7 Takes in Self-Improvement

7 Takes in Self-Improvement April 20, 2018

It’s Friday, did you know?

One
Apparently, the weather is going to shift soon, as in, become warmer or something. And that’s all I have to say about that.

Two
In the spirit of finally becoming a better person overall, and being dissatisfied with treading relentlessly inside the deep grooves of a tediously entrenched routine, never altering course, always being in the posture, as it were, of reacting, never truly acting, passing along through a life that includes

-collapsing into bed at night rather than going there on purpose
-waking up whenever, always too late, always still exhausted
-dashing through the day trying to snatch each moment as it flies by
-writing indulgently and too long which means
-starting school mid morning which means
-rushing into the kitchen to assemble a lunch with no prior thought
-and therefore constantly apologizing to myself and everyone for forgetting everything

I decided to make a radical and catastrophic change. I decided to actually go to bed at eight oclock, no matter what, which I rarely did even though I claimed to. And to wake up at 4:30. No Excuses.

Three
I started last week. Monday night I resolutely left the familial fray and put myself to bed, to the astonishment of literally everyone. I mean, who actually goes to bed at 8? I do, that’s who. I go to bed at 8.

I climbed in and set the dread and heretofore unused alarm on my phone and lay there for like 4 hours, trying to read and talk myself into sleep. It was harrowing, truly. But not as tortuous as it was the next morning, at 4:30, when that contemptible device resounded in my very soul and I wondered what kind of insane person had done such a bad thing. I turned it off and hauled the useless bulk of my psyche into consciousness and began a strict regimen of writing. That first day I wrote from 5 until 8 in the morning. Funny how all those words didn’t make it into more brilliant blogging. Indeed, since I’ve persecuted myself in this manner, this poor place has fallen into misery and despair, which was not at all part of my plan.

Four
Because of waking up before the gray and useless dawn, and not yet falling asleep much much earilier, all last week, day after day, I appeared to be, essentially, jetlagged. I wandered around in a stupor, certainly a change from the rushing chaos, but not exactly an improvement. And gosh, I slept so much over the weekend.

But this Tuesday, resolutely, I began again. In bed by 8, up by 4:30.

By “up” I mean that I perch up on my bed pillows, pushing through a series of writing exercises and prompts, both by hand and on this very wrong and disappointing keyboard.

But the sense of jetlag has dissipated. This morning, to my amazement, I woke up at 4:20, wide awake, and climbed into the deepening contours of my new life. And look, here I am blogging about something besides the weather.

Five
After two weeks I think I can safely say that my writing is as nugatory (sorry, too many vocabulary exercises with too many children) as ever, much like this keyboard. But, unexpectedly I discovered that by imposing this terrible terrible terrible constraint upon my person I have

-started school an hour earlier every day
-gotten through All The School Work
-concocted actual lunch at the actual time of lunch
-discovered afternoons mostly free for doing things like cleaning the freaking house, helping children with more school, and answering The Email
-felt much calmer, chiefly because, I think

Six
that so much writing is cathartic. It’s been like a too long delayed decluttering of my inner self, if that makes any sense. I have Natalie Goldberg to thank, really, because one of the strictures I’ve adopted is to actually try to write again by hand, about lots of subjects best hidden from everyone. I used to do this all the time. I have piles of replete beautifully bound journals and notebooks stacked here and there. But overtime I accidentally replaced blogging with the rapid scrawl across the page, and I think it must have been a very bad thing. Going back and picking it up again has produced some, what shall I call it, replenishment of the Inner Resources that make me such a help to personkind, cough.

Seven
So what kinds of things have I been writing? Two self imposed projects have been occupying the vacuity of my mind, besides all the exercises and prompts–bashing through the book of Jonah, verse by verse, and a rambling and directionless “story” about a person trying really hard to find reasons not to go to church. I justify the complete lack of plot sequence and focus by muttering to myself that Barbara Pym didn’t really go in for plots, and that those kinds of things are overrated. Pretty sure, though, not being Barbara Pym, that this self deception willl not play out in the way I hope.

Well, there you are. I have, in a mere two weeks, by the sheer, gritty, exercise of my will become a much better person. What’s wrong with you? Why can’t you be more like me? I’m going to write a short book about how your life can change too. Next week, discover how I finally began to exercise and stopped devouring stone cold tater tots off the scattered plates of children, balancing that bad habit with self-recrimmination and self-loathing.

But until then, go check out more Takes! It’ll be fun!

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