Monday, October 16, 2006

On His Miniature Pony

One of the reasons that Peter and I have managed to stay together all these many years is that we have certain agreements – an understanding of expectations and common ground rules on how to operate. A key rule is that, when necessary, you must be willing to kick the other person's ass. I don't mean this in a domestic violence sort of way or nagging until the recipient's ears burn sort of way. Sometimes a loving “get the finger out” or a gentle “stop being a self-indulgent whinger” are required and, at those times, the listener has to accept them in the spirit in which they are intended.

By pushing me to overcome my immobilising anxieties or procrastinative laziness, Peter helps me become a better person. I hope that I am able to return the favour. This is the sharp end of the supportive stick and it's a place where you could very easily put a foot wrong if your words are more harsh than you meant or the spouse is having a bad day.

Peter recently took up this mantle when he asked me why I wasn't blogging. I didn't have any good defense except that recently I've retreated into a sort of self-imposed exile, not reading or commenting on the blogs I enjoy, not posting on my blogs, and not answering email. It's sort of like the online version of screening your calls, except you don't have to listen to the awkard silence that comes after “Hello, pick up if you're there. I thought you were home this afternoon.”

I tried a shrug and dodge but Peter knows me too well to get fobbed off with that. So I had to look at what was really going on. Part of the problem is that I haven't yet figured out how to integrate all my interests in a concurrent fashion with my work and home life. Something always seems to suffer as I get obsessed with one of my interests. Right now, that obsession has been fitness in general and camogie in particular. I've been hitting my target goals in that area, but have been coming up short in blogging, book writing, and Irish studying.

As I outlined my difficulties, Peter seized on these as well. “What is going on with the books?” The why-aren't-you-hustling-to-get-an-agent-or-a-book-deal conversation is one of my least favourite ass-kicking topics. (I'm sure it will be expounded on ad nauseum in a future self-indulgently whiny post.)
Finally, feeling that the sharp end of the supportive stick had been shoved too firmly into my psyche, I asked, “Those are four things that I'm trying to do right now. What are you doing for your own self-improvement?”

He smiled and acknowledged that I'd made a fair point. “OK, I'll get off my high horse.” To which I responded “Yeah, get off your high horse. You're allowed to get on your miniature pony.” Which was my way of telling him that I knew he had a point and I was taking things in good humour but I was nearing the point of feeling inordinately scolded. Because, for most things, I am plenty good at scolding myself.

I know I'm trying to do a lot but I also know that I'm capable of a lot. I just need to phase things in more carefully. So, here are the production goals that I'm aiming to achieve and their timetables for implementation:

  • Keep up with my 10 to 20 minutes a day camogie practicing – underway and easily my most fun production goal.

  • Run four times a week for at least 20 minutes each time – phasing in currently, knee permitting

  • Lift weights two times a week – phasing in currently, knee permitting

  • Writing
  • Blog four times a week here and at least twice a week at DublinBlog - phasing in this week

  • Participate in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) – Conveniently, the writing part doesn't start for another 2 weeks, but I already have my topic and the production goal is going to have to be 1700 words a day.

  • Irish
  • Review flashcards on bus every day – was doing this but then fell off the wagon. Time to get back to it.

  • Work on written Irish lessons for 30 minutes every day – Phasing in next week.

  • Make new vocabulary flashcards every Saturday. - Phasing in this/next week.

By breaking my general goals up into measurable tasks, writing it down for all the world to see, and phasing a new focus area in each week, I'm hoping to incorporate these activities into my schedule until they are part of my routine. I'm sure Peter will (lovingly) kick my ass from high atop his miniature pony should I sink into a lazy malaise after a few weeks of good intentions. It's a dirty job, but someone has to do it.


At 16 October 2006 at 16:29, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have noticed in your writing (which is really good) more and more dialect. Not just "colour" over "color" and the like but different language. And this fascinates me. What is a "Whinger"? Is that like "whiner?" There are more I've noticed but I've already forgotten.

You know what's gotten me back into blogging mode (I'd been slacking some), a good flame war. Stupid people really ignite the flames to write and scold them.

At 16 October 2006 at 18:38, Blogger -Ann said...

I think I am over-compensating in my writing for the fact that I will probably never be able to shake my American accent in my speech. :) A whinger is indeed a whiner. I know I've picked up phrases like "ah sure, it'll be grand" and "grand so" and "it was lovely" and "we're going to the cinema to see a filum." (Although, I have to confess that actually saying filum generally reduces me to a pile of giggles.)

Your flame wouldn't have anything to do with Da Bears now, would it?

At 17 October 2006 at 05:26, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not a thing to do with the Bears. It was all about communism, bombing people and a few misplaced gay burns. Just stupid people.

At 6 November 2006 at 13:01, Anonymous ainelivia said...

Have you begun to incorporate that all-weather phrase "fair play to ye" yet.

It covers a multitude of possible responses, the obvious being, "I don't agree with a word you say, but I'm not getting into an argument".


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