How are the resolutions going?

I know. It seems a little early to be asking this question, but I've heard a large percentage of people drop their resolutions within the first week of the new year. Ouch. That has to bring on the guilt.

So that's why I've left my resolutions more vague, not as rigid as many people's. It's harder to actually break them. For instance, my healthier lifestyle resolution. Working out three times this week may not be the ultimate, but still it's within bounds of what I promised myself I'd do. I went to work out yesterday, though I'm not one to be up early on the weekends. I considered that an extra good thing since I could have slept even later and blown off exercise.

More often I break my resolution to be more kind to myself. When I forget or lose something I catch myself saying that I'm "stupid." The rule of thumb is if you wouldn't say it to another person, don't say it to yourself. And, though I often hurl the insult at GW Bush when he's on TV (and sometimes when he's not), I wouldn't say to a person, "You're stupid."

The other day my doctor tried to provoke me into complimenting myself. She prompted me with:

Doctor: "You received your undergrad degree with honors, and you're in grad school and getting a perfect 4.0 GPA. What does that say about you?"

Me: "Umm.. I guess that I'm intelligent."

Doctor: "Could we try that without the "guess"?

Me: "I'm intelligent. I guess."

Doctor:"Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrgh!"

I just can't do it yet.

Where I'm lagging most is my resolution to read less books at a time – not to overload myself with projects, etc. I'm looking at the book pile beside my bed, the one I dip into according to mood, and it's overwhelming. Also, when I visit my various mountains and/or shelves of books I see at least a dozen I want to reach for. I slap my hand, but the urge distracts me nonetheless.

At one time I could easily read a dozen books at a time. I don't mean juggle all twelve, of course. I mean I could hop from one to another with ease, again depending on mood. I never crossed plotlines, but the thing is I know I got less enjoyment out of each by not giving it more undivided attention. And where does that get me? It may up my reading numbers, but it's not the reason book lovers read. It's for the enjoyment, for the intoxicating fall into another world. You can't get that by reading so many at a time.

I feel such a rush to read all the good books I can find. Reviews entice me like Matahari wooed soldiers. They're irresistible. Plus, working in a library all the brand new books come under my nose. For a bibliophile that's almost more pain than I can take. Sometimes I check out twenty or thirty books at a time, knowing full well I can't possibly read them all. The annoying part is I'm always left searching all over the house for them when I've run out of renewals. I don't get charged fines for overdues, but if I lose books of course I have to pay for them. And I have lost a couple. Whoops.

With age, some of the self-flagellation for not being able to read everything has lessened. For example, I no longer feel compelled to start at the beginning of the history of the written word and read all the important books chronologically up to contemporary times. At one time I would have lost sleep over that. Can you say bipolar mania?

I started life as a bookworm, and it's only gotten more intense the older I've gotten. I know a lot more about titles and authors than I did as a kid. Plus, I grew up in a tiny town with a minuscule library, and the only bookstores near me were the Walden Books located in shopping malls. Selection there was limited, especially since I only read the classics. Now that I read in more genres it's opened a whole new world to me. Maybe too big a world.

I'm surprised to find I now have an interest in scientific books, considering it wasn't so long ago I never veered from fiction. I'm interested in the Universe (theories as to its properties, its genesis, its behavior, etc.), and how the mind works, just for two examples. This morning a review popped into my inbox, Einstein for the 21st Century: His Legacy in Science, Art, and Modern Culture. It's a series of essays by experts, writing on different aspects of Einstein the man – as opposed to explaining his theories. My reading senses started tingling. I checked our library system, and I see only one library has it, and it's checked out. I dare not order it; spring semester starts in a mere nine days. By the time I get the book and start on it (plus, remember, I'm already reading other books) I'd have to return it due to lack of time. But the urge to hit that "Place Hold" button is strong. I just have to resist it.

Einstein21st

Overall, I wouldn't say I'm off to a bad start on my non-resolution resolutions. A little tweaking here and there should fix the deficiencies. I'm probably doing much better than a lot of Americans, like those who vowed to exercise every day and haven't gone once. I know I haven't been perfect, but I'd give myself a "good enough so far" rating. And that has the added benefit of being kinder to myself. Even more "good enough."
 

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