New Year's Resolutions

I do not wish to have a long list of resolutions. Talk about over commitment and overwhelming myself. But even though I did once resolve to make no resolutions, I don’t think resolutions are such a terrible idea. I mean how often do we get a chance to examine such large chunks of our lives, and then make a concerted effort to do better at this being human thing? OK, so we can do it as often as we want. But there’s a feeling that comes along with scratching out 2006, when you accidentally forget the new year in the check out line at Wal-mart. It’s the realization that 2006 is gone, behind you, and what’s ahead of you? A clean slate, a whole new year of possibilities and maybe, just maybe, this year will be better than the last. So, even though I would call 2006 a pretty good year personally, I’ve decided it’s time to stop being an underachiever and share my own ideas about this new year.

I’ve decided to go with three resolutions for the year. Baby steps maybe, but three is a good number. Why I’ve even heard it’s the magic number. It also works out nicely for me to take on each of my resolutions in honor of my three children.

#1. I will not spend more than $2 on any beverage this year.

This resolution I dedicate to my son Sam who will tell you in a heartbeat that the most important thing in his life is entertainment. No, I’m not a proud mother when he says this. And while I do take some blame here, I try to keep it in perspective. When I was seven , I would not have said “entertainment,” because I didn’t talk like Sam-- what 7 year old does? I probably would have told you whatever I thought you wanted to hear. Not that I was a liar at such a tender age, but I was a people pleaser, and I’m sure I knew by then that other people did not care how important watching She-Ra every Saturday morning was to me. But it was, and that’s how kids are, the centers of their own universes. It’s up to the adults to teach them to care about others.

So, when Sam says he can’t stand the five minute ride to school w/ out his MP3 player, I tell him yes he can and we have a talk about what’s really important in life. But sometimes, after I drop him off, I think about what I’m going to do with my free time and I’m forced to admit that while I’m 23 years older, I haven’t changed all that much. In fact, to be ashamedly honest, my main concerns are comfort and safety. And yeah, I’d like to be happy. These are not necessarily bad things, but when they are my main concern, I can be pretty damn selfish. Life has much more to offer than resting under my covers eating a bowl of ice cream and watching Joan of Arcadia on DVD. I love doing that, and I’m not about to give it up. But I don’t want it all the time -- that’s not life. So many people suffer through cold at night and wish for full bellies and can’t even dream about leisure time. It’s just not fair for me waste $4 on a frappaccino. It’s not fair, and it’s wasteful. Sometimes, I need to tell myself “no.” I need to take the harder route and cook instead of dialing for delivery. I don’t think I’m the worst, but when I remember the times we didn’t give to our church or someone who really needed it, because we ran out of paycheck, before we ran out of week, I know that I’m not making the best use of my resources.

#2. I am resolved to get more of my life/thoughts on paper (or computer screen) and spend less time with them floating around in my head, unattached to anything.

My little Laney deserves this resolution. She deserves to see a woman live out her dreams and not settle for just cooking and cleaning. Not that I knock those things, for they certainly are dreams for many women. But they are not mine, and I do not feel passionately about them, nor do I believe I’m truly gifted at those things. I do however feel passionate about my writing and in the moments I allow myself to deserve feeling gifted, I know that writing is mine.

#3. Sometime in late March, I will reclaim the body I now share with child number three, and will force it to exercise and eat better than it did in 2006.

Yes, this resolution has more to do with vanity than health. But hey, I’m seven months pregnant, approximately 5’4” and my weight, as of a week ago, is 159 lbs. I really try not to get caught up in numbers here, and most people tell me I look great. But the fact is I don’t feel like I look great. Of course there are high points, like the long hair and fingernails, but it’s generally never a good idea to turn and look at myself sideways in a full length mirror.

Every now and then I meet some well meaning (I hope) person who says, “Don’t you just love being pregnant?” I’ve had to train myself not to go off on these people, because like I said, they mean well. Either that or they’re just crazy. For my own sanity, I have to assume these women have not experienced anything sad in this area of their lives like I have. I would never say such a thing, unless I was being sarcastic with someone I know really well. First of all, it’s not an open ended question. You have to say yes or no. Yes, meaning your pregnancies are perfect -- just like hers, or No, meaning you’re a big loser --at least in her eyes.

I’ve tried negotiating. I’ll pick something safe like morning sickness and mention ever so slightly that it might be the least bit unpleasant and does she really love that part of being pregnant? Or maybe I mention the backaches and the weight gain. But inevitably, things aren’t so tough on her and she just remembers feeling all aglow for nine months.

Then one day, I stumbled on my best tactic. I simply replied, “You know pregnancy isn’t really my thing. What I love is the baby part.” The woman I was talking to just got quiet and looked at me, trying to process the fact that I hadn’t said, “Yeah, pregnancy is the best!” Finally she said, a little unconvincingly if you ask me, “Yeah, babies are great too!” And thankfully, she found something else to talk about.

Obviously, I’m a little touchy when it comes to this subject. In fact you might be thinking that I need to “suck it up,” “fake it ‘til I make it,” or just “try to be positive.” And what’s this got to do with my resolution anyway? Well, let me explain it to you. This resolution is about me feeling good about my body. And why, aside from pure vanity, is that important? Well I’ve been thinking, if God really did knit me together in my mother’s womb, and I am fearfully and wonderfully made, shouldn’t I feel like praising him to that end? And more importantly, why don’t I feel like it?

Aside from the usual self-esteem issues that most of us deal with in our shallow beauty culture, I’ve found myself under assault this past year and there’s more to it than just turning 30. In fact, I think there’s an actual demon to blame for this one. I don’t know his name or what he looks like, but I’m familiar with the voice. It started yelling it’s message a year and a half ago and it was so loud at first that I had no defense. It told me that my womb was spelled wrong. It told me there should be a “t” at the beginning, and not a “w.” And like I said, I was weak and hurt. I believed it. I thought something was wrong with my body and I was to blame for losing my baby.

I know now that this was a lie, and I know this demon tries to sell me more lies about my body all the time. It’s scared me a lot during this pregnancy and I have yet to succeed in sending it packing. But I am learning to recognize this impostor, and I have begun to fight back. So this resolution is last, and it’s traveling in disguise -- just another diet/exercise resolution, but I guess, for me, it’s the most important.

But Janna, shouldn’t your spiritual health be more important than your physical? Shouldn’t you commit to daily Bible reading and prayer instead of exercising and eating right? Yes these things are good, but my spirit, my mind and my body are inner-woven. They can no more be separated than the ingredients in a freshly baked cake. To separate would be to destroy.

Spirit, mind and body, now that I review my list, I think I’ve covered them all. So we’ve arrived back where we started, with three. A nice round number, a clean slate, and a short list of resolutions. Thanks for reading, thanks for sharing, and here’s hoping 2007 will be magic.


Jerusalem said...

Oh, I love it when you post! And of course I would meet you anywhere on earth - pick a time and a place!
BTW- 3 is a Magic Number is perhaps my very favorite song ever. And it is so true...as is everything you said of course. You are brave and wise and lovely and wonderfully made. Here is to the magic of 2007 dear friend.

Brooke said...

First off, kudos to you for mentioning Joan of Arcadia - I can honestly say that Season 1 made a huge impact on both Adam and me, especially in our heartaches. Imagine being blessed by a tv show!

Second, I have a hard time when people say wonderful things about pregnancy to me. I too tend to think that the baby part is the more important part... (that is, the healthy, live baby part!).
To be fair, most of the people who say this don't know my past or that I have lost a baby. But I do get tired of all the assumptions that go along with a woman being pregnant.

I'm glad you're posting again. I've missed reading your thoughts.

And, congrats on your pregnancy - I didn't know about it :)

Janna said...

Brooke - thanks for your comment. I've been keeping up w/ you and Adam even though I haven't commented. I guess I felt weird after I got pregnant again- as you see I haven't said much about it here. The way you've been sharing, as you're going through stuff, has been so courageous. One of your posts talked about taking the risk to love again -- that was great. I'm not sure too many people would take that risk after what y'all have been through.
I'm thinking about you as you pass this crucial week. I pray your mind and heart will feel more peace from here on out.

the hamster said...

do you ever hole up and watch hours upon hours of buffy? if so, we should chat.

i would have to go for $3 a drink. the best pint deals in kansas city are the "anything on tap for $2.50" deals. which i have not taken advantage of in 2007, so i'm about due.

thanks for posting. i miss you and john.