Sunday, February 17, 2013

These Forty Days

My hopes for this Lent are kind of modest, and I think it's better that way. First, I want to stop using profanity. I am doing fairly well with this, although I have slipped a few times. It seems like the better I regulate my stress level, the better I can stick to this one. It's just an aggressive and caustic way to talk, and I think I will be better for avoiding it whenever possible. I don't aim for 100% eradication of all cursing, but maybe a good, solid 85% to 90% reduction. We will see how this one goes.

My second hope is kind of ironic, considering that I am writing it here, but I am working on reducing my world a little bit. I am removing myself from social media to a great extent, although not completely. I have deleted my Tumblr and Twitter accounts, and scaled my Facebook friends list way down. This is as a result of several difficult things that have happened lately, and I feel like the more private I am, the better. I do like keeping up with my friends, but I think I have to do it in a much smaller kind of way.

My third hope is very closely tied to the second, and it has to do with really getting comfortable with my reality. Part of my personality is that I spend a lot of time "in my head" -- ideas are incredibly real and important to me. Alternately, sometimes the tangible stuff of my life seems very dull or difficult, and it is always a temptation to escape into thought and to strive to built thought-castles like stories or books (or blog posts) instead of just sitting with reality. For me, social media makes this kind of escape easier, which is why I am cutting it back. It also has to do with letting go of silly ambitions that belong to someone younger. I am a wife and mother and teacher. I am not a writer (at least not in any kind of real sense) or thinker or influential person of any kind, and the less I try to be those things, the more peace I think I will ultimately feel. I guess another way of putting it is that I want to let my ambition go. Ambition is something like desire, in that it can lead you to achieve and strive more, but conversely it always leads to sadness and disappointment. The less ambition there is, the less twisting, turning, churning adolescent pain. I stopped being an adolescent at least ten years ago, if not more. I should really leave it in my past. This translates into something like talking less, and listening more. Communicating in ways other than with words. Doing my work faithfully and daydreaming less. Something like more dishes and laundry, fewer story plots scrawled in my notebook. One day I want to wake up contented with the fact that I live an obscure life, and always will.

So far I am doing all right with these goals. Today was a big day because I got rid of Tumblr and Twitter, both. It actually hurt, a little, but I think in the end it will be good. My goal is to make it through an entire Monday (tomorrow, and the hardest day of the week) with no profanity. Can I do it? :)
Update: No, I can't do it. Too many stressful events, and the profanity just tumbles out. Might try again tomorrow.

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