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Overdosing on self-improvement

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For someone who doesn’t believe in New Year’s resolutions, I seem to have a lot of self-improvement efforts going on.

I actually did make a New Year’s resolution once, which I did keep that entire year and beyond: To practice the piano at least once a week. The “piano” in question at that time was my Yamaha digital keyboard, a lovely Christmas present, and a very nice-sounding instrument. But as I practiced, and improved (though never to anything terribly impressive), its limitations became clearer: Not being a full keyboard, meaning I couldn’t play all the notes of certain songs. Not having touch sensitivity, meaning that every note of the entire song had to be at the same volume (unless I borrowed one hand to actually turn down the volume button). Not having a sustain pedal, meaning that I could either set to have every note to sustain in equal amounts, or none of them to.

Well, now all of that is solved with my beautiful new Roland digital grand piano.

But with the cost of that thing (though we did get a nice discount on it), I’d better darn well get back to that weekly (minimum) piano playing.

But, I’m going to have to fit that in with my current efforts to try to get my house in better order. What suddenly motivated me to start sorting through the piles of paper, magazines, newspapers, catalogs, etc. in various parts of my house I have no idea, but there it is. Not that you’d notice anything dramatic yet. But the pile of reading material beside my bed looks semi-reasonable now, and you can actually see much of the top of the coffee table downstairs. And I seem to feel compelled to keep making the piles smaller, or at least more organized.

That somehow recently extended to the DVDs and CDs scattered across the TV cabinet and computer, now all put away—somewhere. Admittedly some are just in Lee Valley Tool boxes on the floor, but that still looks a little tidier. And it led to a discussion of how I really need more open cabinets, because I need to see my CDs and DVDs. Which gradually extended to a discussion redoing the entire downstairs, with me actually participating meaningfully in the discussion. This is unusual for me. I’m not a normal girl, and I don’t generally like thinking about renovating and recorating. But now, in the interest of eventually having more cabinets, plus a more integrated fitness room, plus a big-ass TV, I’m invested. At least theoretically. We now have a plan for designing the downstairs.

OK, so I’m practicing the piano, cleaning up my piles of paper, and planning renovations.

But that all has to fit in with my new fitness plan. Mind you, I was working out before, but what’s new now is exercising with the hubby. About a month ago I became convinced that hubby really  needed to exercise more frequently. But after attempts to convince him of this with nothing but intense looks and thoughts proved completely ineffective, I tried a radical approach. I used my words.

To my surprise, he actually agreed. Of course, there were some conditions. No girly activities like yoga, pilates, and dance aerobics. Only manly things like weightlifting, boxing, walking, canoeing, and ballroom dancing. (No sneering. Ballroom dancing is very macho. The man always leads the lady. And she has to wear high heels.)

I was expecting this to be a case of me dragging along reluctant hubby, but he’s turned out to be quite the slave driver himself. Let’s walk longer! No, I don’t need a day off! Heavier weights! Jeez.

Plus, the ballroom dance lessons themselves are somewhat self-improvement-y in another way, in relearning all those dance steps we’ve forgotten. (At least, I sure hope we’ll relearn them.)

OK, so piano practice, dance practice, daily fitness, cleaning up, planning renovations… Might as well eat better too, right? How else will I keep up with all this? So currently, our fruit basket runneth over. Literally.

The most annoying thing is all this happening in January, which culture tells us is supposed to be the month for self-improvement. Which I just hate buying into, because that would make me just like everybody else.

So, these aren’t new year’s resolutions. They are just a bunch of projects and activities that happened to all start around January. I’m in no way trying to become a better, healthier person or anything. Really.

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