Please, excuse that this post has no relation whatsoever to literature, but I have been reflecting on some issues that recently came up around here and I felt the need to write them down somewhere.
It’s just that, like everyone else, I had goals that I thought would change my life for the better, but it turned out the exact opposite was profoundly benefitial. I’m no longer assuming anything, people!
Let me explain some of my goals, and how they alone decided to take a different path altogether:
Goal 1: Be productive and organized
Yes, I am a big fan of planners and all those Instagram accounts dedicated to bullet journals and such; I enjoy being busy and crossing out tasks I need to complete, and I live accordingly to what has been written down for every day on my planner, but guess what: I got the flu just after Christmas and for eight days I was basically surviving and doing NOTHING. I even spent New Year’s morning in the emergency room at the hospital because I lost conciousness when I was about to have breakfast. What a plan!
My parents took me to their home due to my hypotension and high fever, so I was not left alone at my place, and those first days I found myself feeling guilty of being unproductive! This productivity disease we live in makes you feel this way. Fortunately, I later learned to go with the flow and enjoy my downtime as I was recovering: I would read some of the books from my parents’ library to pass the time while they were out working and, after dinner, the four of us (my sister was also staying there during her Christmas break) would watch a TV series and enjoy some time together.
Do you know when was the last time we were together like this? To be honest, I can’t even remember and, most importantly, I don’t know if and when will happen again. So thank you, Real life, for those unproductive and yet deeply satisfying days with my loved ones; they have been some of the highlights of the last months.
Goal 2: Read more books
I did want to read more books in 2018 than the previous year, of course, because I am a book blogger, right? You can only aspire to be a better blogger and a better reader if you read more than before, more than everybody else… MORE.
Well, today I am pleased to announce that I told my book club coordinator I cannot keep attending our mettings. I quitted the club.
For the last 2 months I have been unable to keep up with the reading pace, which is one book per fortnight (up to 300 pages, no more), so my strategy, in order to secure my spot, consisted on reading less than half of the book, attending the meetings and sit quiet while the rest of the group had a conversation about that book I hadn’t read. There is a long waiting list of people who want to join these book clubs due to the limited spots, so today I finally came to my senses and decided to let this activity go. It was hard because I made good friends there but, anyway, we will remain friends and I feel at ease again knowing I don’t have to read a particular book at a particular pace.
I am not reading that much this year, it seems, and now it is OK.
Goal 3: Spend more time doing what you love
While I really believe one should have her own time to do things you enjoy, I have realized that I have fallen into a spiral of selfishness: what’s important seems to be *my* goals, *my* dreams, *my* hobbies… myself.
Some weeks ago, one of those days I was devoting *my* time to *my* hobbies, I walked into the sitting room and heard my elderly neighbour crying for help through the wall that separates our apartments. The woman had fallen on the floor four hours ago and was unable to sit or get up. Shouting through her door, she gave me her daughter’s phone number (her mind is sharp as hell, thank goodness), so I called her daughter, she came with the keys, and we both got this old lady up. She later told me she thought she was going to spend the entire night on the floor and thanked me for being her “guardian angel”. While writing this, my eyes are getting wet again.
From that day I got two new habits: I call for her through the door when I go out, just to see if everything is fine, and I pay her a proper visit at least once a week. To be honest, sometimes it’s hard to stop thinking I should be doing other things (*my* things), but I feel I’m doing the *right* thing spending some time with her. Besides, she is happy to see me and she tells me she’s grateful for me to visit her, and that makes me feel useful and appreciated. I can’t ask for more.
Goal 4: Declutter your house
Yes, I have also read Marie Kondo’s book and went into a frantic tidying and decluttering marathon. This would fill an entire series of posts, but I’ll summarize the important point.
First of all, I am really glad that I did it; my home now is clean and tidy and there is no one single item that doesn’t have its own place and, more important, purpuse. But the process of decluttering have been emotionally draining and thought-provoking.
From the first days, when facing all the clothes I owned, I felt disgust towards myself. There were clothes I had never worn, with the labels and all! In the following days, I would also take out of closets presents I had never used. People have bought things for me, spending money so hard to earn, and I haven’t even looked at them. I had to face the person I had become: a hoarder and dissatisfied being who always wanted more. I mean, I could have lied to myself and told I’m not that bad, but proof was right in front of me; there is no way to scape your own flaws when they are finally revealed, you just acknowledge them and try to work little by little to build the person you really want to be.
You know, I had always read articles about consumerism and I agreed I had enough with the things I already owned. However, and I don’t really know how to explain this, I had never “felt it in my bones” like these past weeks while going in and out from my apartment to the dumpster, throwing what seemed an infinite number of garbage bags containing my things.
So the goal was to declutter, but the outcome was totally unexpected.
And this is it. Most of my resolutions have followed their own rules, and honestly, it is totally fine with me. I have come to the conclusion that I prefer real life rather than that unrealistic idea of the things you should do, which makes you lose sight of what’s actually relevant.
So tell me, how are your resolutions going? Has someone done major changes like I’ve been forced to do? Maybe I hope so 😉