Good Riddance

On Dec. 28th, the people of New York celebrated Good Riddance Day. They gathered in Times Square to destroy a particularly depressing, distasteful or all-around nasty moment from 2011. They performed the ritual by sledgehammering an object that represents the event or shredding a piece of paper with words describing it.

The winning object was a puke bucket used by a kid who battled blood cancer. He is now in remission. GREAT riddance.

I like it. The idea got my wheels churning over these last few days of 2011, days that have found me listless and blue. What do I want to shed from 2011? This year brought some loss and transition. It brought out glaring deficiencies in my coping mechanisms. It brought a lot of self-doubt.

Most of my 2011 unhappiness stems from how I think. I would like to say “good riddance” to my irrational brain.  

There are days when it truly sucks inside my head. I am not mentally ill. My tendencies are not clinically significant. But I do have a hard time turning off the old noggin in situations I can’t control. I still worry about what other people think. I sometimes find I am still living inside a junior high head.

I have a good life, to be sure. I don’t have blood cancer. I have accomplished and experienced much. I like my kid. I like my little house. I still grab my husband’s butt as he struts by.

But sometimes I find thoughts nitpicking away and keeping me from giving my life and the people in it the enjoyment it deserves. I hate my emotional reactions to conflict and discomfort. I hate my worst-case scenarios. Most of all…I worry about what I’m NOT doing because I’ve put more energy into thinking about doing it. 

Many of us do this, I know I am not alone. Lately, however, it’s been constant chit chat up there. And when someone asks, “Wow…what must it be like inside your head?”, you know it’s time to say good riddance to the mental clutter.

Time to curb the headaches it brings, to produce more than ruminate. To stop doubting and start making more decisions.

I am a smart woman. I am well-educated. I have an advanced degree in mental health for the love of god. I KNOW the obvious answers…exercise, meditation, healthier living, cognitive therapy, setting a routine. What I lack is the willpower and discipline to reap the long-term benefits of these.  

I’m not trying to be hard on myself, I’m just starting to get really itchy to become the human I have the potential for being. I don’t want to envy the productivity and successes of others. I want to be more productive and successful.

Time to resolve the hypocrisy of promoting “healthy living” while ineffectively dealing with the self-defeating mind race. You can make all the organic shitake-burdock root soup you want. But if your mind is tackling some distant “issue” while you stir it, the magic is lost.

This does not come with sadness, it comes with productive anger. I believe you can’t improve yourself without staring down what holds you back and spitting in its face.

Good riddance junior high head. Good riddance ruminations. Time to chill the hell out.

Today I spit. Tomorrow I act. Good riddance brain. Happy New Year gut and hands and sweat.

Thank god I write…I wasn’t sure how to sledgehammer my head.

What about you? What will you say “good riddance” to?

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6 thoughts on “Good Riddance

  1. Anonymous says:

    You’re the sum total of your previous existence. Cause and effect. You’ve landed on your feet already, my dear. Just ratchet it up a notch. Make your lists. Check off those daily goals. You’re informed, inquisitive, intelligent, insightful, entertaining and just plain fun. Whatever you do, please keep writing!

  2. Brittany says:

    I love you. And I look up to you. I envy your intelligence and motivation to do better. You don’t suck and neither do I. I want to say good riddance to my depression and anger. Missing dad isn’t helping. I also want to say good riddance to debt, fat, and excessive drinking. And all this damn clutter in my house and head need to go. So today, I’m cleaning out the garage, doing laundry and gonna make a healthy dinner for my family and a good friend and try hard to call it a night without getting drunk. Also gonna stop thinking about Monday when I’ll be home alone with the boys again. Why do I dread that so much?

    • aejohnson says:

      because it’s hard, frickin work that constantly tries your patience. And if you are feeling unhealthy mentally and physically, patience is hard to find. I dreaded it too Brittany, but it gets incredibly easier with time, trust me. I love you too Britt…you’re going through a tough spell and I feel for you. Spit and purge and fight and kick today. Heal tomorrow.

      • Anonymous says:

        Gals! BOTH of you inspire me! It’s always comforting to know that other people struggle in similar ways, get frustrated with similar things, and dread similar situations… I choose to say good riddance to jealousy! I hate feeling envious of other people’s fortune and benefits. It chaps me when I see someone get something i don’t feel they’ve worked hard enough for, but who am I to judge, eh? I am SUPER happy with where I am, the way my life is, and the kind of person I know I am deep inside, and I’m vowing to show that more. I’m going to say, “meh” to more things that make me mad ‘cuz who cares anyway is a really good coping mechanism for me!

        Oh, and I’m totally saying good riddance to my “shoulda, coulda, woulda” situations too! 🙂 Going for more goals because I know I can reach them!

      • aejohnson says:

        jealousy SUCKS and I’m a huge offender. I get so envious of others’ productivity. I also have gardening envy, land envy, blog envy…the list goes on and on. But what stopped me in my tracks a few weeks ago was listening to my son be envious of a friend who seems to excel at everything he touches. He wished he could be that kid. I need to kick it into gear and teach my kid (and me) that we both need to put our energy into our own accomplishments. Like what you see? Emulate it. Learn from it. We learn from other people’s mistakes, why not from their successes. ‘Nuff said.

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