Sunday, August 27, 2006

Am I Making Any Progress?

Thank you to Digger's Unsolicited Advice for providing me with my first track back to respond to in my weekend report on my resolutions. Thanks, Digger, I appreciate your thoughts.

So, Resolution #1: Exercising three times per week, eating no junk food, and having plenty of home-cooked food. Mostly successful on this one, with one slip. I managed two swims, a good walk and going bowling with my partner. Digger has described my exercise resolution as fairly ambitious, but since I was already managing about twice a week, its not quite as much of a leap as it sounds. Making this resolution has generally raised my exercise level from about twice a week to four times a week. I am already noticing the benefits in terms of just generally feeling stronger and fitter and sleeping better.

I have kept up the cooking, but I did deliberately break the junk food resolution once. Yesterday, my partner was feeling quite down, and our Beautiful Boy was having one of those days where he is incredibly restless, everything you do is wrong and all he wants to do is whine. So I took them both down to the park for fish and chips, a play on the swings and a chat to the duckies. We had a great time, it was a circuit breaker for them, and I thought it was worth breaking my resolution once for that.

Resolution #2 : Having $100 per fortnight automatically deducated into an account that I don't touch. Yep, still managing not to touch that account. Digger has noted that I didn't say much about debt, but thats because we are already making progress on debt. Its savings we don’t have, and not just the savings themselves, but a savings habit, which in some ways is even more important. I am particularly attracted to Tajalude's idea of having $1,000 in the bank. And Digger's comments have reinforced the attraction of not having to resort to the credit cards in the event of an emergency.

Resolution #3: Doing something for myself every week that doesn't involve food and that feeds my heart, my mind, my spirit. This was slightly less successful than previously. I went with a friend to see an amateur production of Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. Its a great play, which focuses on the fate of two minor characters from Shakepeare’s Hamlet. It is very funny, if rather dark, with a wonderful combination of jokes and existential reflections, and quite realistic in the way it focuses on ordinary people and the ways in which great events affect them. But, in making this choice, I had, alas, forgotten that I don’t really enjoy amateur productions all that much. Don't get me wrong, I like the idea of amateur productions. I like to think that I am not an artistic snob. But the truth is that I secretly have quite high standards about certain things, and few amateur productions are ever going to meet them. I was hoping that the script would be so great that the performances wouldn’t really matter, but in fact some of the leaden performances were a real source of frustration. I still enjoyed it, and the company of my friend, but the evening was only a moderate success in terms of resolution #3. Oh, well.

I am pondering Digger’s suggestions about food. And I love very spicy food, for instance, so I'd have no problem doing that! But mostly, I find the major issue with my weight is the takeaway food habit. My overall diet is mostly quite good, including fibre. Its the coming home exhausted from work and facing an evening of housework, not feeling like cooking and ordering in instead, that becomes a problem. I know this, because every time I stop doing it, my clothes start feeling loose again. And my bank account looks better, too.

But actually, I have a confession to make. My main fall off the wagon this week hasn’t been junk food. It has been a very stressful week, at work and at home, and I am finding that I am drinking more alcohol, lately, and not in a good way. Drinking in a good way is having a couple of drinks with friends or a nice glass of wine with dinner. Drinking in a bad way is feeling stressed and swallowing several glasses in quick succession in order to feel better.

And unfortunately, I have form on this. I used to drink, well, quite a lot. As in regularly finishing off a bottle with no assistance. And I essentially quit in 2003, having nothing at all for a long time and then gradually just reintroducing a more civilised habit. It is something I am quite proud of, and so I have been concerned to notice that I am slipping a bit, and am going to have to reintroduce my former “no alcohol at home” rule.

Its true, as Digger says, that at some level I am going through a grieving process. It is that which is causing me to try to focus on improving my own life somewhat apart from the issue of sex. And it is behind my somewhat problematic drinking of this week, too. He is right about self-medicating and how it doesn’t work.

Despite my imperfect performance this week, I think working on my resolutions is good. I also think Digger is right about giving yourself permission to fall off the wagon. Because its not isolated falls that matter, its the formation of good habits overall.

And to some extent, I think my resolutions are not just about the grieving process, but also about recovering a stronger sense of myself again after the "shock" of motherhood. I spent the last three years of my life planning to get pregnant (finding a more flexible and less demanding job, moving house to live more cheaply, preparing finances etc), having fertility treatment, being pregnant, and then the childbirth and breastfeeding disaster and just getting used to being a mother. They were all quite hard on my body and my emotions, even if they also gave me the most wonderful thing in my life, my Beautiful Boy.

Now that he is 11 months old, I am feeling more like my old self again. I can feel the recovery in my body and my mind. And my resolutions are helping me to improve my life, manage my stresses and feel like I have some kind of agenda that isn’t just about other people. For that, I think they are well worth keeping up, and I appreciate the support my commenters are giving me, too.


Blogger Rob said...

A suggestion to Resolution #2 - don't just save $ but research as well on how to best and safely invest that saved money in order to make it work hard to grow for you. Check out good safe investments. Simply putting $ into a simple savings account should only be the first step.

3:59 AM  
Anonymous Rosie said...

I think you did quite well with your resolutions. I know the struggles as I've been at it for 5 weeks now. Some DAYS are ok, some I fail a little. Once or twice there have been total success OR total failure.

10:04 AM  
Blogger Emily said...

Thanks, you two.

Rob - I am quite interesting in investing, but I really know nothing about it. What kinds of investments might be the safer kind?

Rosie - Glad to know I'm not alone. What are your resolutions?

4:52 PM  

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