Unnatural Divisions with the Calender: A year in Review

It was the year 2014, only seen through the tunnel-vision to the past.

It was January 1st and I sat in my winged-back chair compiling my list of annual goals. There were twenty.

Would you like to review them with me, now? Those goals I compiled so long ago? If so, I can divulge my successes and incompletes. As Yoda would say: Evaluate, shall we?

I need to break these down into categories that make sense. OK, so how about: Ongoing goals. These will be the goals I made in 2014 that will be striven to be attained for the rest of my life. Like Goal #1. Listen, listen, listen. Did I become a better listener? Maybe. Was I ever a crappy listener? Not necessarily, but we can always become better listeners.

#7. Find a better way to motivate myself. Sometimes the only way to find something is to stumble upon it. I never really found a good way to motivate myself in 2014. I built some good habits, but that is different. It wasn’t until a couple days ago that I stumbled upon motivation for this new year. ( http://www.cracked.com/blog/6-harsh-truths-that-will-make-you-better-person-updated ) This article basically says that no one really cares if you are a good or nice person. People don’t care about what your dreams are. People care about what you are doing. I agree and I will let this motivate me. Thank you, Cracked.com. It seems I get half of my food for thought from your smart-alec lists and commentary.

#14. List things I am grateful for, particularly when I am feeling low. Though I rarely did this on paper, I did it several times in my mind. It is a great habit and I intend to utilize it throughout my journey to the other side.

There are other goals that I look at now and I laugh at. Loftier goals and I pause, “What was I thinking?” #4. Become unconditionally constructive in everything I say. HA! or #16. Do not take family member’s problems personally. Yeah, right. I’m thin skinned and how can I not take it personally? It’s my family. It’s personal, right?

#6 Develop a spiritual curriculum. Great goal, but it pretty much would require my ongoing focused energy for five years. It would take not only immense time devoted to study. It would take tremendous discipline.

#9. Build meditation and yoga into daily schedule. Perhaps there was progress here. I have a stretching, self foot massage and visualization meditation routine I go through at night. It is called “Seven Minutes of Magic in the Evening” developed by Lee Holden. (I prolong it for at least a half hour.) It almost always makes me feel much better, yet I am not consistent. I will do it for a few days in a row. One night I will be too tired so I skip it. The next thing I know, I haven’t done my routine in a month.

Saturn, the Master Architect, has now moved into my sector of Belief. Now would be a good time to start really focusing on the yoga and meditation, the spiritual texts.

There were those goals that I had no problem accomplishing. Either they came without concerted effort or they were not the issues I thought they would be. #2. Expand my vocabulary. I’ve got to tell you, if you ever want to expand your vocabulary, start writing. Inadvertently, I also became a better speller. (Or rather, I’ve realized just how bad my spelling is. As the years progress, I become a worse and worse speller and lord knows where I would be without typing some letters into the search box awaiting the correct form to appear and set my frustration at ease). The English language is horrid. There are just so many ways a word can go.

#15. Establish better boundaries with friends. This didn’t turn out to be an issue. My friends were my source of joy this year. When I was able to spend time with them I was able to enjoy myself, remember myself. The only complaint I had this year was I would have liked to spend more time with them.

#13. Research and experiment a gluten-free diet. In spades! I took nutrition courses with Paula Youmell. Thank you, Paula! I now and forever will eat consciously. I enjoy food so much more and feel fantastic! http://www.paulayoumellrn.com/

#12. Get knee care and healing. Get Medicaid. This was a two part goal. In 2013, I was experiencing knee-pain daily. The standing and power-walking from one wing of the school to the next was taking it’s toll on me. In September of 2014, I contacted a healer from Portland, Oregon. Thank you, Heather! I’ve been a huge Reiki advocate for awhile now, but I must admit I was a bit skeptical of distance Reiki. Rest assured, the pain dissipated! I am a convert! http://www.heatherstraube.com/ This past spring I started running every other day. I like to think I will be a runner for life. My legs ache, but both equally. There is no more centralized pain. It is the pain every runner deals with, like a badge of pride until they drop face down in the mud from an Asthma attack. My grandmother reminds me I am approaching middle-age.

Get Medicaid was the other part. Both times I went to screw with it, the online systems were rendered inoperable due to apparent overuse. I don’t count this as a big failure. What I believe in is alternative medicine and preventative medicine. I hate the way hospitals smell like the walls have been white-washed by baby food and urine. They look like they have, too. If I was buying a gallon of paint at Lowe’s for a hospital I would ask for Hospital Urine or Regurgitated Baby Food. I don’t trust hospitals or doctors of general variety. They may implant a tracking device under my skin. They may inject me with virus. Keep your obsolete disease tendrils. No Flu Vaccine, thanks. My campaign slogan is: “No healthcare? No big loss.”

I may sound paranoid, but just ask yourself if you honestly trust these people.

There are different varieties of animals that will hole themselves underneath a trailer. They will peer over their shoulder as they skit off into the bushes, slime and bugs in their fur. There are the type of animal that live on the next level above the floor. They peer over their hunched shoulders as they make for the back woodshed, slime and carcass in their twisted locks. These will not be going to the hospital. Salt of the earth I count myself among you.

There were those goals I failed miserably at but this sets the goal up for revision, if nothing else. I did not #17. Complete rough draft by June 1st, by writing or researching everyday. or #18. Get LinkedIn profile complete. However, my failure in these areas gave to examination of that same question of motivation. I was writing, but it wasn’t the novel I had wanted to finish. I’m not even sure that is the story I want to be telling right now, anyhow. We make goals but we must decipher muses. This professional profile is like a thorn in the side. This to is a question of approach. I need to not look at it like another job application I do not want to fill out. I need to look at it like a support system I have put years into building.

There were goals that I accomplished yet I still wish to revise. #10. Be prepared prior to next Christmas with thoughtful gifts and less commercialism. This one is loaded. The thing is; it’s not the lack of thoughtfulness that foils me. It is always the finance. It doesn’t matter how much time or consideration goes into a gift when you can’t scrounge the money together for it until the last moment. So much for preparation when there is no money to buy that time.

It reminds me of gardening. I think, “Oh, I’m going to do it all myself, be this powerhouse.” Maybe what is at the root of this is that I need to learn to be more clever, more resourceful. So it isn’t just the planning… it’s existing inventory counted. It’s creativity and ingenuity. It’s the seed swaps and the compost heaps and taking all the rotting wood in the shed and designing some sort or five tiered tower of edible plant. I think what is at the heart of this goal is that I want to become a master of repurposed materials. I want to become a genius at it. I want to become one of those freaks of nature on Pinterest with a backyard that looks like it’s off the show HOARDERS. “No, no really. I will be able to use that at some point.” Some people are born great, others will decay in a junkyard, BURIED ALIVE.

But don’t matter how much you plan when you don’t have the initial money for investment! Time and money will rob you of you cleverness, sly fox.

I would have grouped this under the Ongoing Goals however my plan to cut consumerism sort of worked. It just hadn’t realized I had to factor in exceptions. I baked cookies like I always do. Everyone enjoys the cookies. I even added rice flour and sucanet instead of sugar, in consideration of my brother’s heart and in exhibition of my new knowledge. My sister loved them. She wanted the recipe. I made a simple healthy butternut squash soup. My sister-in-law loved it. She wanted the recipe. I went to this treasure of a sprawling bookstore out in the woods of the Adirondack approach. I found them books. They were happy enough with them and my gift was also the travel and the gas mileage to see them. So, so far so good.

Not so with nieces who are still into princesses. When you have a seven year old niece there are exceptions to the commercialism cut goal. I wrapped her up this Nordic book from the 70’s about a boy who made shadow puppets then shrunk and entered their world. It was a really imaginative story and I thought it would capture her imagination. When she opened it she was disappointed. Because I am Aunt B, she expected something awesome. I brought another present for her birthday, but it did not come off as a present because it was a project for us to do together. I had duct taped a cigar box and she and I were decoupaging pictures of canyons and grand landscapes on to hold her rock collection. Last year there were Monster High Dolls. The family birthday party was bigger with more presents last year. My brother and sister-in-law already do so much. My sister was taking my niece abroad to Prague for Christmas. So, there weren’t many presents to open. Plus, I don’t believe any of us want to bludgeon my niece with the out-of-perspective materialism my mother always carries for baggage. Speaking of her, I believe my niece was also missing my mother who hadn’t made it. She seemed ready to cry. She went to bed with a stomach ache but my sister read her the shadow people book. They said she liked it.

My niece is lucky. I realize that. She deserves it, though. She is sweet and special. All kids deserve to be treated like the cherished only heir to the bloodline. We celebrated in the daytime by going to the movies. She got a Flicker (from my sister’s ex). It is a scooter you sway side to side on to make go. It is quite a piece of equipment and we all had fun trying it out. My sister was giving her a birthday party with her friends on the following weekend. My sister and her boyfriend were taking her to Czech Republic for the lights festivals. The kid is not hard up.

But I did have a realization about my own place as an aunt. The disappointment is not worth any experiment of ideals. Childhood flies by. Before we know it, she will be making off to her room as quick as possible to play her music and computer. There will only be a few more years of that certain type of excitement. Sure, it’s not completely unselfish. It makes me feel good. So, I’ve redefined the goal. I will continue to indulge myself by indulging her.

There are some goals that took care of themselves. #8 was to Do a personal makeover. What can I say? I felt completely uninspired. I could not think of a hairstyle I wanted to commit to and let my hair grow longer and longer like the bird watching, semi-pagan rocking-roller that I am.

I lie basking in my own body odor over Christmas vacation. Even the Thai Crystal will not neutralize my hairy apish arm pits. It wasn’t one of my goals to become a dirty hippy this year. Yet, here I am. Languid in my bed, rubbing underarm juices onto my finger and sniffing it. I’ve done it five times because I can’t decide if it is intoxicating or revolting. Let’s face it, too many showers dry the skin. I’ve had nowhere to be. No one to see today aside from my grandmom and she has been exposed to hippies way dirtier than I am.

Speaking of crunchy hygiene alternatives, you aren’t doing yourself any favors by using Tom’s All Natural FENNEL toothpaste. Unless you are fond of tasting licorice and acquiring raging thirst right before bed. If this is your bag, I recommend the Fennel.

I was toothpaste shopping in Rite Aid this past summer, thinking a drugstore’s selection is far superior to a supermarket’s. Here I stand with all of my options that are probably manufactured by the same two companies. There is an older-than-me couple facing the same options. The woman is irritated that they do not have her toothpaste. She fusses, not in an unbecoming way, but in a measured- a truly upset way. I, in my mind’s eye, thrust my pointed finger at her, exclaiming, “Ha! TAURUS!” Only a Taurus would become this distraught over toothpaste. Two vital things have been compromised; her sense of comfort (lacking the toothpaste she always has in her daily routine) and her precious paramount expert taste buds. Her significant other, (still able to remember his bachelor days as an experimental consumer), is about to grab a tube. She begs with this sad sort of resignation, “Please, don’t get that toothpaste.” She turns away in her quiet dignity and leaves us behind in the aisle. He puts the toothpaste down and follows her.

I shall have an easier time picking toothpaste. I am carefree bachelorette, always willing to explore options. I grab something that looks more promising than the others.

At home, I’m disgusted when I taste the toothpaste. I can’t even deal. I’m disgusted when I retry an old discarded tube I had abandon because it did not taste good the first time I tried it. How do people use this in their mouth? It tastes like poison. I believe it to be the fluoride. It’s not just the plight of Taurus! I have a problem with toothpaste, too! I’ve joined the ranks of the particular toothpaste shopper. I will now turn from the aisle in despair. (Well, aggravated impatience is more my style.) Never doubt a Taurus when it comes to discerning the creature comforts. They shall be the first to pronounce the disparities between toothpastes, and the rest of us shall follow suit.

So the quest for perfect underarm neutralizer/ deodorizer and toothpaste continue. However, I did find some things worth sticking to. I developed an unshakable affinity for both Dr. Bonner’s Shampoo and Elderberry Juice. I’ve come to like the the peppermint buzz on my scalp. I’ve come to like a more gritty or congealed texture of hair. It may not look as clean, but the body is thicker and the smell is shampoorific. I’ve come to gulp watered down Elderberry Juice like a kid from the projects gulps down Kool-Aid. How did I live so long before discovering this?

Saturn left my rising sign just before Christmas. Astrologer Kelley Rosano says, “Celebrate! Exhale in relief!” I say, “Don’t let the door hit you on the ass on the way out!”

I’m kidding. Saturn leaves gifts if you’ve learned the lessons it has confronted you with – if you’ve managed the restrictions with grace. I am healthier and that is an essential foundation for everything else I must face as the wheel of the zodiac turns. If I have not gained anything more than dietary knowledge and practice, a love for running, a respect for the time I need by myself, and a discernment of hygiene products, I have gained an immense amount!

I’m reminded of Jim Morrison at the end of “Ghost Song”. “Where are the feasts we were promised?” my friend Sean recited spacey late at night in their kitchen. These are the gifts. These memories of friends that always stick with me. The gifts are often subtle. The gifts are ghosts. (Insert something here about Chekhov to appear sexy.)

Everyone is filled with the spirit of self-improvement during this season. Do it this way! Do it that way! Have patience. Go after it. Take no prisoners, but don’t go against the flow. Relax. Take initiative. Heed it all. It is a delicate balance. And above all, make mistakes.

I think the reason to make New Year’s Goals is not so much in the attainment. Yes, it is wonderful to have the extra guidance of a list. It is very good to be chasing something. The real value comes though, when you find you have something on which to evaluate your passed year from. It is a tool to measure your own growth, in the expected and unexpected ways.

The beautiful thing is it may not work out as expected.

Do I worry my writing is hokey with trite Pollyanna values tied neatly in, designed to be discredited the next time I post in a bad mood? Yes. Do I question whether my ideas are original enough, that I’m unconsciously employing glib and transparent slogans from elsewhere on the internet? Yes. I’m trying to be funny. I’m trying to be real. I’m trying to be vulnerable, but Yes. There is doubt. I worry I am self-absorbed or dull. This article may seem anal, recounting each and every goal. Yes. However, I wrote it. I fucking DID it. (Me and the fucking Chief Editor over at Cracked.com – We fucking DID it.)

If you are wondering where #3, #5, #11, #19 and #20 are, then you are good with numbers.

I just need to finish the damned article already. It’s taken blasted days. My feelings and perspective change everyday. I feel like I should have written three more articles before I’ve even finished this one. So please, no more fine tuning.

I kind of write this blog to keep track of myself anyhow… and to evaluate my experiences. If someone else can get something from it that is a bonus.

As I get ready to head back to the public education system again, I am comforted by this storm that rears. I walk feeling the resonance with tall, aged tree.. decaying but still monumental against the rolling clouds. I realize that the weather is always right. It is always fitting. It reminds me that things are always evolving as I head back to that dead end tomorrow. I realize there is something much deeper than this whole article. That is, that I belong with the enchantment of nature. I am deeper than all of this.

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