I Have Been Doing Resolutions Wrong

January 2016 is almost over, and while this may seem obvious to many, it didn’t hit me until a few minutes ago.

Like many, I used to fall heavily into the enticing trap of resolutions. All the things I have shelved in the past few years Will. Be. Accomplished. in 2016. I have a brand new slate to play with, and by gum (um, what?) I will fill it up with pretty stuff, accomplished stuff, and stuff I will forever be proud of: because it will be perfect. 2016 will be an epic poem of my life, and it will be filled with lyrical sounds and wonderful meaning. YES!

No. A thousand times, no.

Why, do I hear you cry in protest? Because perfection isn’t a resolution, it is the result of a gradual progression of effort. Therefore my resolution of losing weight is ridiculous, because ideally I want to get fitter and healthier.

This is not new for me; I had this personal epiphany in early December. Therefore this time I haven’t made resolutions; I’ve got a list of things I want to include in my life.

The second reason I failed hard at maintaining resolutions is because I expected too much of myself. And yes, while that can occasionally be a good thing, introducing too much change all at once has been harmful for me. To continue with the example of losing weight, I started with a gym, a diet, and a water timetable all on the same day. (For the record, it was my birthday last year.) I went to the gym, and discovered that exercise makes you ravenous. Then I discovered that green salad doesn’t not fill you up for long. The next horrifying realisation was that if you suddenly go from drinking hardly any water to 4 litres in one day, you will spend the entire day peeing in the bathroom, or running to the bathroom to avoid peeing everywhere else. (Pro tip: just stay in there.) (Also, don’t do this. It is very bad for your body.)

On the other hand, I have trained my palate to dislike things that are bad for me. Candy is one, cola drinks are another. That isn’t to say that I don’t have the occasional lapse: I most certainly do. But on the whole, I will reach for a glass of water before having a cola. I’ve been like this for years, and I’ve only recently realised that I formed a habit which worked well for me.

Finally, the trap of resolutions was awful for me because I expected it to be 100%. 365 (or 366) days a year, I expected to succeed at every single resolution I had made. I hadn’t given myself breathing space to fall sick, have emergencies, or generally take a day off from my hamster wheel. That was epically stupid. Also, because I inevitably flunked out, I thought of myself as a failure and incapable of doing anything, and thus stopped everything. Another lesson for yours truly: if you flounder, don’t obsess. Pick yourself up, and keep at it. This.. this was challenging for me to do. Giving up entirely, and waiting for a better time is far easier.

This year will be different, no doubt, because I expect that I will improve my lifestyle, reach a few goals organically, and finally feel slightly satisfied (rather than useless and despairing).

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Mixed Metaphors

Speaking to my mother usually yields a few giggles when she’s in a good mood, because she has an incredibly silly sense of humour. Today was a good day because:

  1. She was describing a dessert concoction she had made in the morning, and I commented that it sounded revolting. So she sniffed a little (a technique she frequently uses to cover up that she’s trying not to laugh) and said, “It is like casting pearls before a monkey.” This is a horrible mashup of two metaphors from two languages: the first one being ‘casting pearls before swine’ from English, and the second being ‘bandar kya jaane adrak ka swadh‘ from Hindi, meaning ‘what does a monkey know about the taste of ginger’. Apparently, she didn’t want to call me swine. Go figure.
  2. I made a batch of honey-roasted peanuts yesterday, and have been asking my wretched parents to tell me how they have turned out since. My mother finally got fed up and says, “Wait. I’ll feed the peanuts to the monkey, and let you know.” My poor father has the starring role as the ‘monkey’, as he was known as Monkey Mohan when he was little.

Giggles all around.

2016, What Do You Have for Me?

Well, 2016 is finally here. Not that I was waiting for it, per se; more like I was waiting for the hell that was 2015 to end. Because so many things went wrong.

First off, health took a nosedive. Not mine, my parents’. Serious illness has dogged my father, although he manages to get better in between. But my mom; she’s a completely different story. She falls ill with things like dizziness, stomach aches, chest pains, itchy skin, and more besides. Each of these things are equally debilitating as a serious illness, but lack the convenient umbrella under which they can be grouped. Makes it harder to pinpoint, and almost impossible to cure. I can hardly remember a day when she didn’t feel at least once. It is heartbreaking.

Second, my family decided to implode. This is a painful subject for me. When something goes wrong between people you love, and it is all a horrible misunderstanding, you are left helpless. I tried and tried to get the relationship to mesh together again, but after all the tears and heartache, it is still only a poor facsimile of what was there before. It hurts me, but both parties will not yield in their own ways. I am so exhausted from dealing with righteous anger on both sides. I feel quite hopeless as a result.

Third, over the last year, my legal troubles have exploded. A case has been filed, and my lawyer estimates it will take over three years to sort out. This is in addition to trying to streamline other aspects like my grandparents’ inheritance, my aunt’s property, and my dearly beloved’s divorce case.

Fourth, work is slowly draining me dry. I have lost my ability to write creatively and fluidly, as I am slowly losing my sense of self. I feel like another cog in the machinery, after illogical decisions are made and bandied about.

I was hopeful about the new year, because primarily things had patched up a little within my family. But hectic schedules are taking me and my French student further apart, and so I feel desperately sad.

I lost a lot last year: my ability to be funny and happy. The glue that bound my family together. My conviction in a better tomorrow. All in all, the new year is just like the old one that has just finished. Bummer.