Looking Forward

What a waste 2017 has been. The whole year was frittered away, engulfed in political garbage, obsessing about my volunteer responsibilities and being caught in the mesmerizing spell of computer solitaire. While none of these activities seems like much, put them all together and it amounts to lots of lost and wasted time.

I made myself literally sick over the political situation and spent the whole year trying to keep fully informed of every foible, misstep and unbelievable breaking news story put out by the “fake news.” Who I believe, by the way. I became bewitched, bothered and bewildered by the behavior of the many politicians who seem to have sold out their ethics in the name of career promotion and self-generated hubris.

Watching TV pundits hash and rehash the latest supposed crisis felt like I was watching a poorly made B-movie. I told friends I thought of it as a sit-com or a soap opera and putting it in this vein gave me some relief. After all, if I could laugh or roll my eyes it couldn’t be normal. Except that some issues are deadly serious. No laughing matter, indeed.

I was also mindful of my volunteer work that had become onerous. I’d taken on responsibilities that had become too much and while I value the organization that helped me improve my writing, enough is enough. This isn’t a job. They can’t fire me and actually I could quit anytime I wished. So why all this angst.

Playing solitaire on the computer was what I did to waste another chunk of time. Internet Gaming Disorder has been named as a topic worthy of more research for possible inclusion in the next edition of the DSM (the bible of mental health diagnosis). While I don’t meet the criteria, I have to admit that I do find solitaire calming. I’m kidding myself that it’s a form of meditation. How’s that for rationalization.

Bad habits creep up on us. And so, with me. So, what to do. I don’t believe in new year’s resolutions. They don’t work anyway. But I had to do something. After reading an article on intentional change and with much thought, I’ve decided to take the middle way. By that I mean I’m going to adjust my habits just a little. Nothing drastic. But at least I’ll feel like I’m pushing forward instead of being stuck in nowhere.

For politics, I’ve decided on two shows to watch. I’ve sworn off the highly dramatic and clearly one-sided reporters. I’m down to one on Fox and another on MSNBC. Nothing more. That way I’m still hearing both sides of the story. I want to remain informed so I’m ready to vote. And voting is the only way I can change anything.

For the volunteer work, my term is finished in October and I’ve made a sensible list of what I can accomplish by the end of that time. For solitaire, I’m cutting back. And what, you might ask, will I do with all this extra time? More reading. More writing. More socializing. Who knows what new interests and opportunities will come out of this. Since I don’t make new year’s resolutions, I got started weeks before.

Hours of political garbage has been replaced by reruns of Friends and other old programs; I’ve even dipped into Seinfeld which I never did appreciate when it was on the air. They’re so funny and I find myself laughing out loud sometimes. When nothing else is on I go to my 15 or so favorite episodes of the Big Bang Theory saved on my DVR. The Gift Exchange episode still makes me roar though I’ve seen it countless times.

And don’t think for a minute that I watch a lot of TV, because I don’t. My DV recorder helps me keep up on those that are worth it. For the solitaire, I do it when I’m doing my thirty-minute sore back ice pack. For the volunteer stuff, I have a check list and do no more. I can’t believe how my mood has already changed and how much better I’m feeling. This intentional change method is working. It hasn’t even started but 2018 is already a better year.




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