This year, I set myself 22 little goals to pursue throughout the year. I call them the 22 in 22. They may all seem a bit random, but they were important to me at the time I made my New Year’s Resolution. Each Saturday, I take a few minutes to check my progress on a few of my goals.
#22 Learn something interesting about psychology every week
Here I am, innocently trying to put away my groceries while listening to my favorite podcast about serial killers, when the host, Candice DeLong, says something that stops me in my tracks.
She’s talking about Robert Hansen, known as the “Butcher Baker”. It’s all awful, you can imagine, given the name he was called as a serial killer.
But the thing that knocks me off my trajectory for getting the frozen foods into the freezer is when she starts talking about Histrionic Personality Disorder.
Already, the words histrionic was not one I’d ever heard before, but my brain immediately associated with a little soundalike word from one of my other favorite podcasts, Sawbones. That is: hysteria. Hysteria, (in case you don’t follow that link to read the longwinded article I wrote about this catch-all medical diagnosis that was used to oppress women for centuries) is not a real thing.
Histrionic Personality Disorder, however, is a real thing. And terrifyingly enough, it sounded very very familiar.
Now, do I listen to podcasts about serial killers because I want to learn interesting things about psychology? Yes, yes I do.
Do I also listen to podcasts about serial killers so that I can armchair diagnose my grandmother and, unfortunately, in some small ways, myself, with psychological disorders? Apparently I do that, too. (My grandmother was not a serial killer, by the way. But she certainly was psychologically fascinating.)
Am I a psychological hypochondriac when it comes to these things? Yes, I definitely am.
But honestly, I stood there with the frozen peas in one hand, frantically googling about the prognosis for living with Histrionic Personality Disorder with the other for a good ten minutes.
I started to wonder if my fascination with psychology isn’t because I want to understand my Gigi better. I’ve always known that the heritage I received from her went beyond freckles, and an identical smile. So by understanding her better, I would be understanding myself better. I guess that’s not the worst pastime to have.
#12 Set aside “unplugged” hours of the day
This is quite easy to do if one has a hard copy of a fascinating book on a fascinating topic that the Amazon man delivered to my door.
This book is called Unwanted by Jay Stringer. I heard about it on (yet another) podcast I listen to, this one about sexuality. (You see, when I say fascinating, I am not exaggerating.)
I have been wanting to start thinking ahead to the teen years for my boys–knowing that things we learned before they were born about child development are things that are carrying us through these boyhood years now. So…if I want the info to have time to settle into my brain and become useful by the time I need it, I better start learning it now!
I am particularly concerned about sexuality as it relates to raising my boys. My husband and I want to be the ones our kids learn about sexuality from…we don’t want them learning about it from friends who will secretly introduce them to porn at a sleepover when they are ten (which is apparently the average age boys discover porn for the first time.)
Taking the advice of my podcast co-conspirator LiElla Kelly, instead of shutting down because the whole thing scared me, I decided to get curious.
Thus, this book, which is about where unwanted sexual behaviors come from: things like porn addiction and buying sex. It is absolutely fascinating.
It makes me all the more certain that the healthy communication channels my husband and I are building today with our children are critical to helping them avoid unpleasant future behaviors and their consequences.
So yeah, I’ve been unplugging a bit more so that I can take in all this cool stuff.
#2O: Practice Mindfulness: articulate and savor the good moments
There is absolutely nothing revolutionary here.
I have taken to saying, “This is a good moment,” when things are going well because it helps give me a better attitude about everything.
I just love it that my littles scalawag has started, when he is happily building something out of Legos or is painting at the table, saying, “Mama, is this a good moment?”
I never know how to answer. I usually want to say, “Yes!!! Of course it is!!!!!”, but I’m not sure if he is asking because he is trying to figure out what I enjoy, or if it is because that is his way of affirming that he is having a good moment.
Am I overthinking this? Well, I’ve taken to saying, “If you think it is a good moment, then it is a good moment!” In any case, my littlest scalawag and I have been enjoying a ton of tiny little mindful moments of joy lately.