Tag Archives: new years resolutions

New Beginnings

A year in time is both vast and tiny. I can’t say the past twelve months were entirely good, but neither were they fully bad.  No year is ever all one thing, so to try to sum one up with weak generalities is futile.  That doesn’t mean I won’t try, though.

Truth be told, I love any excuse to analyze what we’ve done and plan ahead for what we’ll do.  And there’s nothing quite as effective at making you reflect on the past than the future looming ahead with blinking neon lights to mark the passage of time. 

I’ve been angrier in 2017 than I remember being at any other time in my life.  I’ve been filled to the brim with rage at the state of the world and the state of my country and the willingness of everyday people to let bad things happen.  But I’ve also been engaged and excited and hopeful and it’s made me remember that it’s important to look at the world outside my own home and interact with it and that it’s my job as a human to be involved in humanity.  I’m grateful for the lesson even if I don’t love the way it was delivered.

It was a year in which I found an old version of myself buried inside and let her out.  She argues more and is less likely to be quiet just to keep the peace than the me that developed over the last decade of contentment and motherhood, but she’s more authentic. 

It was a year in which I remembered priorities I had forgotten.

I’ve watched my children grow and change too.  They also have a new perspective on the larger world and politics and their role in it all.  I don’t regret that for a minute. In fact, I’m grateful for it, because their future involvement in the world around them is being shaped right now and I doubt this is a lesson they’ll forget.  We’ll all move into 2018 with a newfound sense of the importance of being a participant. 

So, while in many ways 2017 was just an awful, terrible, horrible year (politically, globally), it was also a year with beauty and happiness and adventure and love (personally). 

We spent another year in England – our last full calendar year here.  We settled ever more into our lives here, but, strangely, always with an eye on the fact that it couldn’t be permanent.  As we’ve made more and more friends and connections within England, we’ve also said goodbye to American friends we made here who have gone back to different corners of the U.S., their own English adventures over.  Those goodbyes only served to highlight the truth that this is some sort of crazy three year vacation we’re on and that the end is, sadly, nigh.

As ever though, we’ve worked to ensure that our grand adventure is not wasted, although I think the pace of our travels has slowed as our involvement in our local life has increased.  We skied in the French Alps, trekked across Ireland with my parents and Austria & Germany with Matt’s, explored Normandy, and lounged on the beaches of Menorca.  We traveled back to the U.S. twice in six weeks in August/September and visited friends and family that we miss and saw my baby sister get married.

We’re looking ahead to a year of even bigger changes.  We’ll move back to America in the summer, but not to the house my kids all know as home.  Not even to the same state. Instead we’re heading to Massachusetts, to where I grew up.  We’re starting anew again as a family, but for me, I’m heading well and truly home.  No matter how sad I feel at the thought of saying goodbye to the adventures we had in England and to the life we built from scratch in Virginia, none of that overrides the joy I feel when I think about going home. 

My biggest challenge in 2018, I think will be to give the first six months it’s fair share of attention.  My tendency to live in the future is one I’m already trying to overcome; I want to be present and enjoy our last few months in England, but my brain keeps skipping ahead. The football and hockey and cricket matches and the school play and the day-to-day will help me, I’m sure.  The kids see six months as a lifetime away, so I’m trying to look at the days from their point of view.

My resolution then for 2018 is to try to enjoy each day and week as it comes instead of looking too far ahead. 

The new year is, as always, just a symbol – there’s no real difference in the turning over of the clock on December 31st than there is any other day of the year.  But symbolism is important.  I need that kick in the pants to wake me up, to force me to examine what is important and to help me determine where I should focus my attention.

I hope you’re saying goodbye to 2017 with some sense of peace and happiness and looking ahead to 2018 with more of the same.

Happy New Year!

A Blank Slate – Happy New Year

winter-morning

As an over-analyzer, New Years is practically my favorite holiday; I love the practice of looking back and remembering what we’ve done and looking ahead to plan what we should do next, talking about changes we’d like to make or goals we’d like to achieve, weighing our success and failures and thinking about how to improve, and generally just examining life.  Certainly I could do all those things any day of the year, but a little symbolism as the year clicks over to new makes it seem a bit more meaningful.

This morning I wake up to a blank slate stretched out before me, a year of my life waiting to be written.  I’m excited by the possibilities.

2016 was a good year for our family.  Globally it felt like a bit of a sucker punch, but personally we kind of rocked it.  I’m hoping to ride that wave and have more of the same in 2017, but accompanied by fewer geopolitical disasters and the deaths of artists and inspirations.  I can’t control those things, though, so all I can do here is hope for a better year in the world at large and work to make it so for me and mine.

In 2016 we traveled a LOT — we went to Italy, France, and Germany, took a long trip home to America in the summer, and saw even more of the UK with excursions to Warwick and Cornwall and Wales.  In 2017, we’ve already got a ski trip planned in the French Alps, a trip to Ireland in the Spring, and we’re currently planning other trips to Amsterdam, Brussels, and Normandy.  And that’s just between now and June.

The kids’ school was a highlight of 2016 for us all; it’s still amazing to me how a positive school experience can affect every aspect of life for our whole family.  We are all invested in the school here in a way I never anticipated and look forward to another good year.

As for me, I’m not planning to make any massive resolutions.  I workout enough, we eat healthy, and I’m never going to become a morning person; I don’t need to make promises I won’t keep. Instead I’m focusing on goals I want to achieve.  I’m writing like a mad woman this year — my book won’t write itself — and reading more, more, more.  Reading, writing, and traveling were my resolutions last year, too, and I did them all and I loved it.  I see no reason to change a good thing, so those are my goals for this year too.  In even greater quantities.

May the New Year bring you what you need, whatever that is, and may we all wring out every last bit of fun and happiness from it that we can.

Happy 2017!

Resolve

IMG_6137

I have learned that the more intentional I am about how I live my life, the more thoughtful I am in making decisions and choices about where I want to focus my energy and what I want to accomplish, the happier and luckier and more motivated I suddenly become.

Setting resolutions and goals for the new year is one of my favorite practices.  The concept that, to a certain extent, I can direct how this year will go is both exhilarating and empowering.

I need the annual reminder the new year brings that I am the master of my fate and I am the captain of my soul

This year, my goals are simple: read more, write more, run more, travel more.

I know, though, that if I even hope to do anything I’ll look back on with pride and a sense of happy accomplishment, I need to be specific about my goals, too.

I think the problem many people have with keeping resolutions is that the original statement they make is too general: get in shape, eat healthier, save money, be a better friend/wife/sister/whatever.  (Read more, write more, run more, travel more.) 

When I start thinking about my resolutions, about where I want to focus my energy and time in the new year, I’m always general first — what is important to me right now, and what do I feel like I want to do? 

Once I know what my focus is, once I’ve tossed those ideas around in my head a bit and found the ones that really matter, I  decide what, specifically, it would mean to me to actually “accomplish” those goals. I can’t succeed without knowing what success is, so if I want to know that I’ve done what I set out to do, my resolutions need to be more specific and measurable. If I want to set myself up for success, I must make my goals reachable and attainable.

And so, in specific terms, this year I want to:

  • read at least one new-to-me book each month
  • write at least a little bit every day
  • run at least twice a week
  • travel at least once a month to a place I’ve never been before. 

None of these are record-breaking achievements, but that’s not the point.  The pleasure of actually doing each of these things, combined with the act of succeeding in reaching the goals I set for myself, is a pathway to a happier me.  That’s the point: to feel happier and more fulfilled at the end of it.

It’s only January 4th, and to think the time to set resolutions has passed is silly — so tell me, what do you want to accomplish in 2016?

Resolutions

It’s completely symbolic, I know—I could choose at any random point in the year to make a resolution, to change something in my life, to start anew.

But somehow, when the calendar flips to January, it seems not just more possible, but almost necessary to examine my life and see how and where I can improve it.

It’s energizing and empowering; I can change, I can set new goals, I can dream big.  Even if it doesn’t all pan out in the end, self-reflection is a worthwhile exercise.

This year, more than any other, I was very specific and intentional in thinking about what I want to achieve.

My first resolution, I’m embarrassed to admit, is completely selfish.  In fact, this resolution is almost scary to me, but I think that just indicates how important it should be.  More than anything else this year, I want to stop feeling guilty about making myself (and specifically my appearance) a priority.  When I get my hair cut regularly, get my nails done even occasionally, buy myself clothes that fit and are stylish, put on make-up on a daily-ish basis, I just feel better.  I’m more confident, less self-aware, and happier.  All of that makes me a better wife, mother, friend.  And yet, for years I’ve not really made any of those things a priority AT ALL.  I’m erratic at best, and it’s time to stop.

This is the year, though, where I’m going to do it.  And I’m not EVENTUALLY going to do it.  I’ve already started: I got a haircut last week that I’m really happy with, I signed up for Birchbox to get some new make-up and skin care goodies, and between Christmas gifts and a few post-Christmas shopping sessions, I’ve gotten a bunch of great new shoes and outfits.  I’m getting a manicure next week and I’m hoping to make it a monthly occurrence.

And I don’t feel guilty about it.  It’s my turn.

My other big resolution has to do with my writing.  I love to write; it’s how I process the world around me, it’s how I clarify my thoughts, it’s how I record the moments I don’t want to forget.  It’s what I do best.  Since I left my full-time job 4.5 years ago, I’ve dabbled in freelance work.  I’ve blogged here and at a few other places and I’ve done odd writing jobs here and there.  I’m happiest when I’m working—when I’m writing—and it’s the thing I’d most like to do as a career and a lifestyle.

So this year, I will write.  Daily.  Whether it’s journaling, blogging, writing short stories (or long stories), writing copy and web content, I will write.  I will write here, and I hope you’ll all follow along.  I will write other places—I’m looking for free-lance opportunities, thinking about pitches, and getting a portfolio together—and I hope that this year, finally, I can confidently call myself a writer.

And, like I said before, 2015 is my year for Adventure.  Now that all my children are old enough, we are actively seeking out ways to explore our area and we are gleefully anticipating the opportunity to explore a much broader world as well.  We are going to try new things.  We will be adventurers.

I look ahead at the potential this year holds and I’m bursting with excitement to get started on all of it.

Big or small, resolutions matter.  What will you do this year?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...