Behind the Curve

I live my life several weeks behind itself.  I’m usually trying to catch up with stuff I intended to do three weeks ago.  Then I think fuck it I’ll go look at the bird-feeder again, and suddenly four months later I’m berating myself for being a disorganised slovenly mess of a human being.

Except when it comes to popular culture, when I am at least a year but probably more like four years behind everyone else in the Western World.  Which is why I just discovered the new musical hurrah that is Raising Sand by Robert Plant and Alison Krauss.

I’m behind on writing, reading, thinking, and trying to pull a PhD proposal out of my backside.  Behind on correspondence, on seeing friends who have Important Things going on in their lives, on watching TV, on thanking readers of this blog for reading (thank you!), and on preparing for the impending destructive onslaught of the  All Purpose Polish Tradesman.

I am one vast lardy lazy pink fleshy mass, sitting down and oozing wallow all over itself.

It isn’t a great start to 2011.

A couple of years ago when I was in the business of making formal recommendations to others, I resolved on New Year’s Eve that I would never resolve, only recommend.   Recommendations have a take it or leave it quality which side-steps the inevitable self-flagellation accompanying failure to keep a fully-fledged resolution.  If it’s just a recommendation, there’s nothing to fail.  I simply ignored myself, which is what I spend most of my time doing anyway.

This year’s New Year’s Recommendations to myself are as follows:

Take My Health Seriously.

I’ve always thought of myself as a healthy person.  I’m quite strong, I’m rarely ill, and I can run several miles.   OK, so I have spent the last year constantly moaning to my mother about the shiteous nature of my horrible job and the difficulty of finding a new one, until she started asking me whether I thought I might be depressed.

But I quit the horrible job late in November, so my belly-aching ceased.  Then my mother told me it wasn’t normal to be as tired as I am, and when I expressed surprise at her assessment she bought me one of those hippy-dippy self-help eat yourself to boundless spiritual unity and joy books, because she is concerned about my overall well-being issues, evidenced by exhaustion, malaise, and skin problems.  This from my mother who has had breast cancer and a stroke, and is allergic to everything.

I pointed out that since January 2006 I have completed a masters degree, moved house four times (two of which were across the globe, a whole new dimension of moving pain), had five new jobs, my beloved flat trashed by bastard tenants, and a close family member who had a stroke.  I invited her to pull any hippy-dippy stress-related self-help book she liked off the shelf, and tot up the numbers on the inevitable ‘Are YOU Stressed’ scare-’em-into-unclenching quiz contained within.  I bet her she would find that I topped out in the HOLY FUCK bracket of stress when averaged across the last four or five years.

I’m fine now, I said.  I just need a little bit of stability for a good long while and all will be chocolate fudge sundae, thank you very much for your unnecessary concern.  I have achieved relative stability, ignoring the fact that in June I’ll be out of a job.

Nevertheless, she said in her I’m still your mother and I won’t stand for this shit voice.  Nevertheless, you should at least register with the doctor and go see them.  And read that book I bought you.  And take a daily multi-vitamin, and ask the doctor to run tests in case you are about to drop dead, and and and

I agreed, so she would stop talking.

I read the book, and while I retain a certain amount of scepticism about any book with a cloudy blue and silver cover, I scored 59% on the health indicators test, which in layman’s terms equates to Do! Something!

I’m starting with eating healthily (which I thought I already did but apparently my sprout intake is not what it could be) and taking some carefully chosen supplements.  My general action life-test is What Do You Have to Lose?  In this case the answer is only the wallet-busting cost of the supplements.

If I don’t feel a difference in a couple of months I will simply recommend to myself that this is a waste of energy and money, and stop.

Try to be More Grateful

At Life, Smudged we don’t score many points for originality.

When I look at what I have and all the advantages life has thrown at me, I realise that over 2010 I have on several occasions unjustifiably sounded like the traumatised post-apocalyptic victim of a natural disaster.  Which is ridiculous when I consider that yesterday my biggest problem was spending half an hour wrestling the crazily heavy living-room curtain back onto its flimsy plastic rail, after I accidentally caused it to fall off by daring to breathe in its direction.

I have a nice house in a nice town next to the greatest city in the world, a job (for now), extra time on my hands, plenty of food to eat, a gym membership, lots of the latest four year old technology, and spare money to spend on holidays.  I have a lovely husband and family.  That puts me in the top very small percentage of incredibly lucky human beings.

This is a joint recommendation with K-man since we’ve both inexplicably been struggling to feel positive over the last year.   Henceforth we shall focus on what we do have and feeling grateful for it.  The weird part is that if you asked either of us, we would describe ourselves as utterly non-materialistic.  This smacks of delusion, and I need to spend some of 2011 exploring the causes of this before we drive ourselves mad for another year.

Here endeth the recommendations.  The second rule of Recommendations is that overloading oneself means Sarah Palin becomes President of the Universe while you weren’t looking because you were trying to keep to multiple recommendations.

Coming soon on Life, Smudged: more Behind the Curve living as I write about things I didn’t write about in 2010.  Including episodes on Canada, a Parisian wedding, soap-making, jam-making, my left arm, and a particularly boring piece on my plans for even more education.  In the 2011 series there will be episodes on my new fire-place, the re-plastering of almost the whole house, my attempts to grow vegetables, and a couple of my proudest second-hand purchases.

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5 Responses to “Behind the Curve”


  1. 1 trash January 6, 2011 at 5:49 pm

    Please don’t think you have to overfocus on recommendations as I reeeeeeeaaaaaally don’t want That Woman in charge at The White House.

  2. 2 Jenn @ Juggling Life January 6, 2011 at 6:03 pm

    “It is better to want what you have than to have what you want.”–I truly believe that.

    I’m done worrying about Sarah Palin being President and I’m on to worrying about Michelle Bachman becoming President–it may actually worry me more.

  3. 3 Jen on the Edge January 6, 2011 at 9:29 pm

    I don’t make resolutions, I set some realistic goals. And, I don’t make too many at once. No more than two or three. And once I have those goals, I actually plan out how I’ll achieve them, including (if necessary) scheduling things on my calendar. Yes, I really am just like that.

    I am not a big fan of New Age-y self-help books, especially if they have blue and silver or any pastel colors on the cover.

  4. 4 Suzanne January 8, 2011 at 9:18 am

    I’m just looking forward to reading about the ongoing journey…whatever direction it may or may not take. Here’s hoping 2011 bring us all the laughter, love, joy, success and good health we can handle…and then some!

  5. 5 Bella Rum January 12, 2011 at 5:14 pm

    “I am one vast lardy lazy pink fleshy mass, sitting down and oozing wallow all over itself.”

    You do know how to turn a phrase.

    I’m looking forward to the 2011 coming attractions on Life, Smudged. Glad to see one of your recommendations is to take your health more seriously. You can never start too soon. Good luck.

    Don’t worry about Sarah. She’ll never get elected. Oh, dear. Did I just say never? That isn’t good, is it? One should never tempt the fates. Sheesh.


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