Monday, January 4, 2016

Intentions for 2016

It's almost 2016. Another year down and gone. 2015 was pretty darn good; a few disappointments, and far too much time away from people I love and enjoy hanging out with, but overall, very good.

I don't do New Year's Resolutions. I do New Year's Intentions. I thought a little about the difference between resolving to do something and intending to do something. Intending definitely sounds a little weaker, a little wussier. Resolving is steadfast, committed, resolute. Intending gives me wiggle room to forgive myself more easily if I don't live up to my own high expectations. So, New Year's Intentions:

Blog five days a week while away from homeport: my week runs from Monday to Sunday, and while I give myself two days off a week, they cannot (?)...should not be back to back days. I'll lose my momentum if I do that. And the beauty of getting underway for patrol close to the beginning of the New Year is that I get to immediately put this Intention to the test. Thanks again to Uncle Heathen for being my aider and abettor; and thanks for the ideas of how to make this Intention easier to face on those days when I just don't wanna write (whiny footstomp implied). This post kicks off my first week. Yay, Monday!

Stop buying stuff with hidden sugar in it. I just got done reading Year of No Sugar: A Memoir, by Eve Schaub. And I'd love to try the same experiment she and her family did. Alas, I have two options for going on patrol with an Intention like that: take nearly all of my food with me which is not particularly feasible because of storage space, the impending timeline for departure, and my lack of available time (aka, my general laziness) to plan; or piss every single member of the crew off by imposing my quite ridiculous Intention on them (CO vetoed this outright). So I must compromise, and the compromise I can live with (for now) is to stop buying stuff with hidden sugar in it. This means reading labels, learning about fructose, sucrose, and a whole bunch of other -oses. And while I'm on patrol, I have a built-in loophole: I don't actually buy any food to prepare so I don't have any direct control of what gets purchased. I buy meals ready made by our fantastic cooks, which I will eat with relish and delight that I don't have to fret over food when there's so much other stuff on which I do need to focus. I do promise to do my best not to be obnoxious reading the labels of all the condiments we have out on the table and protesting (loudly) when Every. Damn. One. Of. Them. has some form of sugar in it. I may at least have a conversation with FSC about how much he and his guys read labels when buying staples like tomato sauce and mayonnaise.

But this also means intentional desserts -- not just shoving cake or cookies into my pie-hole because they're easy and available. Sorry, EO, I know you like me better when I'm not on a no-sugar kick, but I am allowing myself one dessert per week. And this time, honey is not allowed -- store it in the fridge all you like. No more being all self-righteous about not having an after dinner candy bar, but eating three rolls smothered in honey.

I'm not doing this specifically to lose weight (though dropping about 15 pounds sure would be a nice by-product); I'm doing it to try to manage my energy levels a little better. I don't want to be exhausted at the end of every day.

I suspect there's more going on with my propensity towards laziness on my time off than just my diet, especially after reading Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking, by Susan Cain. On every single personality test I've ever taken, back even when I was about 10 years old, I have always been an Introvert (yes, with a capital I). Large, noisy groups of people stress me out. It takes effort for me to make small talk and be personable, especially with people I have just met -- I can do it, and maybe, sometimes, even make it look relatively easy, but after encounters like that, I usually need a few quiet hours on my couch with a good book. Reading Quiet was helpful because it pointed out many of the benefits of being an introvert that I hadn't previously considered.

Or maybe I just read too much.

So what does being an Introvert have to do with New Year's Intentions? I'm transferring this summer, moving to a new city. Unfortunately, because I love Wilmington and DILIGENCE -- but I know I have to leave. And I want the energy and the framework for involving myself in things outside of work so that I can build a sense of community wherever it is that I'm moving to for the next two to three years. I intend to find a place or two to volunteer at least once a month, maybe Girls on the Run or some local arboretum/nature preserve. I intend to join a running group -- and actually run with them at least once a week. I intend to accept invitations to coffee, lunch or dinner with friends and not look for excuses to bail, no matter how draining work has been. And I intend to be okay with letting myself be a lazy slug on my quiet couch if I have met my (self-imposed) social obligations for the week, guilt free.

Happy 2016 all! May it bring you peace, happiness and the adventure you seek!

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