Friday, September 30, 2011

Operation Awesomepants: Month 1 Results & Reflections

Hi, y'all!

Today is September 30th, which makes tomorrow October 1st, which means that the first month of Operation Awesomepants, whose theme was energy, is coming to a close.  So, did I keep my resolutions?  Did keeping them dramatically improve my life and make me a happier non-camper?  It was a mixed bag with a positive result, like when your Starburst packet contains a disproportionate number of orange ones, but then you decide that you actually really like orange ones.  Yeah.  Just like that.

Wait?  What the what is this?  Do you think it rumbles with Sunny D?  Does orange juice look down on it with disdain?  Fascinating.  Let's table this discussion and get back to business, shall we?

1.  Go to sleep earlier.  

I opted to ignore this resolution so many times that the first row in my OA log looks like it's been hit with some 90's-era crop circles.  I managed to go to sleep earlier exactly 6 nights out of the last 29, and will likely stay up tonight, too.  That's a whopping 20% completion rate, friends, not something I'm proud of.  The siren song of just a few more minutes of reading in bed, or watching TV with SLB, or surfing the stupid web in an obsessive quest for Halloween decorations was just too strong to resist.  Still, I'll persist (Did I mention that I'm an amateur rapper?) into next month and the rest of the year.  The strange thing is that, even though I didn't get more sleep than previous months, especially with big transitions in Livy's life that kept her up some nights, I seemed to have more energy during the days.  My self-exhortation to "make the effort" rang through my days loudly and really did give me the verve that I expected more sleep to impart.  But more on that later.  And, hopefully, more early nights next month.

2.  Use energy honestly.

All right, this one is a 27/29, clearly a success, but, again, unexpectedly so.  I had anticipated that this resolution would prompt more rest in my days - more naps when I'd been up the previous night with Livy, more quiet reading time - but the exact opposite was true.  I know that I have a tendency to try to quell the ants that seem to permanently reside in my pants, sometimes to the extent that I'll force myself into quiet activities simply because I think I should save energy or maintain a calm home during Livy's rest times, a habit left over from our previous house that was half the size of the new house.  So, when I examined my energy level during the past month, I found more often that I really wanted to be doing more activity, not less.  That meant less reading, napping, and screen time, and more cleaning, weeding, exercising, puttering and cooking, all of which are good things.  This is also reflected in a surprise weight loss of 3 pounds for the month, too, which is also a great unexpected blessing.  Who knew I had it in me?

3.  Exercise Better.

This one was a toughie to maintain because I'm generally leery of new physical activity, but I managed an 18/30, or 60% of my workouts consisting of more than just pounding away at an elliptical trainer.  I've also been brave about attending an evening yoga class at the gym with great results.  I'm already improving in my flexibility and strength and can do poses now that I couldn't do when I was at my peak fitness before Livy.  Liv and I have also been attending a mommy-toddler dance class, and I'm counting that as flexibility training because of all the stretches we do.  One thing I still need to confront is my reluctance to lift weights at the gym.  It smells like raw ass in the weight room, like post-Katrina flooding and old sweat mingled together, and I hate to take up valuable cardio time when at the gym is my only opportunity to really work up a sweat (Livy hates it when I run with the stroller).  But, I recognize that this is a next step in exercising better and will find a solution.

4.  Plug Leaks

22/30, or 73%.  Leak-plugging has been easy this month, mainly because we have so many to plug.  We may have moved in in March, but we've also been so busy and complacent that we never really settled in and began nesting in the new house.  There was a lot of low-hanging fruit to pick, and we picked a bushel in the last month.  And I say "we," uncharacteristically, not in the royal sense.  Once we sat down and took a room-by-room inventory of changes we want to make and things we want to do in the house, SLB got on board with feverish activity.  Livy has even begun cleaning up her toys at the end of the day - a couple of times without my having to ask.  The leak-plugging has also spread to car maintenance, self-care, parenting (Oh, hi big girl bed and potty training!) and all manner of nagging "undones" on my to-do list.  This forward motion feels great, and the sense that we're tackling these projects as a team is even better.

5.  Make the Effort.

This one is tricky.  I've got a perfect 100% here, no zeroes in any square in that row.  I should celebrate, but I feel like I sometimes make the wrong effort.  I may work and hustle all day long doing things, but often at the end of the day I feel like I've accomplished nothing of importance.  Sure, I may have cleaned the kitchen, but did I do any writing that day?  Yes, I may have run around hauling Livy from errand to errand, but did we have any meaningful floor time together?  I know this is normal for a lot of people, particularly stay-at-home parents, but I'd like to focus on not just making any old effort, but on making the RIGHT effort.  So please consider this resolution duly changed to Make the Right Effort.  The days during which I did make the right effort, particularly when doing art projects with Livy or taking her to a play at the Seattle Children's Theater (she talks about painting on her feet to make footprint art and "Hawold and da Puhple Cwayon" ALL. THE. TIME.) I consider my most successful of the month.  That kind of effort is where good memories come from, and that's the kind of work I want to do under this resolution.  So, a result, a reflection, and a revision.  That's parallelism at its best as I launch tomorrow into Month 2.

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