Tuesday, January 10, 2012


I have been making new year's resolutions as this fledgling of a new year has been rolling along.

I have found that rather than resolving things for myself and/or the benefit of my dog (Cooper needs to lose 5 pounds, therefore Brooke needs to walk Cooper briskly for 20 minutes at least 3 times a week), I much prefer to recommend resolutions to other people.  Mostly just David.  Which I'm sure is totally not annoying.

"You still don't have my cell phone number memorized?  You should make that a New Year's Resolution."

"Ahem.  Maybe you should make a new year's resolution not to look at your phone while your wife is talking to you.  Just a suggestion"

"You're working late AGAIN?  I think you should make a new year's resolution not to work late ever so that we can get more Netflix time in."

"OK, here is your new year's resolution.  DO NOT throw unopened mail on my desk (where it gets buried under exams from last semester and magazines with articles I want to save) unless you want to unleash my wrath."

"I'm just wondering if you could make a new year's resolution not to walk around while brushing your teeth so that you don't drool toothpaste on the rug."

I mean really, my suggestions are endless.  And I know David finds it SO INCREDIBLY helpful.  (You are so welcome, honey).

But really, I'm well aware that I have MORE than enough room for self-improvement.  (I'm sure David could suggest a couple resolutions for me...  like "Look in the cabinets before you go to the grocery store so you don't have to text your husband asking if we have black beans.  And enchilada sauce?  And apple sauce?  And orzo?  Triscuits?"  Or "Put clothes in hamper or back in closet instead of half-ass folding and setting them on top of the dresser to be determined clean or dirty at a non-specified later date.")  But you know.  Being married is all about embracing each other's idiosyncrasies and imperfections.

Last year at this time, I was unable to look far enough into the future to believe there might be some light after so much darkness.  But I did manage to survive those dark months, and the gray ones that come after.  And while I know that grief never goes away and that is is constantly evolving, I have also learned enough over the past thirteen months to know that there are things I can do for myself and for other people that will make me feel better even when I'm feeling sad.

(I actually have lots more to say on this, and really I want to hear from other people about strategies for making pockets of happiness in the midst of such great sorrow, but I think that will be a post of its own, so more on that later...)

So, without further ado, here are five things that I will try to do this year:

1. Walk Cooper at least 3 times a week.
It's good for both of us, it's free, and there is absolutely no reason why I can't do this.  Plus, the way he dances with excitement when he sees me open the leash cabinet puts a smile on my face.

2. Continue to take yoga classes at least once a week.
I think the first deep breath I took after Eliza died was at the end of a yoga class, four or five months out.  The first time I felt almost giddy with accomplishment (something I wasn't sure I'd ever feel again) after losing Eliza was when I managed to hold a handstand in class with minimal assistance.  I still don't really get what it means to feel "centered," but I know yoga is good for me, mentally and physically.  So I want to keep it up.  This will likely necessitate a trip to Lululemon--but you know I'll do what it takes to keep my resolutions!

3. Less computer time, especially at night.
The internet has been a lifeline for me, and there's no way I want to walk away from the connections that I've made.  But I have also let entire evenings get away from me as I blog-hop or browse shops online or google random queries or click "more pins" at the bottom of the Pinterest "Everything:" page--none of which add to my quality of life.  So I'm just going to be conscious about doing a little less of that.

4. Give proofs of love.
This is one lesson I've really learned this year--good intentions are just not enough.  It's actions that count.  So this year, I WILL take time to send a note, to send an e-mail, to send a card, to give a gift, to make a call, to remember birthdays and anniversaries, to tuck a love note in the pocket of David's shirt after I iron it for him.  I'm not saying I'll be perfect at this, but I know how much it matters and I really want to try.  Also, it makes me happy to do nice things for people I love, so this shouldn't be all that hard.

5. Work by day and relax by night.
This will be the hardest one to keep.  It is SO easy for me to get on my computer in my office and send e-mail and check the news and read a blog or two, and before I know it, my office hours are gone and I have gotten no grading done, and I still have to prep for tomorrow's class.  So then that work comes home with me, which makes me feel tired and overworked when actually we all know the real problem is procrastination.  I really want to be better at using my work-time wisely so that my home-time doesn't have to be spent working.

Notice that I'm not making any resolutions to think or feel differently.  I wish that I could just decide to "Be more optimistic!" or "Have a positive outlook!" but we all know that's not going to happen.  So I wanted to make resolutions that were important, but also realistic actions that I could do even if I didn't feel much like doing them.  Maybe someday I'll be able to be a little more Pollyanna, a little less Dostoevsky.  But I make no resolutions about that!

So that's it.  I'm posting the big 5 on my fridge, and in eleven and a half months, we'll see how successful I've been (there will be no fudging Cooper's waistline!).


  1. Those are all good resolutions. My favorite is number 4. I may make that my only resolution this year.

  2. Ditto Brianna. :)

    I think the ability to make some new years resolutions should be some kind of measuring device in the evolution of grief. Nine months ago I would have scoffed, maybe even puked on the idea. And now, while I haven't officially made any resolutions, the thought doesn't bother me too much.

    We've made it this far, I suppose.

    Peace to you, even if you text from the grocery store.


  3. besides the dog walk and the yoga handstand those are all very good resolutions for me...but although I have thought about it...I just don't have that kind of energy. By the way...you and I have the same problem with laundry. My clean freak husband calls it juvenile...I have no response...I think I am just lazy.

  4. #4 is my favorite too!!!!!

    I love your resolutions for David and I *hate* when E throws unopened mail into my office. Many a late fee has him to blame when bills get lost under articles about The Hunger Games that I have intended to send to you. ;-)

  5. I make resolutions for my husband too. Only not just in the new year, but all year. Gee, I'm so helpful :)

    Love your list.