January 1, 2010

New Year's "Suggestions"...

I don't like New Year's Resolutions. They seem to me like a really good way to set yourself up to feel like a failure come December... as if the holidays weren't stressful enough! In fact, I have never before made a list of New Year's Resolutions. I can't be bothered to write a list of stuff I should do that I probably won't do so I can feel bad about myself later.

This year, however, I feel moved to write myself a list of "ideas" or "suggestions" for things that I might work on in 2010 if I feel like it/get around to it. Stuff that I should do because it would be good for me or for those around me. Things that I should change, because probably my life would change for the better if I changed them. And if I don't change them... well, stuff stays the same I guess. In the words of the great philosopher Tyler, "If you do what you've always done, you'll always get what you always got." (That would be Steven Tyler in the song "Get a Grip", in case anyone wondered.)

So brace yourself, people... I'm about to have one of my rare introspective moments! Here are some of my suggestions for myself in the order in which they occur to me.

1.) Spend less time on the computer. I am blind enough as it is. And hand in hand with that...

2.) Encourage "Wong" to either take things offline or give it up already.

3.) Find an outlet for my creativity besides writing short stories that I never let anyone read. Blogging is more narrative than creative most of the time. I'm not sure if I should start trying to write a novel or just start playing guitar more (bet the neighbors would love that), but I think the constantly rotating cast of characters in my head is detrimental to what, for lack of a better term, we shall call "my sanity". It seems to me I also used to do some halfway decent pictures with pastels and colored pencils many moons ago in the far-flung times of, oh, about 1999...

4.) Try to start saving some money. You know, now that I actually have an income. And not far behind that...

5.) Never buy anything on credit ever again if I can possibly avoid it. I would like to pay off the two credit cards I have and then quite possibly get rid of them altogether. They are evil.

6.) Exercise more, blah blah blah... (everyone says this one, I think)

7.) Date someone. Could be Wong (if he were to get himself over here), could be someone I haven't met yet, but seven years of singleness is bloody long enough.

8.) Spend more time out doing things with friends. I think I tend to hold myself back with the "I can't do that, I have a kid" excuse. Perhaps some of that money I might put aside each month could be used for a babysitter one night a month... I think all parents, but maybe full-time single parents in particular, need some regularly scheduled down time. Also it's really hard to meet people to date when I never go anywhere except to work and to church.

9.) Reduce the size of my mean streak. Currently it's at about three miles wide. I'd like to reduce it to a mile or less. I'm pretty sure I used to be a nice person once, but high school screwed me up and I never recovered.

10.) Broaden my musical tastes. Much as I complain about the music snobbery of certain people (who will stop listening to a band if they think too many people like said band), I'm guilty of my own flavor of it... I have convinced myself that if it's not rock of some description, I probably don't care. Don't expect me to start listening to rap, though... I stand firm on my requirement for actual singing talent!

11.) (this one is going to make me sound horrid, maybe you shouldn't read it) Love my kid while I have him. Most of you still reading probably just went, "What's horrid about that?" Well, the awful truth is that I did not want to be a parent. I was dragged into it kicking and screaming, and for several years after he was born I still did not want to be a parent. I did not gaze upon my newborn son's face and instantly fall in love... oh no. For years I regarded him as an intrusion... a time-consuming burden draining my energy and resources that I never wanted or asked for. (Planned pregnancy he wasn't, as you may have guessed). I was bound to him only by a fierce sense of responsibility (Flake, I am not in the slightest, and I firmly believe in the "you make it, you take care of it" principle), and later by the knowledge that of his two parents I was the one less likely to screw him up, which I thought was really sad since I was already so screwed up myself on the subject of parenting. Loving him crept up on me gradually, without me realizing it. Probably he was four before I could say "I love you" to him and mean it at all. And even then an occasional mother would observe me with him and say something like, "You'd just throw yourself in front of a train to save your kid, wouldn't you?" (someone actually did say that very thing to me once) and I would look at them blankly... No I would not! Are you completely out of your gourd?! I would scream internally. Or they'd say, "He's just your entire world, isn't he?" and I would rail internally against that too... No! There is a heck of a lot more to my world than this kid! I am a complex and multi-faceted individual, darn it! But I guess even the most emotionless of us can't help but be eventually won over by a kid who loves you unconditionally and tends to shout things like "Best mom ever!" when you tell him that he can have two packs of fruit snacks if he wants. Fast forward to 2009, when the realization finally sets in that the Chamaco and I are our own broken little family and often we're all each other has. In November during our monthly meeting, I am telling my boss about something he said/did and she comments, "I can tell he's just your whole world." For the first time I do not mentally protest. Conversion from "reluctant mom" to just plain "mom" finally complete... only took 7 years and 11 months. I read in one of those "What to Expect..." books when he was a baby that actually many new mothers don't instantly bond with their child, and in some cases the process can take months. I don't know if anyone has ever taken very nearly 8 years before. Probably I needed/need therapy. Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to have a baby because I want to, but I still don't want to. I really doubt I ever will. I still like kids much better when they're someone else's in general, but I have finally managed to become rather attached to the one I have. I don't think I'll ever be a "mommy mom" (as Tyha so accurately describes herself), but at least I'm a "mom" now instead of an "I'll take care of you because legally I'm responsible to do so". Only in hindsight have I been able to see God's wisdom in this whole situation... had I not suddenly become responsible for a small, helpless person at the time I did, I likely would have continued on the self-destructive path I was just getting started down at the time and I don't think it's a stretch at all to say that my life could have ended (badly) several years prior to now. Also before he was born I thought I preferred a girl and I was going to name him Natalie Renee. Eight years later I often thank God I did not have a girl... girls are too much drama! (Especially from about the age of 8 onward, I'm learning from watching other people's kids.) Anyway, back to the original thought, I may have sort of wasted the first eight years, but theoretically I've got about ten more to try and get things right.

Wow, that was a digression and a half, but maybe now you understand why I laugh and shake my head everytime someone tells me what a good mom I am (which happens surprisingly often... maybe people don't pay attention?).

Anyway, here's to 2010... may it be a fabulous year for all my friends and loved ones (and maybe some of the people I don't like too!).

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