We have reached the midway point of the year 2016 and all I have to say about that is holy crapdoodle. It seems so unfair that once we finally reach adulthood, the glory land of our childhood desires, that time decides to put the hammer down and rush through this phase as quickly as possible. By the time we’re in our eighties, entire days must seem like mere hours.
This also means I have reached the midway point of my year 2016 resolutions and so once again I bring you an update on my progress, or in my case, sadly, a lack there of.
1a I will write a minimum of 1000 words every day, weekends, holidays, and sick days included.
I said I would quit this one at the end of March (Q1) and, boy oh boy, did I stay true to my word. Dropped it like a cookie sheet you pulled out of the oven whilst forgetting to put oven mitts on first. I wish I could say my well-reasoned postponement of this resolution resulted in superior blog writing and improved editing, but it didn’t. I just dropped it and wrote less. I feel a modest, albeit fluctuating, shame about this.
1b I will write and submit a short story to a literary magazine by October 31st.
I haven’t done this yet. Haven’t even started, unless you count the hours I spend churning ideas and guilt in my mind before finally falling asleep each night. Did you not read 1a where I said I wrote less? I’m hardly about to apply myself if you aren’t reciprocating in kind.
2 I will not eat a single morsel of chocolate until my birthday on March 1st.
As I gleefully revealed in March, this resolution was a smashing success as I didn’t eat any chocolate prior to March 1st. Unfortunately, I made no specification within this resolution as to what I would do after that March 1st deadline. In my Q1 recap I cautiously speculated that perhaps I would continue with my reduced chocolate consumption. You know, really show the world and the skeptics therein that I’d turned a corner and while perhaps not completely tossing the cocoa monkey from my back, I’d at least removed its claws from my beleaguered flesh. That speculation, apparently, was as ill-advised as a Donald Trump stump speech. Not only did I fall off that chocolate wagon quickly and completely, but I landed square on my back and caused that monkey to fuse with my posterior. Who knew eating chocolate icing in a cereal bowl with M&Ms is to a chocoholic what a smoky bar is to someone who recently quit smoking. Yet more modest, fluctuating shame about this.
3 I will cut our monthly grocery budget in half before year’s end.
Do you know who are really unhelpful with New Year’s resolutions like this one? Visiting family! During Q2, my in-laws visited for a week and then my parents visited for additional two weeks. Add two people, two that actually eat the food I make, unlike, say, my children, and you can rest assured that even the most elastic of grocery budgets will be busted. Not that this is a bad thing. I mean, hey, visitors. We love visitors. Just don’t expect groceries goals to be achieved whilst they are present.
And now that I’ve written that I’ll be getting grief from all four elders in our clan. They will inevitably implore us to let them contribute to the grocery funds upon their next visit. They already attempt to as it is but my mini-rant above will only encourage a doubling down on their efforts. But I will be having none of that. We don’t offer to pay when we visit home (they wouldn’t accept) so they won’t be paying when they visit us. Just, umm, don’t visit too often, okay?
There you have the ugly evidence. After starting the year with a respectable Q1, the wheels have fallen completely off this resolution in Q2. In-laws visited in April and parents visited in June. The evidence is irrefutable! I jest, I jest. Nonetheless, improvements need to be made in Q3 if I am to at the very least achieve the spirit of this resolution.
Aside from the extra guests, my shopping habits did not change so I am a little concerned that perhaps Superstore is proving to be less the bargain than it initially seemed. Similarly, during my rare visits to Safeway, I have noticed some changes in their pricing indicating that the Sobeys influence is taking hold. They are offering more deals if you buy multiple products much the way Superstore does. If Safeway is intent on competing directly with Superstore this can only be good for our budget and this resolution.
4 I will dedicate one full, uninterrupted hour each day to playing with my kids.
When I originally crafted this resolution I should have worded it thusly; I will dedicate one full, uninterrupted hour each day to sitting on a bench while my kids play with their friends after school. This rephrasing is not entirely an admission of outright failure with this resolution but I’m certainly not achieving it in the context it was intended. I am thus perplexed if I should be feeling modest, fluctuating shame about this.
On one hand, I really did want to play more with the kids. On the other hand, facilitating a daily hour of spontaneous, unstructured play is of untold value to them. Or at least that’s what a majority of Facebook memes you folks post would advocate. And if the entire point of this resolution is to improve the physical and mental wellbeing of my children, then I think I am succeeding even if I’m not exactly doing so with direct fatherly interaction.
Of course, now that summer holidays are here, those hours of play after school won’t be happening so I face at least two months of needing to actually interact with the kids. The Q3 review will provide the true tale of the tape on this one. Early signs are encouraging, especially when it comes to playing games with the kids. I love board games and card games and my daughter, especially, is now old enough to play some more advanced games. Out with the Candyland and Snakes and Ladders, in with the Cribbage and Rummy.
We also have a new avenue for togetherness and play, thanks to my mother’s most recent visit in which she took ownership of her anniversary gift from my father; a tablet. Grandmothers being who they are, in other words entirely disinterested in upholding the parenting values they steadfastly held when they were raising children (i.e. ME), the kids are now addicted to Candy Crush. Lucky for them, I took poorly to my strict upbringing and thus hold an equally susceptible mind when it comes to blinking, colourful computer games. Hey, I said it would be a solid, uninterrupted hour. I never said it would involve quality endeavours.
5 I will refuse to look at Facebook between the hours of 9:00 am and 6:00 pm.
Yeah, I suck at this. I don’t know why. Facebook typically makes me angry, frustrated, embarrassed and perplexed, yet I can’t look away. I guess I’m just that lonely. Or bored. Or pathetic. Whatever the reason, I’ve utterly failed at this resolution thus far. It is time to seriously re-focus or re-evaluate this one completely. Also, feeling complete and unfettered shame about this one.
6 I will lose 20 pounds by July 1st.
This was the big one for Q2 and I regret to report that I failed this resolution. I failed it thoroughly and I failed it miserably. It’s not like I lost 18 pounds but couldn’t quite make the last two, which would still be worthy of some congratulations. Rather, I failed by not losing a single pound. In fact, depending on the day, I may have actually gained a pound or two from where I started on January 1st.
I am disappointed in myself at this utter fiasco of a resolution attempt. I know there is no excuse for my failure to achieve this one or even make token progress towards my goal. I failed and that is the end of it. Nonetheless, I feel a need to at least offer up a small scrap of defense for this failing. I have little faith that I’d have achieved this goal regardless of what I’m about to say, but it most definitely didn’t help. I hope this will inspire even the slightest pity from you, my readers and you, the disappointed beach bunnies so eagerly awaiting my purported glorious arrival this summer.
As many of you know, either from personal familiarity or having honoured me with a deep reading of my blog, I’ve been battling a chronic illness for fourteen years now. This Chronic Fatigue and Sarcoidosis and god-only-knows what else has been wreaking havoc on my body since I turned 30. Never grow up, people!
Like my shame, the symptoms of this chronic malady fluctuate greatly over the days, months, and years. This spring has been one of the downward fluctuations where my wellbeing took a turn for the worse. I won’t bore you with querulous accounts of my mysterious and vague symptomology, but suffice it to say that I just didn’t have the energy to lose the weight.
I have the distinctly Schmidt pleasure of suffering from an ailment where attempts to be healthy actually makes things worse. Exercise (or physical activity of any kind), it seems, makes me sick. To some that might sound like the greatest disease EVER, but I can assure you it’s not. And I say that as someone who thoroughly embraces his laziness and revels in his procrastination. It may be the only genuine skill I have. But when it results in me becoming a flabby, sedentary blob it quickly loses its appeal.
I still hope to achieve this goal, hopefully sooner than later, but certainly before the end of the year. If my health turns for the better again, I will attempt with full effort and careful moderation to achieve that -20lb goal. Unfortunately, this shit disease and the crap that comes with it are making my waking existence a miserable one for the time being. My medication of choice is chocolate, as you no doubt have guessed, so failing resolution 6 and the spirit of resolution 2 go hand in hand. Keep your fingers crossed that my hotness will one day expose itself!