Strengthening the resolve

The season to be dysfunctional jolly is here, once again. Gaudy decorations are sparkling away tirelessly and recipes are nagging to be tried and tasted.

giphyCelebrations to usher in the new year are being planned, finalised even.

So let’s begin planning the year ahead.

In very much the same way 2017 has sped past, 2018 won’t be holding back.

Resolutions

It’d be a great help if you still have the tattered 2017 New Year Resolution list lying around somewhere. Or filed away in some folder instead of sticky-noted to the screen like it was on the 1st or 2nd of January 2017.

Helpful because this is how you get to review your progress. Step back from your frantic year-end meetings and marvel at your progress over the last 330 or so days since you made the necessary amendments to your habits.

Or you get to list all of the new ways you’ve failed yourself and make a mental note to try different ways next year.

Whichever the case, reminiscing triggers some of that glassy-eyed fervour that helped you make the list in the first place.

Righting the wrongs

Scanning the months of the year, you might find that some of the listed resolutions were forgotten in the frenzy of surviving 2017. Presidents were elected and comfort food was needed. Social injustice continued to rise and gym memberships declined.

These things happen. ‘S called Life.

You might also find that some of the listed items were (unintentionally or not) completed. Partially completed is a win, seeing as its only November and you have just over 3 fortnights to make that mad dash down the checklist.

This would give you ample practice for next years marathon. Maybe two days a week (in 2017) going through your now updated list of resolutions might give you the stamina you need…?

Solving the reward system

Monitor each step taken into the abyss of progress. Steep valleys, laced with the nectar of blossoming success stories reveal themselves as private evaluations become publicly observable. That job you can finally apply for, now that you’ve finished that course with the endless paperwork…those non-stretch pants, untouched since they were bought because of the traumatic political climate (and the maelstrom of doughnuts and various carbs).

These effects of you being dedicated to your resolutionary checklist become their own reward. The more of them you get, the more you’ll want.

So be careful, 2018 might find you more competitive if you start winning it over this year.

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The Long Walk to Work

Sifting through my earliest memories of time spent with my mother, I found this little gem and the life lessons reflected to me. A lesson of love, given freely to two little gremlins with apparent personality disorders (at the time)…

It’s a typical Monday morning in the 90’s. My eight year old twin and I had come to the conclusion that we weren’t going to school that day. It didn’t really matter what we did, we just weren’t in the mood for that prison camp. Our mother, already late for work and panicking about our decision, made up her mind to take us to work and deal with the situation from there. To this day, I respect the single mothers who, despite the consequences, still take their children to work to make sure they’re safe. Oblivious to our mother’s predicament, my brother and I were ecstatic. We were going on an excursion to town. How exciting!

Leaving the house and shutting the gate behind us, the lock snapped closed, signalling the end of the security of home. We were on the open road, ready for adventure. We stepped onto that road and I remembered that we still had to make our way to the bus stop, just over a kilometre away. The lengthy stretch ahead seemed to mock my resolution to skip being driven to school by my grandfather earlier that morning. My mother’s curt voice snapped me out of developing tantrum and her perfume reminded me that while I was with her, I was safe. I was getting what I wanted, I was spending time with my mother.

After what felt like hours in the desert sun (actually 5 minutes in the shade of a tree-lined suburban road), a car hooted loudly behind us and our mother herded us off the road as it sped by. Watching the tail lights shrinking in the distance, a wave of frustration and anger overwhelmed me as I wondered why I had to mutilate my poor feet and tire my legs walking when others had cars. Not wanting to upset my mother (and achieving exactly that), I took my frustrations out on my brother. The tedium of the walk had bored me enough to forget that I was supposed to be having fun. Paying no attention to us, my mother kept her hurried pace and soon, we realised that we were being left behind. Setting aside our differences for the moment, we united to make sure that we weren’t forgotten. We believed her when she said “I’ll leave you here in the middle of the road.”…when we finally made it to the bus stop, my brother remembered that he had a bone to pick with me (and the world), so he continued the saga…but that’s not my story to tell.

The lessons from Gremlin Avenue were always there but only with years of hindsight am I able to begin comprehending their relevance to my life today. My mother’s optimism in taking us to work, knowing her decision would be frowned upon, is what revealed her heroism to my brother and I. My mother’s commitment to her responsibilities as a parent and to her contract at work forced her to make grim sacrifices but she persevered, just like we did with our short legs on Gremlin Avenue. “Keep moving forward”, a phrase introduced to me years later but demonstrated long before I understood the concept.
My mother’s humble reaction to the neighbours passing us taught me that I had no right to begrudge people for having something that I didn’t. On this planet, I’m only entitled to her love (considering my mood swings, even that’s pushing it). My mother forgave our selfishness, our inability to grasp the consequences of our actions quelled her anger and as she proudly introduced is to her colleagues who fawned over us, my brother and I turned into cupid’s little helpers. Of course, she was also making arrangements to get us the hell out of there before we got bored and revealed the reason we were known as gremlins at home.

The long walk to work was worth all the blood (not my story to tell…), sweat and tears.

I love you mummy.