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?