I contemplated this question on the treadmill today around the 4 minute mark, as my lower self didn't want to continue whereas my higher self wanted to run 3 kilometres in fewer than 18 minutes. My immediate answer was "Practice," and that is indeed what we are doing when we are fasting or forcing ourselves to scrub the tub or to apologize for a misdeed. We are practising rising above the lower self to live up to the goals and values of the higher self.
But as a matter of fact, my lower self wanted to go the the gym today only because she knew that if she did my higher self would reward her with a sticker. And suddenly I realize that my lower self is known to my oldest readers because--goodness gracious--she's the "bodice riper" writing Inner Child. At last my attachment to stickers makes sense.
A sudden thirst for stickers came over me after months of buying sheets of stickers to send to my youngest relations. I had begun writing letters to them and thought that if they didn't enjoy the letters at least they might enjoy whatever else I tucked in the envelope. As there is not a wide variety of flat gifts, this is usually stickers.
These are not the boring coloured dots I used last year to mark my visits to the gym and study sessions, mind you. No. They are either cool or super-cute. And then I found out about hobonichi art--that is, the art of drawing, painting and affixing stickers to one's own daily planner. Why, I wondered, was I marking off my study sessions with red and green dots when I could celebrate them with actual Polish and Italian flags? And why ink in a boring barbell when for very little money I could buy a multicoloured sheet of them?
I couldn't think of a good enough reason, so I ordered some Italian flags and asked Polish Pretend Son to get me some Polish ones.
Now, as we all know, the first half of 2023 is coming to an end, and it may be time to review how our New Year's Resolutions are going. Mine involved eliminating anxiety, eating 5 portion of fruit and veg a day, 240 gym workouts, reading and writing both Polish and Italian 6 days a week, and writing letters to my younger relations.
As it happens, I do not have stickers for eliminating anxiety and eating fruit and vegetables. However, I have been using boring old yellow dots in my planner to indicate sun therapy, which we're supposed to get first thing in the morning to help us get better sleep at night. Fruit and veg... Well, maybe I should invest in some fruit and veg stickers because I have been much more successful with the gym workouts: 98 so far, which will mean an even 100 on Friday morning.
Interestingly, though, stickers alone did not keep me at my books. Despite my cheery flags, I studied Italian only 10 times in January and 6 times in February. In January I had only 5 sessions with Polish and and in February only 9. However, I seem to have had a language revolution on Shrove Tuesday, for after that the gaps between stickers are few.
I studied Italian 21 times in March, 25 times in April, 27 in May and 17 so far in June--the sudden drop explained by a long weekend in Poland. As for Polish, the numbers are even better: 21 times in March, 26 times in April, 26 times in May and so far 24 in June. Thus, Poland is beating Italy 111:106.
There are two reasons for this sudden spurt of study. First, I hit upon two challenging, but not too challenging, courses of home study: this gave me something similar to return to every day. Second, I think the Catholic mind is more primed to accept Lent as a time of hard work, sacrifice and overcoming lazy impulses.
Meanwhile, B.A. occasionally asks why he doesn't get stickers for the various chores he does around the house, and at last I have ordered him a set: they include cheerful skeletons and the motto "I was brave for the radiographer."
I was going to add a photo, but I have to rush off for vigil Mass, tomorrow being a HD of O in Scotland. Thus, I'll do it later.