Tuesday, December 14, 2010

2011 or Bust: The Commitments

I'm not going to call these resolutions, since the very word reeks of failure, given the past thirty years. No, this year I am making some personal commitments to myself. They're all pretty selfish and me-me-me, but I also think they'll help me be better to others. They're very much related to my last post, "Making a Better Me: Lessons Learned in 2010.'

If I have my way, 2011 will be Colleen's Year of Busting.

1. Butt-busting

I'm going to admit it. I felt so much better when I was hitting the gym five days a week, two or three of those with a personal trainer. I felt better physically; stairs did not make me as tired, I had more energy throughout the day, and my aches and pains were minimal. I also felt mentally better - my gym time was a really fantastic way for me to downshift from work time to home time (which I have failed miserably at for 2010, and which, according to Tony Schwartz, is pretty important). I slept better. I felt more comfortable in my skin when everything tightened up just a wee bit. And I felt stronger. Not just stronger in my muscles - which was true - but in spirit. I felt capable, balanced, and in sync with myself.

I want that back. In fact, I've already emailed my trainer and asked him to get me onto his schedule, and if he can't (he's been promoted, and is much busier than he used to be), to set me up with someone willing to yell at me and deal with my grumpy, sweaty self. I need this, and I am going to make time for it. My excuses of "I don't have enough time" and "I'm too tired" are not helping me live the life I want, and they're not really the truth.

2. Bill-busting

I've got an excellent personal budget spreadsheet - I've forgotten the site where I acquired it a few years ago, but I've tweaked the Excel sheet to really work for me (and am happy to share it if you ask). It's kept me on track in terms of not overdrawing, but poor planning for random expenses (vet, conferences, medical bills, etc.) have kept me from really getting ahead on things. My goal for 2011 is to kill all of my non-student-loan debt. It is completely doable if I can be disciplined.

I have a good job with a good salary - it is ridiculous for me to maintain this sort of interest-bearing debt. I want to buy a house of my own. I'd like to do an international trip-for-fun once a year. I want to develop some financial security. This one is a no-brainer, and unlike the many years I spent as a student broke and living off cobbled-together part-time minimum wage jobs, this is doable.

3. Ball-busting

With too many balls in the air, I start to feel disorganized. Then things start to look disorganized, as papers pile up haphazardly first on my office desk, then on my office table, then on my home kitchen table, then the coffeetable. No more. While having many ongoing projects and rolling due dates is part and parcel of being a middle manager and active professional, I will be making a more concerted effort to (1) schedule things (particularly supplemental, outside-of-actual-work projects) so I don't feel like I'm struggling so much to keep my head above water, and (2)only volunteer for new outside-of-workplace duties when something else gets scratched off the list, leaving space for it.

I need more balance in my life, which is essentially what all of these resolutions have in common.

I've already decided that I'm full up for spring through summer 2011. For travel, I'll be going to Midwinter ALA for the Emerging Leaders program, presenting at Computers in Libraries and at the Tennessee Library Association in the same week in March, and then ALA Annual in June/July. I'll probably pitch a conference presentation or two for the fall, but I'm full up for spring and summer. Writing-wise, I'm full up for the year: I'm co-editing a collection titled Women and Poetry: Tips on Writing, Teaching and Publishing by Successful Women Poets with Carol Smallwood which will come out from McFarland, co-authoring The Accidental Access Services Librarian (out of Information Today, Inc.) with Mary Carmen Chimato, and volunteered to write a few chapters for Managing in the Middle: The Librarian’s Handbook, co-edited by Farrell & Schlesinger and expected out of ALA. I'll also be taking another 3 classes toward the EdD this spring.

I'm not even reading CFPs anymore, lest I tempt myself into saying yes to more than I can handle. This is my (admittedly warped) version of balance, and mastering The Force through conquering The To-Do List.

4. Wall-busting

When I get busy, annoyed, upset, sad, angry, or tired, I hermit myself, which removes me from the very people who energize, entertain and fabulous-ify me. I will make the conscious effort to make time for friends and stay in contact. I will not be erecting my usual barriers between myself & my friends. I will make the time to call, write and visit, because being with people I love keeps me sane and closer to my humanity.

5. Streak-busting

I have a really fantastic (or terrible, depending on the scale you use) streak of romance failures. While I know I can't actually commit to breaking that streak in 2011 [it takes two], I *can* commit to being more social, meeting new people, and being open to new possibilities, instead of my usual practice of a combination of (1) working myself to death just because there's no one waiting for me at home and, when that becomes exhausting, (2) racing home to whip off my pants and curl up on the couch to read vampire fiction while the dog snoozes at my feet.

These are the commitments I will be trying to keep for myself for 2011. A silly and worn-out exercise to write them down, but it makes me feel better having articulated them, and gives me a touchstone to come back to if I start to falter, or question why I thought they were important. The rollercoaster ride of 2010 brought me to a job I love with great colleagues, and so overall I consider it a resounding success. I'd like to really enjoy 2011, and I think the above commitments will help with that.

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