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Resolutions shMEHjzolutions

Trigger Warning: video game addiction, particularly RPGs (role-playing games) and The Sims 3

I hadn’t played The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim since August 15th. Four and a half (4.5) months!!! That’s not to say I was abstaining from video games; I have been playing The Sims 3 a lot, to the point where my first generation of sims born in-game are elders and the second will be young adults soon. But Skyrim had practically become a thing of the past…

Then a friend posted about it on Facebook, and I started wanting to play again. She was talking about a quest line I thoroughly enjoyed, but have already completed. Other people have talked about the game since, increasing my tendency to think about and want to play it. My desire to do a Let’s Play of Skyrim has resurrected itself; I’d like to say “against my will” but I’m not entirely convinced that’s true. To make matters even worse, the new expansion for World of Warcraft (WoW) has a close friend of mine playing and talking about that game again; I think to some extent the discussion of WoW by a handful of friends at our New Year’s Eve celebration pushed me over the edge.

I had a mixed Holiday Season: there were a number of good things that happened but it was also very stressful, perhaps more so than usual. I tried to acknowledge Yule but I’m not entirely happy with the extent to which I did so. Christmas sneaked up on me somehow and I failed to decorate for it. My godmother almost suffocated on Christmas Eve (while I was celebrating with Banji) and is still in the hospital. I had some very enjoyable gatherings with friends and family over the past two weeks, but it was a lot of socialization all at once, without much of a break in between. I became very irritable – possible manic symptoms? – leading up to New Year’s Eve. I haven’t been getting satisfactory sleep and I’ve been eating a ton of sugar, salt, and fat in lieu of the nutrients my body actually needs. Fox and I had been planning to enjoy today as a chance to sleep in and have a restful time to ourselves – but then he learned a that cousin he rarely sees is visiting with his parents, and decided to go see them instead.

So, the first thing I did when I got home yesterday was load my old game of Skyrim. I was extremely tempted to start a new game (again) but I really want to experience the stuff I haven’t gotten to do yet. I put in several hours of gameplay yesterday and have already played for an additional 4 hours today. It’s been surprisingly easy to just pick up my old game where I’d left off, thanks largely to the quest log. If only it were so easy to just dive back in to real life…

Part of me is upset because the whole point of New Year’s Resolutions is that you’re supposed to start working on them the first day of the new year… right? “A new year, a new you!”? I could have worked on at least one of the resolutions yesterday, but I didn’t. Well, I guess I was socializing in a group for a decent chunk of it, and I was interacting with people I care about. I guess I need to accept that I can’t do all of my resolutions every day, but I regret not at least trying to get in 10 minutes of physical activity.

The rest of me says: let’s be honest. Midnight on January 1st marks the beginning of a new year because we say it does (and ostensibly because the earth has begun a new revolution around the sun – but we could put the point at which revolutions begin and end anywhere along our orbit). It’s a cultural construction that has everything to do with what we want to do – have a clean slate on which to draw our ideal lives – and nothing to do with reality.

In reality the earth making a full revolution back to a particular point on its orbit associated with January 1st is no different from it making a full revolution back to a particular point on its orbit associated with any other month and day. In reality, time is continuous. It is cyclical, but each cycle is affected by events during the cycles preceding it. The cycles do not begin and end at preset points, but flow continuously from one into the next. The way we divide time is arbitrary.

I might have decided that midnight on January 1st, 2015 marked the beginning of a new year, and here are some things I want to focus on. To be honest, I think that’s healthy. It’s important to live life with intention. Saying it’s a new year helps with that: I can forgive myself and the universe for whatever I didn’t like about last year, and focus on what I want to do going forward.

But in reality, my life and my Self have continued on without the luxury of being wiped clean, over countless arbitrary culturally-determined divisions of time and at least thirty new years. I’m still the same person I was at 23:59:59 on December 31, 2014. I still have all the same habits, the same very cluttered apartment, the same mental health issues, the same worry and guilt about what’s going on with my godmother, the same need to have some time to rest before I move on with Life After the Holidays. I’m still clinging to floating debris trying to figure out where I should put my feet.

That’s not going to stop because I’ve decided it’s a new year, as of midnight on January 1st, 2015. Just like I can’t arbitrarily decide that now I’ve recovered and I no longer have depression and anxiety, or bipolar, or episodic mood disorder NOS, or whatever the hell it is. I just live. I need to take care of myself always – not “starting” at x point in time. I can’t do it continuously without fail; I’m going to mess up and backtrack and have another episode and need another break. I’m going to have times when I become obsessed with something and use it as an escape from reality. It just is. I forgive myself preemptively.

What I can do is accept that and do my best to love myself. “Okay, we’ve played Skyrim for four hours, let’s take a break.” I was feeling hungry as I wrote about neglecting my nutritional needs, so I decided to go eat some leftover vegetables. I’ve been having trouble getting a restful night’s sleep, so last night I listened to a guided meditation – that worked perfectly. My resolutions reflect my needs, so it’s important that I do my best to stick to them. But I let go of the temptation to want to do them all perfectly every day. It’s just not realistic. I can celebrate what I do. If there’s something I consistently don’t do, I can try to figure out why and address that need.

That’s what this post comes down to. I made a bunch of resolutions, then proceeded to ignore them in favor of not just playing Skyrim, but becoming obsessed with starting a project that would eat up all my time. In other words, I chose was am severely tempted by a path that would make it impossible more difficult for me to do what I need to create the life I want for myself. Why? What is all this really pointing to? What am I trying to communicate to myself? What needs aren’t being met?

I’m not sure I’m ready to answer that directly, but I’m reminded of a post from last March: Whose Goals are These Anyway?

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10 thoughts on “Resolutions shMEHjzolutions

  1. Hi 🙂

    My last posts about why resolutions do not work might be interesting for you…
    http://my35project.com/2015/01/01/why-new-years-resolutions-do-not-work-but-goals-do/

    Rough stats about “to resolve or not to resolve” issues among wordpress community:
    http://my35project.com/2015/01/02/my-observations-on-happy-new-year-resolutionists-and-anti-resolvers/

    About the most common resolutions for the new year on wordpress:
    http://my35project.com/2015/01/02/most-common-new-year-resolutions-of-bloggers-blog-more/

    You can also find my progress to get out my shitty life 🙂
    http://my35project.com/2015/01/01/this-is-called-progress-in-2-weeks/

    You may think about starting your own Project:
    Some have already started 🙂
    http://my35project.com/start-yours-now/

    Or, it would be so much appreciated if you support mine by following, commenting and giving advice 🙂
    http://my35project.com/about/

    Also check my healthy diet (to cope Leaky Gut, fatigue and IBS) and easy recipes if you like:
    http://my35project.com/my-healthy-diet/

    Thank you so much 🙂
    Successful & Healthy New Year 🙂

    Alex

    Like

    • Hi Alex,

      Thanks for sharing your links, especially the one encouraging readers to set more concrete, attainable goals instead of resolving to change parts of their personality. Most of my resolutions are quite vague; I kind of did that intentionally because I wanted to have a broad range of options for what to do to change habits that are hurting me. I guess to some extent they’ve always been part of my personality, but now I feel like they’re taking over and I really don’t like that.

      I’m thinking of a kind of compromise: I set these resolutions and want to keep them… and you’re right, attainable measurable clearly-defined goals (with even more attainable objectives) are much more realistic, empowering, and fun! I can set goals and objectives based on my resolutions and give myself deadlines. When the deadlines come I can evaluate how helpful I found the goals and objectives to be and set new ones (that may or may not have anything to do with the resolutions).

      While we’re exchanging links and advice: I noticed that one of your goals involves weight loss. Whether you choose to pursue it is entirely up to you, but I encourage you to check out Fat Acceptance and Health at Every Size. They encourage body positivity and a focus on health that is not dependent on manipulating body size (which doesn’t work in the long run). I recommend these to everyone. You said you’re feeling very shitty; I think re-evaluating this goal and focusing your energy on other goals will be more beneficial to your mental and overall health.

      Two blogs I find inspiring are:
      Dances with Fat, which regularly challenges mainstream assumptions about weight and health and is activism-oriented
      Tutus and Tiny Hats, which is more fa(t)shion-oriented but also includes some focus on activism

      Best wishes,
      Ziya

      Like

      • Thank you Ziya for the comment and especially your genuine interest in me and my blog 🙂
        I will be checking the links that you’ve sent me right away.
        As a former therapist, I worked with clients with blumia / anorexia / BDD (body dysmorphic disorder). I can say that I am far from that.
        I feel very healthy and fit at 105lbs with 5’3” height. and it is normal BMI. So, I don’t think reaching there is harmful or etc. It is not a zero size, it is size 4 🙂

        Now I am 120lbs and feel beautiful but not fit. 105 is ideal for me. Not less, not more 🙂

        I am quite aware of BDD and the results. I am depressed but I do not have BDD, which is far worse than depression etc.

        I am happy as I read your comments with genuine interest in my health and that is so important for me. So, i thank you with all my heart!

        Please keep in touch 🙂

        I hope you will set your goals and let me know too. I will be glad to help! 🙂

        Alex

        Like

        • Alex,

          I did not mean to imply that you had an eating disorder or body dysmorphic disorder. Just that, based on the research cited by the pages I linked to that informs a Health at Every Size approach, trying to lose 15 pounds might not be the best use of one’s energy.

          You said you felt very healthy and fit at 105 lbs and you don’t feel fit now. Other than your weight, what has changed? If you had no way of knowing your weight, what would you do to help yourself feel fit again?

          Perhaps another way to look at it is setting goals based on behaviors you can control (e.g. “I will walk one mile today.”) instead of a measurement of your body that doesn’t have an empirically-supported impact on your health and is almost impossible to control.

          I hope this information is helpful. Whatever you decide to do, know that I respect you and wish you well. 🙂

          Ziya

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: A Step Toward Oblivion | a day with depression

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