It's a brand new year! I love this time of year because it feels like the slate is clean and there are endless possibilities for new and amazing things to come. Importantly, rather than waiting on those amazing things to arrive on their own volition, it's a time for kicking yourself up the backside to go out and get what you want and make positive change happen. Woo! Yeah! Let's do this! How long can we keep up this enthusiasm!!! I'm so tired!!!
I've spent the last month or so reflecting on 2016, settling into my new job and routine, and thinking about what's next. I've been hustling for such a long time - trying to figure out life post-divorce, thinking about my career path, looking for a job - and now that things have settled a little on those fronts, I find myself excitedly considering what else I want to improve and achieve in my life. Self-improvement is a daily goal and it will be a life-long project, but I welcome the opportunity of a new year to set some specific goals for this next spin around the sun.
I've made some resolutions for 2017 in a number of areas of my life (ones that I believe are attainable even for a tired person such as myself) and I will be posting about them in the coming weeks, but to start, I'll share with you the number one thing I want to do in 2017 above all others:
RELAX AND HAVE FUN!
The fact is, I'm pretty good at the serious stuff overall and one of my biggest issues is that I can be TOO serious. I'm not very good at relaxing; in fact, I'm quite terrible at it. I'm always thinking about what else I "should" be doing, or just thinking in general. My therapist's number one adjective for me is "cerebral", which is intended as a compliment (I think) but comes up regularly in our conversations because I live far too much in my head. Basically, I want to settle my brain and possibly even dumb down a little, in the hopes that some ignorance may just lead to some bliss. And although I think I'm a pretty fun person, my life could benefit from more frequent injections of fun and silliness. Since relaxing and having fun are two different things (although they pair beautifully), I'll highlight a few of the steps I'm planning to take to achieve each goal:
Relax, Don't Do It
I am officially declaring that Sunday is a day of rest! (I think someone may have come up with this concept before me.) I want to get better at finding pockets of time to relax (and actually doing so) all of the days of the week, but I think that devoting one day a week solely to rest and relaxation is a way-overdue prescription for the anxiety and stress in my life. My intention is to set aside Sunday as a day to spend time with my loved ones, or on my own, to read and play and pursue hobbies and enjoy nature. On my weekends with my daughters, Sunday will be a no- (or at least low-) tech day because I want us to spend quality time together, going for hikes and playing games and making blanket forts and such. Because I rarely watch TV or movies through the week, this kind of tech WILL be allowed on the Sundays I have to myself (I feel like this might help with the dumbing down part), but I will be limiting my internet usage otherwise. I want lounging in my bed until noon with a good book and a cup of tea! I want Sunday afternoon Netflix bingeing! I want to practice my ukulele and learn how to knit and get crafty! The time to do these things isn't going to make itself so I need to make it.
Ask me how well this went this past Sunday! Not so well! To be fair, this is an oddball week because two bedrooms are being painted and all of the carpets are being replaced, so it was necessary for us to spend yesterday clearing things out. But I'm optimistic that I'll be able to set aside Sunday as a rest day most weeks (I have big plans for a solo movie marathon this coming Sunday and I could nearly cry with my excitement about it).
This will, as a by-product, make it necessary for me to accomplish ALL OF THE OTHER THINGS the other six days of the week, but this leads me to the second way I plan to relax: I want to relax the standards I set for myself and what I "should" accomplish. I set impossibly high standards for myself, only to end up disappointed and frustrated, and I often let the great become the enemy of the good, as the saying goes. I don't have to get everything done. The house doesn't have to be sparkling clean and organized at all times. Or at any time. My writing doesn't have to be perfectly worded and ruminated over, or posted here on certain days of the week, or accompanied by the ideal photo. Nobody cares about these things as much I do and it is GOOD to care and it is GOOD to have goals and want to improve but striving for perfection is a foolish, exhausting task that can never be checked off. So, in the words of the great Princess Elsa, I'm going to let it go.
Or at least try my very best. The truth is, I think I've forgotten how to relax. I've been treading rough waters for so long that I don't know what it feels like to relax and float and ride the current instead of fight it. But I'll get there with practice.
In addition to these steps, I'm also working on getting into a new daily routine that includes time before bed to write in my journal and read. So far, the new routine is going well and I'm already noticing that those 30 to 45 minutes every night are making a big difference to my sense of well-being as well as helping me to get a better night's sleep, which is another part of my relaxation resolution.
Girls Just Wanna Have Fun
Well, I can't speak for all girls but THIS ONE sure does and I know two little ones who are also big fans of the fun. So more of it, I say! Life over the last few years has involved some necessary seriousness and buckling down, and it probably always will, but what's the point of all that hard work if not to make time to play and be silly and laugh? To actually live a joyful life? I'll continue to work hard and hustle and be serious, but I'm resolved to make time for the silly (note: In a beautiful Freudian slip, that sentence first came out as "make time for the willy." Yes, that kind of fun would be welcome, too.)
But I digress. SILLINESS. My daughters and I are already connoisseurs of silly. In fact, I'm not sure that there's anything that defines us more as a family than our love of all things goofy and ridiculous. One of my goals for 2017 is to continue and expand upon a number of our silly traditions and antics. Dinovember, for example, was a huge hit in our household this past November. The dinosaurs took over the house and got themselves into all sorts of giggle-inducing mischief, giving dreary November the shot of silliness it needed. When I decided to celebrate Dinovember (an idea I gathered here), my goal was simply to make the girls smile. I found along the way, however, that the process of thinking up new scenarios for the dinosaurs, and setting them up after the girls were in bed, went a long way to lifting my spirits, too, and reconnecting me to a kind of joy that I hadn't felt in awhile. I plan to continue this tradition and others, including:
- Silly dinners, which involve dressing in a ridiculous fashion, eating dessert first, and using bizarre kitchen implements to eat rather than regular utensils (ladles, tongs, etc.), usually with something suitably sloppy for extra silliness
- Morning dance parties. What it says on the box!
- Impromptu lipsynch contests and living life as a musical by bursting into song for no reason
- Funny lunchbox notes and scavenger hunts and sticky-note messages in weird places
- Very Merry Un-Birthdays
- And other holiday silliness including St. Patrick's Day leprechaun trapping and April Fool's Day pranks!
(And I have lots more up my sleeve.)
In my single, adult life, the kind of fun I'm (mostly) thinking about simply involves more time doing fun things with friends and introducing more spontaneity into my life. Less planning, more doing! It would be a little counterproductive, then, to plan goals to this end, but I'm foreseeing more last-minute road trips and nights out and trying new things. I want to challenge my introversion a bit and shake things up.
As 2017 rolls on, I'll be reporting on my progress toward these and other resolutions here on the site, but if you'd like to follow along in closer-to-real-time, join me on Facebook and Instagram, too, where I will be posting more regular check-ins. I'd also love to hear about the goals you've set for yourself in 2017, in the comments below.
Bring it on, 2017! We got this! RAWR!