The Resolution Revolution Pulls a 360°

Posted on December 31, 2009


I will resolve to:

I. Be Unafraid to Trust.
II. Be Unafraid to Thrive.
III. Forgive continuously.
IV. Learn continuously.
V. Live in the present.
VI. Live for the present.
V. Live out the present.
IV. Teach continuously.
III. Forget continuously.
II. Be Unafraid to Wither.
I. Be Unafraid to Doubt.

The key is balance. Benjamin Franklin knew he would not be able to achieve it perfectly, but he still aimed to the best of his ability to be in line with his Thirteen Virtues. When it comes to Christmas it is often heard that “It’s the thought that counts,” but try giving whoever says that nothing but socks (a great gift, people always need socks, and socks are sadly not always there when you need them) for years on end and eventually you’ll see how appreciated your thought is.

When it comes to New Year Resolutions though, it really is the thought that counts. Without thought, nothing gets resolved.

POST-SCRIPT: A Little Rant About My Past Couple Years

I have a highly inventive and imaginative inner life. My exterior one though, the one you and me and everyone else share, it is as mundane and work-oriented as the next. Making the mundane seem interesting is what I do as a result- a sort of existential life therapy (write enough nonsense and eventually you lose your senses to it)  that gets me through the years.

I would hate to think of myself as one of those guys who talks about himself a lot, but in the early Ohs when blogs like LiveJournal and Xanga predated the big social network giants, the majority of blogs were just that: a connected stream of soapboxes and personal rants. And so, if I may give this antediluvian tradition one last hoorah before the Ohs leave us, I ask the reader to bear with me as I talk about, you guessed it, my mental condition (most likely paranoid schizophrenia, so I am constantly told, or some other undefined schizophreniform disorder).

Lately, things have been better. In the past two years I have struggled so hard in many ways, bore witness to many others’ struggles, and hardly struggled at all in many ways that didn’t matter in the end. But things have improved overall. I have an ontological security which I previously was not able to attain. I haven’t experienced any signs of psychosis (at worst, the main positive symptoms I experience are paranoia and delusions; still present, but manageable) in six months. That I know of.

The problem with schizophrenia, with paranoia, is that you’re never really certain about anything. Once you’ve experienced something that you later realize to be a falsity, everything else seems so much easier to doubt. In some ways it’s kind of  a blessing, because when you’re really paranoid you’re also alert, which is good, because if you have schizophrenia, one of the first things to go is your ability to focus or concentrate. I can’t work, function, or even get out of bed some days if I don’t have a ton of nootropics (gotta do what I’ve gotta do). Other than that collateral perk, it sucks about as much as you can imagine, more or less. Fundamental things you once knew or still do know to be true become objects of severe scrutiny. When it’s really bad, you can’t even trust your own thoughts, and at the end of the day, everyone is against you, whether they know it or not, be they friend, family, or foe. With mental conditions, there’s always more than one victim, and there’s never really one discernible villain, and there’s more often than not one discernible victor. Pardon the tangent.

Six months free from hissing and buzzing and whispering, and today at my desk I hear the sound of a man’s voice gasping for breath into my ear, ever so faintly, as if drowning. Then it stops. Was it real? Maybe someone in one of the nearby cubicles? Who knows. I don’t. This happens sometimes, but it’s always bothersome.

But like I said, I’ve doing much better now and I am able to deal with these things more efficiently than I used to. Every day I tell myself how lucky I am, how much worse it could be. I know this firsthand. I’ve seen many people lose themselves into a world of themselves. Friends. Family. Family-by-marriage. Everyone has a few screws loose, it seems. Or at least that’s what appears to be the case. Others do not have the privilege of maintaining their social and cognitive abilities at a level that I have been most fortunate to keep, and one which I can only hope will remain and improve in the future.

But the future is then and this is now, and my, this is turning out to be more than just a little post-script.

The surprises that life throws at you. You have to enjoy it.

That’s my point, in a nutshell. In spite of all the fear, contempt, and doubt that these past ten years have brought us, let us move forward into the new year with high hopes and good intentions, and start by being forever grateful for what you have, and tell those close to you that you love them.

Be Safe. Happy New Year.

– neil/c/k/r