2012: Mayan-Sized Endings

Published January 2, 2012 by Susan Woodward

Every year at this time everyone talks about resolutions to make changes… me included.  And every year, my resolve weakens about the third or fourth week in, gets invigorated in the spring after the winter hibernation, ebbs and flows throughout the summer, and then falls totally short once the new school year begins in September.  It’s been my pattern for so many years, but January 1 is always right there around the corner every 365 days just in time for me to make similar resolutions that will also fall short.

With all of the attention being given to the Mayan calendar ending in 2012, I want to pay attention.  This is an ending that won’t have a 365 day renewal policy.  While many are certain that December 21, 2012 will be the end of the world, I simply see it as a time for preparing for the end of an era.  And with the end of a long cycle needs to be the end of some long-standing resolutions… at least for me.  2012 also marks a milestone birthday for me… I will turn 50 in February, and it is time for some long-lasting changes.  I am ready for 2012 to be an ending of long cycles of behaviors in my life, starting with my annual pseudo-resolutions.

Long-Standing behaviors that I want to end throughout 2012:

1.  Self-Poisoning:  I need to stop poisoning my body and my mind.  This has been life long battle for me.  I eat too much of the wrong foods, I smoke, and I fill my mind with doubt.   I have been fearful too long, and have self “medicated” with overindulgence to the point where I have reached toxic levels… poison.

2.  Isolation:  Because of my fears of rejection, I have kept myself from really connecting with others.   I put myself in a self-imposed desert state, and it’s time to move more toward civilization.  While it may have been good for me to think of it as solitude and reassessment for a period of time, I have become too comfortable being by myself.   A certain level of safety has arisen from being alone, but that wall of safety has cut me off from so much.  Now even more at social functions, I retreat from the crowds to find a quiet corner.  Because I am afraid that anything I might have to say is not anything that anyone would want to hear, I shy away from conversation and simply watch from a distance.   I have done this for most of my life, but not to the level that I have currently reached.   This is a pattern I so desperately want to break because there is so much that I want to do with what is left of this life.   I cannot do what I truly want if I hide away from the world.

3. Fearfulness: My fears have caused the above behaviors, particularly the fear of rejection.   It has kept me from connecting with people, caused severe procrastination in my writing, provided me with an excuse to self-medicate with food and smoking, and kept me in this self-imposed desert state.  By working to conquer #3, that should take care of knocking off #1 and #2 above.

So fighting fearfulness is where I begin to make these long lasting changes.   And from past experience of resolutions, I am not going to try to go cold-turkey.  This cycle of endings came after a long period, and so my endings cannot just happen overnight… but they will happen.

– I will quit smoking, but I will do so gradually, giving me a better chance at long-lasting success.

– I will improve my eating behaviors, but I will not tell myself to stop eating any particular thing altogether.   I will work toward moderation so that I will not feel deprived and then fall back into over-indulgence.

– I will get out of the corner at social functions.  No, I won’t be the life of the party… but I will avoid being too shy to talk to new people.   I’ll start with talking to one new person at a time, and just go from there.

– I will get off the couch and exercise more.  No marathons, no Olympics… but getting out to do something I really love… swimming… will do much for me physically.   With less smoking, I will be able to build stamina in doing laps.  As my body becomes stronger, I will be less inclined to indulge in eating too much.

– I will make time to write a bit a couple times a week and work my way up to doing a bit of writing more often.   I don’t want to put a time line on my novel because that is self-defeating, but I will keep a steady pace at it and it will be complete in its own time… as long as I chip away at it.   A few pages at a time and before I know it, I will have all the pages it requires.   I will stop worrying about whether or not anyone else will like what I’ve written and just do it for myself.   I actually DO like the story I’ve plotted out, and as long as I like it, then that will be a very good start.   If I care enough about my own work, then I will be able to find others who will care about it, too.

While these may seem like the same resolutions I make year after year, I am going to be much more mindful about how I tackle my issues.   It took a couple thousand years for the Mayan calendar to come to an end, so I will not have high expectations of my life-long behaviors ending at the drop of a ball.   It will be a year of endings, and when December 21, 2012 arrives, a whole new era will begin.  That is my goal… to get ready for new beginnings.

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