J.C. Schildbach, LMHC
It’s time, once again, to take a look back at the year…or a look back at things I said at the beginning of the year, about what I intended to do this year…and rate just how well I did at fulfilling those intentions.
So, without further ado, here are those resolutions, and what I did about them.
Resolution 1: Be less informed. This resolution was basically a response to the constant deluge of stupidity, in the form of “news”, that was Donald Tyrannosaurus Rump—and the need to step away from that from time to time. Granted, while it was nearly impossible to escape the wall-to-wall coverage, in almost all forms of media, of T. Rump’s every infantile Twitter rant, as well as the ugliness of his words in general, and his face in particular, it was also almost impossible to keep up with the sheer number of tantrums he threw…threw all the way to the mother-grabbing White House. Now, thanks to a cluster of citizens with a firm grasp on fictionalized information, a deep sense of misplaced anger, and an enthusiastic appreciation of childish insults and threats (so long as those insults and threats are directed at “others”), combined with numerous additional factors, not the least of which is citizens who decided it was more entertaining to allow the world’s deadliest military and largest economy to be turned over to a nightmarish clown lacking the appropriate level of self control required to manage a Twitter account, than it was to vote, we get to listen to this cotton-candy-coiffed, deranged man-baby every day for the next four years…assuming he doesn’t get us all killed sometime before then. I’d call this resolution a draw in that I was able to tune it out from time to time, despite its ubiquity, if it weren’t for the fact that we’re all losers in this scenario. But, what the hell, the U.S. was really only an experiment in democracy anyway.
Resolution 2: Take better care of my toenails. Well, this falls into a much lighter category than Resolution 1. And, I’m happy to report, it was a great success…well, by my standards anyway. Of course, my standards for toenail hygiene are somewhere between those of the ‘Lost Boys’ (the vampires, not Peter Pan’s young chums) and your average elderly sloth (the rainforest beasts, not your lazy relatives). The success of this resolution can be attributed to the fact that, early in the year, I bought a really kickass set of nail clippers. I won’t get into how a Squatty Potty ™ may have also played a significant role in making this resolution a big win. But, there you have it.
Resolution 3: Read books, not Internet comments sections. In explaining this resolution last year, I mentioned an “unhealthy addiction to reading the comments sections following articles on the Internet.” Thing is, though, you don’t just resolve to stop an addiction. An addiction can mar your brain, and lead you in devastating loops of destructive behavior. That said, I’m marginally better at walking away from comments sections after I get that initial taste. But steering clear entirely…nope. As for reading more books…I did a terrible job of tracking my reading on Goodreads this year…and since the Internet has become a substitute for me remembering anything…I’m just going to say, I read plenty of good stuff. There were even long stretches of days where I would get up, make some coffee, and read through at least one chapter–each– of two different books before accomplishing anything else with my day. Strangely enough, I read a number of autobiographical and clinical works involving addiction and mental illness, as well as plenty of fiction involving gods fighting gods fighting humans, and other generally apocalyptic funfests. At this time, I’m actively reading four different books, less actively reading at least three others, and may have abandoned another two or three altogether, so…uh…I’ll get back to you (or not) when I have a better, more quantifiable answer than all that.
Resolution 4: Enjoy what I ingest. The first thing that came to mind when I considered this resolution was that I repeatedly ordered cases of Soylent from Amazon. That is not a solid indication that I was taking the time to really enjoy the preparation and consumption of food. It is a pretty clear indication that I found a workaround for the annoying task of eating—substituting a pre-packaged, liquid, protein-based meal for actual food. Hell, the commercials for Soylent pushed it as a way to save all that wasted time that’s involved in eating lunch. Beyond that, I can say that I did enjoy plenty of meals throughout the year, prepared by the wife, the kid, friends, family, various professionals, and myself…most recently, a wonderful Italian Christmas stew (okay, I don’t know if ‘Christmas’ is really part of the name of that dish). There was happy hour at an Irish pub on the Washington coast where we purchased a yet-to-be-obeyed Irish cookbook, Omakase on our anniversary, and a different form of omakase at a different restaurant for the kid’s graduation. Weird weather made for a strange gardening experience over the spring, summer, and fall–massive tomato bushes in constant need of trimming, that didn’t start producing fruit until late July, overly productive cucumber plants, barely-productive bell pepper plants, an abundance of shishito peppers that we’re still working through, and a months-long trickle of snap-peas. Oh…there was also that ‘let’s see if we can grow corn in containers’ experiment, which was semi-successful, in that we could grow corn…but had no idea when to harvest it, as it never really got “corn-sized.” But, triumph of triumphs, I actually managed, after many years of on-again/off-again attempts at growing pumpkins, to produce a few gourds big enough for the Halloween knife and fire. But, wait—this was supposed to be about eating and enjoying. I’ll count this a success, on many fronts, including a deep reduction in the drunken consumption of frozen pizzas and chili dogs, and a sharp uptick in the consumption of smoothies and salads…drunken and not. And, hell, the Soylent was even much better than a lot of things I could’ve been ingesting, so…
That brings us to…
Resolution 5: More pretty bows?
Okay, here is where the whole concept of measurable goals really becomes important…or fails to become important. This ‘concept’ of ‘more pretty bows’ came to me in what I thought might be a moment of true inspiration. But I didn’t really have a solid idea of what it meant, or how to achieve it. I made a little meme-ish thing (an earth-and-metallic-toned photograph of bows, with greyish letters spelling out ‘more pretty bows’) that I posted at my desk at work…y’know, my real job. But I realized just a bit ago, that when I re-located cubicles, I had lost or tossed that little meme-ish thing. It’s probably stuck to the back of some other thing that’s still at my desk. Or it may have been stuck to the back of some other thing that I threw away. But…as much as it was supposed to be about prettying things up, or appreciating beauty, or whatever…it really didn’t amount to much. I won’t call this a failure. But I won’t call it a success either. So, I suppose it’s like most of life. Which is beautiful enough in its not-success/not-failure. Or is that its not-failure/not success? Or is it just failure that’s going unacknowledged? Or success that’s going unacknowledged? All of which is beautiful in itself…or not.
Anyway, peace out, 2016. Smell ya’ later. You were a year.
Though I am really happy about your toenails (except I wish I could gouge out my mind’s-eye with respect to the squatty potty contribution to that success), that paragraph about your first resolution is stunning in its perfection.