Sunday, January 06, 2008

New Year's Resolutions

In the past, I have made long lists of New Year's resolutions, with goals in many categories of life: job, money, exercise, reading, kids, marriage, etc., etc. They seemed to help me focus on things that I really wanted to accomplish and at the end of the year, while listing goals for the next year, I was often impressed that, to some extent, they had worked.

This year, with some physical problems really annoying me and a desire to focus on only a few things, I am cutting my list down to four resolutions.

1. Lose weight.
2. Read books I already have.
3. Throw out, sell, donate, or recycle stuff.
4. Better posture, especially at the computer.

I know, losing weight is a cliché resolution. But many of my physical problems are exacerbated by the extra weight and I need to get serious about losing weight again. I have been so discouraged about it. I swim 48 lengths of the pool (2/3 of a mile) 4 times a week, so I DO get exercise. And I eat good food, not junk. So the main methods of attack this year are portion size and making sure that I don't eat for emotional reasons. One thing my doctor (well, actually, a PA, a physician's assistant) said when I went in lately for a routine check up was helpful. I was lamenting that I had lost 60 pounds a year ago and had gained it all back. But he put a positive spin on it: at least you know you CAN do it. Maybe that will be my mantra.

I used to think that you could never have too many books, but lately I am feeling owned by the books, rather than owning them. Goals 2 and 3 go together. I want to read the books I already have and pass on to others the ones I am finished with. I haven't decided if I want to sell them, trade them, or donate as a group to some needy school - or just take them to the library and let them either use them or sell them. I guess I should focus on something I WILL actually be able to do. I have thought about donating them to a school for a long time, but it doesn't get done. Neither does selling them or trading them. Taking them to the library has worked for me.

Goal number 4 is related to back problems I have had. One of the outcomes of my recent visit to the PA was that, after he told me that my back problem was probably just a muscle pull or strain from bad posture at the computer, I finally decided that I needed to find out if it really was just that or if it was something more serious. After all, he had told me the same thing a year or more ago and a muscle pull should have gotten better in a year. So I went ahead and pretty much insisted that he order x-rays of the back. Diagnosis: degenerative disk disease with probably at least two fused vertebrae. In a way, I feel a bit vindicated. At least I haven't been complaining about nothing. But I am still thinking about the diagnosis. Does it just mean that I have arthritis in my spine? Should I see an orthopedic surgeon to see if I would benefit from surgery? Are orthopedic doctors objective enough to say no, or do they always say yes to maximize income?

Ironically, sitting up straighter at the computer does seem to help.

So there they are.

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