Originally I had no intention of making a New Year’s Resolution. Why wait for that one day a year to roll around only to inevitably fall behind for a day or two, beat myself up for it, and then glibly excuse myself entirely within a few days or weeks of making the resolution in the first place? I can do that anytime! I already have, in fact. Whatever happened to three blog posts a week?
5 months ago, my laptop screen decided it had a pinched or breaking wire somewhere and refused to display unless it was held at an exacting inward angle, requiring this unfortunate writer to slouch, hunchback fashion. Not being the sort of individual who enjoys having my nose brushing against my fingers as I type, I decided it was time for an upgrade. Sure, I could have handed my laptop off to a tech-savvy family member for a week or two and gotten this little problem fixed free of charge. But no. No one takes my favorite writing tool away from me. Ever. I’m particular that way. I once cried for two hours because I lost my favorite writing pencil. I was fifteen. To be fair, it wasn’t exactly a pencil I could replace. Luckily for my suffering mother, who had to listen to my incessant whining all evening, I found it the next day and I still have it.
So, because I’m a bit quirky, and maybe a bit of an obsessive control freak, especially when it comes to my writing, off I went to peruse the internet for a financially sound, sane purchase that met my needs without being too glitzy. My computer must meet one criterion: transportable word processor. I don’t care about how quickly it can compile code, if the graphics are pretty, or what the video and audio card specs are so that I can play the latest PC game. Although…RAM is nice.
30 minutes later, I was suffering from a massive case of buyer’s remorse. I’m not exactly sure how I found myself in this state, but I know now how the advertising department at Apple earns their paychecks. I never made it past that first internet page of glossy photos and alluring descriptions. They’re good! I’m normally fiscally prudent and violently resistant/skeptical when it comes to advertising, but this time, oh, this time I needed that computer. My thoughts, roughly, at time of purchase: “Oooo…shiny!”
Now I had a ridiculously expensive computer, far beyond what I could actually want or truly need. I did try, before Enheduanna (the laptop) shipped, to convince Mr. Wonderful that I should cancel the order. “Oh, but you deserve it,” placated he who hasn’t been in charge of the checking account in years, even though I explained in deep, depressing detail the sort of financial trouble I might have just gotten us into. I think he thought he’d get to play with my shiny new machine. Hah! I’ll share a great many things, but tools of a craft are personal. Besides, he has his own computer.
Having obliterated my savings account, I naturally had to get my money’s worth out of Enheduanna to justify my ludicrous spending binge. I explored every application. My favorite, besides the word processor, turned out to be of the generic, life organizing program variety: iCal. I have fond memories of sitting down on a daily basis with a sibling and scheduling every moment of my summer vacations to their utmost capacity (of course, we used scrap paper). We accomplished an extraordinary amount that summer; we were happy. I am always happiest, and at my most productive, when my life is rigidly scheduled. Normally I am a messy house, scattered, chronically tardy, disorganized, completely ADD, “Mr. Wonderful, have you seen my glasses, keys, phone, etc.,” kind of person. Schedules help me function like a typical human being, and the more exacting they are the better. Oh, how I love iCal. I have it set as a start up program, so it greets me the second I turn on my computer. For the first few weeks I made fantastic progress on my goals, but then I stopped using it. Every time my little life changing program pops up, I click the close button. Of course iCal was the first thing I saw when I turned my computer on today, and suddenly I was reminded of what a big difference such a little thing has always made in my life.
My New Year’s Resolution is to stop clicking that close button. I’ve found that scheduling encourages me to be cognizant of how much time I have and how realistic I’m being about my goals. Even if I slip sometimes or go outside of the scheduled time frame, I’m still accomplishing more than I usually do. I know when the last time I did x important thing was. I know how much more time to allot for next time so I’m not disappointed that I didn’t get everything I thought I could accomplish done that day, and I waste a lot less time. I get more housework, writing, and other hobbies done. I am more organized, more punctual, and less dissatisfied, all because I took ten or fifteen minutes a day to plan out a framework for action. This is a New Year’s Resolution I can actually keep, and even if I forget for a day or two, it’s easy to get back on track. Besides, Enheduanna will remind me.