Prompt: 11 Things. What are 11 things your life doesn’t need in 2011? How will you go about eliminating them? How will getting rid of these 11 things change your life?

i’m going to go fairly stream of consciousness on this one, because they didn’t ask for the most important 11 things – just any 11 things 🙂

aside: it stresses me to pick the “best” or “most important” of anything. i have this fear that i’m forgetting something and thus, unintentionally lying. sure, i’m a little nuts. please see #2.

1. fear: i could be so much further on my many paths if i were less afraid. i’m even afraid to admit my fear – because i think it makes me look weak. but honesty, if nothing else, is strong. i’m sure more than half the things i am afraid of are not worth a second thought but – it’s a complex little machine, the mind, and somewhere this gum has gotten itself stuck in too many of my cogs. i don’t have a true, solid plan to give it up. i try to do one thing every day that i am at least slightly afraid of, or that makes me nervous. i agreed to be on tv for work, i bought self help books, i met up for coffee (chai, in my case) with a super popular blogger that was around. i’m hoping in time, i get the idea that once overcome – my fears don’t have to be valid. they are not powerful in themselves – i assign them power, and i can stop. if i can get rid of this, i’ll be a far more adventurous, far more natural, far more loving and happy person. all of those sound awesome.

2. nitpicky insanity: i’m not going to say i am ocd, because i probably am not and everyone has their idiosyncrasies. but i put a lot of weight on really weird shit sometimes. like, picking the perfect wrapping paper can take me an hour. if a plan of mine doesn’t go off to the letter, i’ve been known to consider the whole thing fucked. gift giving turns into a nightmare because i’ve convinced myself that if i can’t think of/purchase the perfect meaningful gift for someone, i don’t really know them or love them and we should not be friends. you don’t have to say it, i will – this shit is insane and my life would be way easier and better without it. i don’t think i need to explain how. as far as how to go about it? it’s a slow process of, honestly, talking to myself in my head, and explaining to myself what is and isn’t rational and necessary. and then convincing myself i’m not even more nuts for talking to myself in my head…

3. judgment: look, i don’t like admitting this about myself. it’s sort of ugly. but sometimes the truth is. i am judgmental. i carry more vitriol than i should against people who, for example, lean against the pole on the subway or play their music out loud. the nastiness i can shoot in your direction when you do something i consider stupid is probably unwarranted. despite having struggled with body image issues my whole life, i’ve judged larger people as lazy and inherently unhealthy (one actually probably stems directly from the other). i’ve judged on race, ethnicity, socioeconomic class, and religion. in major ways? no. do i truly consider a person to lack value because of any of those factors? no, i really don’t. but there are prejudices this world and my mind have etched in – i’m far from proud and i don’t like it. someone i met this year said that she considered every stranger a friend she hadn’t met yet. i was envious of her views and felt i couldn’t hold them for a variety of reasons – but if i could put judgment away and look at the world with a little more kindness and acceptance, i’d probably have happier and less stressful days (because it is, at the end of the day, a huge stress to carry dislike. just ask me how much hair i lose on a daily basis. literally). i’d like to see more possible friends, and less threats and annoyances.

4. food that is bad for me: i did a lot of reading on the food industry, organics, and endocrinology this year. i understand the foundations for healthy eating – but as much as i don’t want to like hfcs, i do. as much as i want to rid myself of fries and potato chips, the combination of salt and potato and oil is like my personal manna. i love that shit. i went through period of extreme denial this year and eventually i was so frustrated (and hungry) that i went to burger king at 10:30 am one day. yes, there was a lot of vodka involved in the previous evening. i’m aiming to find a happy medium between healthy, green eating and actual tasty, filling meals. it’s there. i’ve got to find it. i think this week’s whole wheat pasta puttanesca may have been a good start…

5: laziness: in the same vein, i have become a master of sitting on my ass. some of it is the bouncer and his ideas of lazy sunday/lazy weekend. some of it is the fact that when i get remotely depressed i shun any and all possible movement. some of it is just overindulgence in a good thing – rest being the good thing. i’ve discovered though, that it’s actually really awesome to start my mornings early with some exercise and a home cooked breakfast, and get out of the door on time, instead of rushing through a chilly shower and racing out the door to still be at my desk late. it puts a whole new spin on the day. i’ve discovered that having more weekend is an awesome thing – and that a saturday can feel really wonderfully amazingly long when you start it at 9 am. i’ve made some progress on ridding myself of this one but it’s definitely a continued effort.

6. intellectual stagnancy: i was a political science and philosophy major in college. i spent a whole lot of time reading and learning and i loved it. i adored it and breathed it and it felt perfectly, wonderfully right for me. i like absorbing knowledge. but i also get easily overwhelmed – i don’t follow much news because there is so much of it. and i work really well with grand, up in the clouds ideas, not hard facts and policy. i feel like my mind just stopped because, well, i stopped feeding it. i’m not a complete slouch, and i have a decent idea of what’s going on in the world, but don’t ask me about north korea. that’s not really acceptable to me – i have a better mind than that and i should be exercising it. i want to come up with a comprehensive plan for continuing to learn (although i can without a doubt pretty much tell you about everything on engadget…but i am not sure that counts) through news and media and even through plain old reading. there’s no one saying i can’t work through some sections of aristotle or kant on my own…

7. zoning out in techno-land: halfway through the year, i lost my my much beloved droid. while this was a sad, sad day – i remembered what life was like before there was a ping going off every five minutes with something new to grab my attention. when i did things like read and actually watch tv. or devoted my attentions and energy to the people i was spending time with it. or how to exist when waiting for your friend to come back from the bathroom in a bar without a prop in hand. it calms ones ADD a bit. even now, i sometimes barely pay attention to television, movies, anything because i have the vast world of the interwebz to distract me. i often stay up way too late bookmarking recipes on cooking blogs. or, more recently, playing angry birds (as i am the recent owner of a spanking new droid x. hey, i didn’t say i wanted to be disconnected forever…). but i would like to be more present in what i’m doing at any moment – that’s why in order to write these entries, i’m allowing no tabs but this to be open, and only some music. i can leave my phone away or on silent when i need quality time with people. i can make a concerted effort to focus my energies on one thing at a time – this way i absorb the most possible and i give the purest energy i can. that sounds a bit intense…

8. being music stupid: seriously, what the hell do the kids listen to these days? i listen to pandora and get some recommendations from there and friends, but i’m painfully behind the curve. and coming from the girl who was never without headphones and a discman in high school, i feel like i’ve strayed. i love music and i want it back. should devote some time there.

9. a closed heart: i’ve been hurt. the whole world has been hurt. it’s not a new story and we all know how it goes. blah blah shit’s painful, blah blah you don’t trust anyone or anything. what i learned this year is that the cold you leave yourself out in by doing that is nothing but a spread out version of the sharper pain of an incident or situation. painful things are going to happen. you may as well be happy in between them.

10. not stopping: and a moment to breathe is not the same as being lazy. a moment to breathe is one to stop, focus on my posture, focus on my inhale and exhale, reflect, and as a colleague puts it – “relax, relate, release”. take in what’s happening, absorb, and hold on or let go. deal. focus and process. i don’t do this nearly enough – i scramble, i stress, i rage and rant, or i sink into the other end of the spectrum and ignore when i feel exhausted from everything else. i need to stop and arrive at a middle ground of acceptance. its as easy as pausing, closing my eyes, and focusing.

11. black and white: this world does not exist in black and white. there is no singular right and wrong, good and bad. we live in shades of gray. it’s time i stopped living entirely from my perspective, took off my judgy hat (see #3), and accepted that we all see and experience this world differently. there are different truths. i don’t have to understand them all in full, but i should make the effort to try, and i should at the very least accept.