Granted, my 2015 Heroine list came with a built in mantra: write your own story. In other words, don’t fall into depression, learned helplessness, and impotent rage but take charge of the direction of my life and son’s therapy. And I can begin to imagine alternative futures by remembering basic truths about the magic of love, resilience, and acceptance.
But on the suggestion of Gretchin Rubin, whose self-help/productivity book on habit building was a favorite of mine last year, I am thematically naming 2016 as the year of Roses and am writing up a whole post on New Years Resolutions. Goals! I love making new goals and projects!!
“Roses” might seem odd, considering how roses are such an ambivalent symbol in old favorites of mine like Alice in Wonderland or Utena…
or are SO TOTALLY LAME in Sailor Moon (don’t lie, you think so too).
But despite that…
“roses” is the most appropriate theme for the upcoming year. There are the obvious symbolic connotations of love, beauty, simplicity, patiently nurturing something into bloom, and accepting the balance between fragile beauty and thorns.
In a childhood version of the fairy tale Sleeping Beauty, the thorny briar covering the castle for 100 years suddenly blooms into roses for the prince, allowing him to pass through without harm. Roses here are a magical amulet signaling a safe path at the end of a brutal journey and through an enchanted castle.
Roses also fit nicely into all of the lessons that were already on my mind when I wrote up that 2015 Heroine list. Like, Mary Lennox in The Secret Garden choosing to weed out thistle-like brooding to make room for mental roses or imaginative Anne Shirley in Anne of Green Gables being inspired by the romantic, wild blooming world around her or the rose-red beauty of Snow White. Plus, roses are powerful symbols in alllllllll the other stories that did not quite make the cut either, like Beauty and the Beast or The Little Prince.
Roses in fashion have caught my eye since the famous Dolce and Gabbana FW 2015 show, appropriately dedicated to motherhood.
And the optimism in the phrase “everything’s coming up roses” (coined from the eponymous showtune) is exactly the kind of mantra that I need these days.
So, translated into concrete resolutions for 2016:
Resolution 1: Weed out the thistles. Mary Lennox cleared out festering bad thoughts through sheer physical depletion and in focusing on happy projects.
- Basically, I will go to the gym every weekday at noon. Maybe I will just dinker around or maybe I will train for my upcoming 10k but building the midday habit right now is my main goal. Exercise is a well researched, drug-less way to combat depression. Also, despite everything being terrible, I still want to lose about 5 lbs.
- Whenever I find myself in that mental spiral of despair, I will get off the internet and get busy by KonMari’ing the apartment (my current minimalist idol lives in Paris and runs this blog). It’d be nice to live like a Kaioh Michiru, a kind of Cal Newport-esque wonder, all pared down and fine tuned with direction and clarity.
- Another family rule is, nothing emotionally heavy after 8pm because that just depresses everyone and there isn’t enough time in the day to talk it out. So if it is nighttime and I can’t busy myself cleaning the house, I’ll indulge in some self-care. I just spent $100 on Korean sheet masks so, sheet mask + lotion + meditation or book and that should mentally recenter me.
- Each season will have me focusing on a new project as a form of productive distraction. My first (Winter) project is to keep an organized list of therapy goals and progress sheets that will get updated with each new ASD book I read or new meeting with therapists. I think this can help us see trends, improvements, etc and enable us to feel more in charge of the situation. This will also help me to devise an “in-home” therapy plan.
Resolution 2: Rise to the challenge. No one has the time to be in a depressive slump because there is so much freaking shit I need to do!
- Weekends at noon, I will implement a Power Hour (another Gretchin Rubin idea) and a Planning Hour (a combo of Getting Things Done and Cal Newport’s ideas) to work on specific projects. These will complement the hours I will have on daycare mornings which have been wasted up until now with me just crying over cold cups of McDonalds coffee for hours. Seriously sorry for that mental image but it is the truth.
- Find inspiration. To make it more concrete, I will blog about something inspiring at least once per season. That forces me to keep an eye out for inspiring things! This means rotating my reading to alternate between worrying books like The Out of Sync Child and fun series like Ursula Le Guin’s Earthsea books. This also means getting out of the house an on adventures. Since my son will be in indoor therapies and daycare for maybe 20-30 hours a week next year, I think we’d both benefit from time at the zoo, ballet in the park, etc.
I’d like to note that I am actually very good at making and keeping New Years Resolutions. Making goals, lists, and schedules with super cute stationery is a hobby of mine and I’ve really upped it in recent years with my lovely array of Self Help Productivity type books, FutureMe Email reminders, and customized calendars full of Sailor Moon (etc) pictures haha. But this upcoming year is the most unpredictable one in my entire life. We don’t even know what time our various therapies are for January yet! The best I can do is find wonder at the uncertainty and remind myself that “it has a certain fascination of its own, that bend” in the road.
Here is to 2016!