With a clean slate ahead, the strategist in me can barely contain herself.
What if I read a book a week? What if I did something every day that I’d never done before? What if I dumped a grocery bag a day of “stuff” I don’t really need?
Voila! I know the answer.
By the beginning of 2018, I’d be wiser and more insightful. Filled with scintillating conversation. And – miracle of miracles – clutter-free.
I’d also be stunned.
The last time I undertook one of these “small step” self-improvement plans was the 10-Year Journal I started writing back in 2006.
“If I just enter three lines a day for 10 years,” I announced at the time, “ then by 2016 I’ll have a complete record of the decade.”
I ran across the leather-bound volume the other day. Mostly blank.
Such was the fate of my plan to learn Spanish in just 15 minutes a day, try one new recipe a week, and learn Zen meditation by listening to a CD 30 minutes a day in my car.
‘Bad idea,” a friend had said to that last one. So I gave up on meditating while driving… and also on meditating at home.
So for 2017, I’ve decided to abandon the small step approach and go instead with my natural bent: compulsive total immersion.
It worked, after all, with a 2016 campaign to improve my TV literacy. After figuring out the “on demand” feature of the remote, I was able to immerse myself in two series and complete nearly an entire season of each in one week flat.
It worked – sort of – in winterizing the screened porch. In a single afternoon, I vacuumed and rolled up the rug, scrubbed down the table, dumped an entire jungle of dead potted plants, attacked mildewed chair cushions with bleach solution and an old tooth brush, and carted them all to the basement.
Except for needing a full body alignment the next day, no complaints. To say nothing of the fact that the immersion experience “felt right.” I come from a long line of compulsive immersers.
My mother during a week-long summer visit once “fell up” the basement stairs with a gallon of cedar weatherproofing: her weapon in an intense days-long effort to rejuvenate my picnic table.
“Needs one more coat,” she panted, limping – but still painting – after her downhill slide.
She apparently learned this from her mother, who was so bent on same-day sewing projects that she left “Old Lizzie,” her 1945 Ford Sedan, still running in case she ran out of thread.
Although compulsive total immersion can lead to complete total exhaustion, it does have its strong points.
But for total immersion, I would never have figured out (mild spoiler alert) why “This Is Us” pivots randomly between a hospital nursery and several 36th birthday celebrations. I would still be reeling from the fast-paced Designated Survivor pilot, and a dozen pots of parched and frozen herbs would be languishing on my screen porch.
Beyond that, there is a certain joie de vivre in total immersion. An energy that’s bound to come from a headlong dive into the New Year.
And if I totally immerse myself into some energizing project each and every day, then by the end of 365… Voila! Another stunning year!
Copyright 2017 Pat Snyder