m going to save this post for closer examination when I’m on the train tomorrow. This is so exactly what I need to kick-start the year. Two resolutions so far: my personal trainer is now giving me “homework.” And I’m doing the 30 days to a new habit: flossing my teeth! (honest, when they have to numb your gums to get through the exam, it is not a pretty moment in one’s life…) Hmmm, the year so far would seem to be all about body-maintenance (sigh). Happy New Year!

  17. Welcome Ellie, and I’m so glad you joined us! With today’s demanding schedules and the constant feeling of needing to be somewhere or do something to keep up I think it’s important to make sure that what your racing to keep up with is important to you.

    And I’ll see what I can do about adding a ‘follow’ button. Here that fellow mermaids? What do you think?

  18. Denny, I hear you, that first step is HARD, but you are a courageous woman I know you can accomplish anything you set your mind to!
    When I’m tackling a new project I usually try to tackle one thing per day/week or whatever. Like changing the beds or cleaning the bathrooms on a particular day of the week–if you have only one or two tasks that have to be done each day then it doesn’t make keeping up with the housework such a challenge. I’m hoping that I can apply that to other tasks on a larger scale… work on getting rid of one bad habit at a time or adding one good one like blocking off time for writing or exercise that I plan around.
    And congratulations on your fabulous and exciting news! You must be a very good mom to have raised such a wonderful son… and now your gaining a daughter!

  19. Yikes Susan, that dental visit does not sound fun! We all have our strengths and weaknesses, and I think that it is admirable that you are putting your health to the forefront in the new year. As far as priorities go I think taking care of yourself should always be high on the list. After all, how can we take care of the people we love and accomplish great things when we put ourselves last? And if we are always putting ourselves last, what example does that set for our children?

    1. Agreed! Isn’t it great when people think you’re doing exactly the right thing? And, when I get more confidence about meeting goals I will (cough) clear the dining room table. Argh.

  20. Dana-Mermaid – what a wonderful post! My mom and I are sitting here reading it and we agree with everything you said! Happy New Years to you and I hope you finally feeling better! Smoochies! 😉

  21. Smoochies to you and your mom, Kerri! And thank you for the well wishes! 🙂 I know you have had a difficult end to the year and I hope the new year brings you lots of good things!

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