I’ve never been big on resolutions but this year I feel like it’s time to stop the resistance. In the past I’ve always felt, so what? New year or not, it’s just another day. Calendars and clocks are man-made creations to measure time, but without all this tracking we still exist – maybe even more intentionally when we shed these parameters to some extent and live freely in the present moment. Regardless of what the clock says, NOW is the best time to start that thing you’ve been thinking about, to make that call to connect, to do something that makes your soul feel good.
I still keep all that in mind. But I’m viewing the start of 2017 as more of an energy-cleansing. I’m grateful for the wonderful things that have happened this year but there have been some other not-so-pleasant remnants that I feel I need to shed, so this is me lighting a big batch of sage on fire and cleansing my life and home with it’s thick, billowy smoke.
My resolutions for 2017:
Wake up and stretch. I used to be very good about this, especially while pregnant: immediately when getting out of bed I’d do a quick sun salutation, a few cat/cow stretches and take a few deep breaths. This takes two minutes and helps me start the day feeling more grounded and less like a paranoid squirrel on steroids.
Its funny because I’ve been waiting for months to “find quiet time” to meditate, stretch, etc. since it’s always so loud and fast around here, but I’ve realized that it’s exactly in these moments that I need to stop drop and Zen. No one is ushering me into a peaceful room and rolling out a yoga mat for me while striking Tibetan bells and massaging my chakras. Ain’t happening. I think the real test is if you can breathe deep with a baby screaming at you for breakfast and a toddler begging you on an endless loop to color with her, and if so, you’ve reached a near expert level on the Buddha board.
Be more open. Shed the fear of judgment, fear of offending. Trust that the people who are here get me, and know my intentions. I think we do the world a major disservice if we all don’t let our light shine, so this year I’m grabbing the flashlight and letting it fly. I hope you do, too.
Put it out there. I have close to 200 drafts of works of writing that are just sitting in my virtual draft drawer, collecting dust. Some are unfinished because I am a stage 5 procrastinator, and others because of fear (see above). Since I have a tendency to get big ideas and start projects without closing others out, one of my goals is to finish what I start.
Nurture the relationships that matter. Someone very close to me recently gave me the gift of the following reminder: “You can’t be everything to everyone, so just be YOU to those you love”. Those words have stuck themselves to my heart.
Let go of what no longer serves me. I tend to hold onto things like feelings and clothing and other peoples’ energies – all sorts of junk that clutter my world. Only in these past couple months have I become pretty ruthless when getting rid of things I don’t need and don’t make me happy, curating my life. And let me tell you, it feels incredible. Donate, give away to a friend in need, recycle, upcycle, let it go, release the feeling, etc. I’ve borrowed the Konmari method here. I haven’t read the book but just the idea has changed my world. If it brings joy, it stays; if not, out it goes.
Hula hoop. Seriously. We have a Wii with a balance board that’s been collecting dust, one which allows you to stand on it and just hula hoop. It doesn’t even require an actual hula hoop. This is fun, makes me happy and tones my mid-section. Who can be mad or upset while hula hooping? You can’t. Try it. I could do it for hours. (Or until the baby wakes up from his nap.)
Make self-care a top priority. For me this simply means taking a nice bath once per week after the kids are in bed. I used to be much better about them but this past year all efforts of relaxing while cleansing have gone down the drain. I’m bringing it back. Candles, my favorite Pandora station, bath bombs and hot tea or wine is mandatory, as is having my journal next to me (because it never fails that inspiration hits when I’m not near my computer and my hands are covered in suds). I got myself this bath pillow so I’m more comfy, and now every time I go into my bathroom and see it and it acts as an invitation. After the bath, it’s almond oil for my skin.
A bath like this is really is a message from you to your body saying: I care about you. You deserve this. These baths are simple and inexpensive, take little effort, yet make all the difference.
Be OK with myself. You probably wouldn’t think “be more OK” to be an uplifting, inspiring resolution. The idea reminds me of those gag gift mugs that say things like “Most Okayest Dad Ever”, which makes me laugh. But the point of being OK is simply that: to be content with the knowledge that you are enough. That I am enough. Enough for my children, enough for my husband, enough for my friends and family. Enough for myself. I am a work in progress, as well all are, fluid and hopeful and flawed and ever-changing and forgiving. “Falling short” and “doing it wrong” are perceptions; roadblocks on the path to happiness. This year, I am striving to be okay with being “OK”.
Fail forward. If I could adopt one phrase to take with me in the New Year, it is this one: “fail forward”. I can’t remember where I first heard it but it was fairly recent and it’s stuck with me ever since. The failing is inevitable; it’s what we do with that failure that matters most. This is something I wish I understood sooner in life, but I’m happy I’ve adopted it now, and I’ve already started using it with Penelope. Failing is normal. Failing is good. Don’t feel shameful, or run and hide from the failure. On the contrary, welcome the failure. Then take it and use it as a springboard.
Take breaks. We don’t have our village, like many previous generations had. It’s a different time and a different world. I won’t get into all the reasons why this sucks, but I will say, that I’m grateful to have some pretty awesome friends around me who have become another layer of family. And we’ve reached a point where I know I can rely on them at the drop of a dime, who won’t judge me when I’m losing it and need a break, and who I don’t judge when it’s their turn. I will gladly pick up their kids or welcome their children at my doorstep so they can run an errand/take a drive/take a gym class/sit in a parking lot and bang their heads against the steering wheel until they feel better. I will not ask questions. I will have wine upon your return. Promise.
My sister doesn’t live near me full-time but she does live here part time, and when she offers to watch the kids, I immediately take her up. I used to feel bad about asking or accepting the help. Now she’s like “Hey I’m free this afternoon if you need me to watch-” and I’m like “KAYTHANKSBYE” while skidding out of the driveway. She gets time with her niece and nephew and I get to work and also take a mental break. Win/win. (And she also accepts payment in wine.)
These are my main goals for the New Year. But this list is not just about me. Yes, it’s good for me to do these things, but also I need to set this example for my kids. I can’t expect my daughter to care for herself and value herself if I don’t lead by example. I can’t expect to function on a healthy level to provide the kids everything they need. I can’t maintain a healthy relationship with my husband if we’re both stressed or occupied with work and kids and not taking care of ourselves. They deserve the best of me, and in order for them to get it I need to make sure I am well enough to give it.
If we each take care of ourselves it causes a ripple effect; we interact better, we care for each other better, we feel better, we live better.