As I nurse a tryptophan-induced turkey hangover, I thought I would take a few moments to reflect on the past year. Specifically, I thought I should check in how I have done with my New Year’s Resolutions for 2015. Yes. I actually remember them.
1. Start a blog
You’re reading it. Check
2. Run a marathon in under four hours.
3. Get off my sleep medication
For the past few years, I have struggled with insomnia. At least five nights/week, I would go to bed at 11:00, get up at 2:00AM, go back to bed around 5:00AM and get up at 6:00. It was brutal. In case you were wondering, there is absolutely nothing going on at 3:30AM on a Tuesday. Even Facebook is dead. Seriously, how am I supposed to know what coffee cups are offensive, that I am going to hell for supporting a cause, or that my belief system makes me a fascist? With nobody trying to fix me with snarky memes, posters, or comments that they are only brave enough to make from behind a keyboard how was I to pass the time? I tried all the sleep tricks I learned in grad school and took enough OTC sleep aids that they didn’t faze me. I finally gave up and began taking a prescription sleep aid and it worked wonders. However, after a couple years, I made it a goal to get some of my personal issues under control so that I could get off the pills.
On top of the “Fresh Rants” journal that my wife gave me so I would shut up and leave her alone, is 1/2 of one my sleep pills. That pill has been sitting there three weeks. I do not wake up with my mind racing, I do not stress about stuff, when I screw something up with people I try to fix it to the best of my ability and then I let it go. I sleep. For the first time in 18 months, I generally sleep through the night chemical free and I am extremely excited. Yes, apparently I am a newborn. Check
4. Stop being a doormat in my personal and professional life.
This one is hard for me. I was raised to put others first, to treat others better than myself and to serve. I still firmly believe that is how life should be lived. Make no mistake. I am no saint. I am as selfish, self-centered, and lazy as the next person, but I think I generally do a decent job prioritizing others. The struggle for me has always been finding that line between being a selfless employee or friend and being a doormat that gets taken advantage of. It is easy to start feeling like that tool that is thrown in the closet, forgotten about until it is needed, and then thrown right back until it is needed again. The closet is lonely. The closet is scary. Just watch any Toy Story movie and you will know what’s up.
I have struggled with this resolution because it feels like I could rephrase it as “I am going to be more of a jerk” or “Someone else will take care of it” and I do not like that. However a friend of mine recently said, “There is no end or limit to serving others or submissiveness. However, if you do it to the point of self-loathing, there is a problem.” That cleared it up for me.
I really have not changed what I actually do too much, but I have stopped to think before offering to help with something extra at work or when someone needs something. If I can improve a situation, help a friend or generally feel good about serving, I still do it. If my initial reaction is, “Yup, what do you know? Erik’s going to get the extra project because he won’t complain” or “Geez, Erik, when are you going to stop being a doormat?” then I decline. It has really helped me to strike a balance between not changing who I am and what I believe and despising who I am and what I believe. I am going to say I made this goal. At least as much as I want to.
Fortunately, I am surrounded by good people and actually face this dilemma quite infrequently. When you are actually sleeping it is easier to feel good about helping others and not even question their motives.
Yes. This post was unadulterated bragging. Sorry, but I honestly gave myself a 10% chance of succeeding on number three and am pretty proud of it. Life is good.
Taking suggestions for next year’s resolutions.