A few days ago on New Year's Day, I was at a friend's house for brunch. The subject of New Year's Resolutions came up and everyone hemmed and hawed as they looked to their shuffling feet and admitted that they don't make them because they never keep them. Someone asked me and, before I could even really answer, my best friend spoke up and told people I was serious about them. ha! She is not wrong!
I do take New Year's Resolutions quite seriously. I began this practice maybe...5, 6 year ago now. I used to be the cool kid who would say, "I resolve to to make no more resolution!" cute. really cute, college kid. Alas, even that one has now been broken. In fact, it's probably easiest to say that I've ended up breaking maybe 75% of the resolutions I've made in the past 6, did we decide on 6?, years.
So why continue to make them?
Because I am a list maker. I am a goal setter. I am an achiever.
I create mini goals lists for myself everyday at work. I create monthly goals on my home laptop. Heck, I even created daily goal lists for my 6 year old during his summer break.
Clearly, creating lists is fun for me. However, the all encompassing New Year's Resolution hold special weight. They plot out my next year. They cause to stop and reflect on the previous year's resolutions. What did we excel at this year? What do I need to improv on in the next year? They cause me to dream. Where can I go from here? What would I like life to look like in 12 months? They cause me to have accountability. Who will see these and spur me on? When will I stumble upon the list again and remember the plans I laid out?
Even if I only complete one goal on my list in a year. I have conquered something that I hadn't in the past. In this life of ever changing, evolving, growing into the best version of myself, shouldn't I be pushing myself to be better at every turn.
And so, before I completely belabor the point, it is time to look back:
2014 New Year's Resolutions:
1. Respond to all Communications within 24 hours: text, email, phone, etc. uh, no. nope. sorry. still bad at returning e-communications. In fact, I may have gotten worse. whoops.
2. Connect with friends and make new ones YES! Though to be fair, not who I expected to reconnect with. My renewed friendships with Sarah, Sarah, & Adele have energized me throughout most of the year. I look forward to monthly meetups more than almost anything else. Also, this year I joined a new small group. It has been an amazing blessing as it is filled with old friends and new ones. Whereas our non-girly girls night is what I look forward to monthly, my small group is what I look forward to weekly. I also had the opportunity this year to grow in some friendships at work, again both with people I've been working with since I began there and some new who have only been there for a couple months and are actually already on their way out. I'd call this one a success. One I hope to continue into 2015.
3. Games Nights at least 6 times this year well, this one is hard to judge...I live with a 6 year old. If it were up to him, every night would be a game night. We do end up playing games a couple times a week. I should have specified. I believe if I had I would have fallen a bit short. I only remember 4 or 5 games with other adults and they definitely didn't fall into a certain every other month pattern. However, I am going to count this one as a win. I did have game nights with different people. There was laughter. There was bonding. It was beautiful. Actually while typing this several other occasions have popped in my head. I definitely hit 6, just not formally. Yay!
4. Grown up only time at least 6 times a year hmm...I believe this one may take some gymnastics to count. I can only think of maybe 2 times I needed a babysitter for something other than work (where I actually throw grown up only parties for a living...oh, irony) this year...and one was just last week. (One of the many downfalls of single parenthood. The guilt that is felt asking for a babysitter when you don't "need" one.) However, I feel like I hit the spirit of this goal because of the quality grown up time that did occur monthly with my not-so-girly girls. We would watch superhero and heist movies, cheer over the explosions and quick getaways, and eat pizza or some other hang out food. Meanwhile, the kids would fantastically entertain themselves for hours in the downstair playroom. Seriously a thing of beauty. So this one is tricky. It's funny actually because I have a grown up only event tomorrow night that is not for work and is with my friends. I get to dress up, get a fancy dinner, and try my hardest not to be socially awkward. I'm so excited!
5. Get Mom to Italy YES! YES! YES! She moved to Rome in October. So much of my year (and past couple, honestly) have been so focused on this goal that it has been a large vacuum since she's been gone. Not just her. I do miss her. But it was all the planning and creating and fundraising and social media-ing and ghost writing and editing and everything else that stopped when she left. On one hand a welcome break, on the other...I need a project.
6. Cook at least once a week. Eat at home at least 3 days a week. I think this may have lasted a month maybe. I did try to re-calibrate our lives multiple times through the year to get us to this. It was definitely touch and go but we did do better than the year before. I've already all January's menu and purchased large qualities of meat (okay, let's be honest, 3-5 lbs) that have been repackaged into smaller bags and put in our new (to us) deep freezer that we received when mom left.
7. Have 35 minutes a week of quiet God time FAIL. I may have had 35 minutes of quiet God time this year. However, as L has grown so has our bedtime Bible readings. We read through a fantastic children's Bible this year. It really covered a lot and would remind me of stories I've known for years but surprise me with stories I'd long forgotten. We are currently reading an odd family devotional. I don't like it. I miss reading the actual Bible stories. L was baptized this year and got his "Holy Bible." It is one of his prized possessions. He wants to just read that. I love the idea but am admittedly stuck so to what book is the safest to start in for a smart 6 year old.
8. Be laptop free one night a week Be laptop free two night this year? maybe. Well, actually I've probably been laptop free much more than that. However with my cellphone, TV, and now our Kindle Fire, it is VERY hard for me to keep my hands & focus off of technology.
9. Have 4 no technology days a year I think I hit 2. They definitely weren't planned. My cellphone died and I switched companies this year so I think that's a day. And, perhaps, I had a tech free day at camp. I did have tech free hours. I would forget my phone or let my batteries die. Those were so fantastic hours. However, I always felt naked and would get most frustrated because I couldn't take pictures. Perhaps I need to go back to carrying a real camera...ha. That's so laughable. 1. Dragging a camera? no. 2. I can't instantly send them to Instagram and/or Shutterfly. 3. I'm out of space on my 7+ year old laptop. Actually, that reminds we there may be some technology free days in my near future, simply because I'm too poor to replace my Macbook.
10. Get healthier: walk more, lose at least 10 lbs, and go to the doctor FAIL! This was the first time since college (2007 or 2008) that I had insurance. I STILL didn't go to the doctor. ugh. I didn't lose 10 lbs. I gained about 15! However, I did walk more in the second half of the year. This is probably the goal that I'm most disappointed in myself about.
Okay so that sums up 2014:
Goals Achieved: 3 (2, 3, 5)
Goals Better Than Expected: 1 (4)
Goals Could Be Counted: 1 (6)
Goals Definitely Not Good: 2 (8,9)
Goals Failed: 3 (1, 7,10)
Time to move onto 2015 resolution's list.
This list will live on my macbook home screen on a translucent Sticky note all year. It will hopefully spur me on! You will notice this list is longer. There is never a particular reason to the number of resolution. Some years, I just have more life editing that I need to pull together. This year is clearly one of them. 15 for 2015.
In 2015, I resolve to:
1. Lose 3 lbs a month (or the equivalent by the end of the year) Look at 2014 #10. You understand. This is necessary!
2. Clear all games from my cellphone (except solitaire) Also, looking over last year, I need to take away my digital distractions.
3. Clean out (at least) 2 boxes a month from my room There are a lot of great things my mom left behind. The piles and piles of boxes of stuff in my room is not one of them. My room is suffocating me and spreading. I need to get this place under control before a full depression sets in. seriously. It's gross.
4. Not let dishes set longer than a week If you know me in real life, you know I HATE dishes. Perhaps if I make this a goal, I will heed the advice of everyone around me.
5. Get on a stage again: improv, storytelling, stand up,... This has been missing from my life. I miss the stage everyday. I miss my outlet. I miss the energy of the audience. I miss tapping into my truest, though often hidden these days, asset of humor and storytelling.
6. Reconnect with friends - find my place and my voice again Because so much of 2014 was focused on my moving Mom out, I stopped focusing on my own relationships that I had here in the city. I need to refind my niche among my friends. The few, random times I'm with them now I just feel clumsy, out of place, and incredibly awkward. I find myself quiet, afraid of not being PC enough or simply being an annoyance. I know that that can't possibly me true but I've let too many people make me feel that way over the past couple years. It's time to find my voice again and use it.
7. Surround myself with positive people and personally stay positive (do 100 Days of Happy three times) In missing my core friends, I have allowed negativity to become the laughable norm. This needs to end. In 2014, I did the 100 DAys of Happy experiment. It was wonderful. I want to do this again in 2015. Actually I want to do it 3 times. I want to leave breaks to reflect between each. I want to use those break to check in with myself and others. Am I being more positive? Am I embracing the world with gratitude? Hopefully there will be a measurable difference by December 31st.
8. Work toward legal permeance of L (pray, talk to people in the know pray, repeat) This is easily the most delicate of all the resolutions. However, it's on the list because I need to think of this as a goal. We are coming up on 3 years. What an incredible journey it's been. However, we both need something more permeant. I can feel it. He can feel it. It is my prayer this year that his bio family will also feel it. We love them but this needs to be official. We really want to plan a trip to Italy. I really want to be able to imagine a world past 1st grade. Something changed in 2014. He started calling me "Mom." It has been beautiful. It has been heart wrenching.
9. Create something every month (sew, cook a big meal, paint, write) Inspired by the Creator, I need to create.
10. Travel somewhere new and/or take L to the beach Traveling is one of my very favorite things. I haven't left the tri-state since I got L. I'm going a bit stir crazy. "The beach" is basically the only thing on my 6 year old's bucket list. He needs sand and he needs the ocean. I don't need either of those things, but I need to make that happen.
11. Spend less money eating out (Go out for lunch no more than 3 times in a week!) This has contributed a lot this year to my widening waistline and dwindling wallet. I absolutely love my co-workers and we talk a lot of shop at lunch but I can't do it everyday anymore. I need to be strong enough to not fold in this resolution this year.
12. Not eat french fries This sounds silly but I was reminded lately of fact that I did this about a decade ago. Back then I did it just to see if I could. Now I want to see if I can do it again. Even the fastest of fast food restaurants now offer alternatives. There is no reason to put little grease sticks my mouth.
13. Not get on my laptop until L goes to bed Sadly, this one may be the hardest of the whole year. I always whine about the limited amount of time we have together everyday and then find myself on facebook. ridiculous. It has become such a habit. This habit needs to be broken.
14. Read, study, and consider one minor prophet each month I want to personally tackle the minor prophets this year. There are 12. There are 12 months. I want to read and reread each one for a month. I know there are a few, like Jonah, I've read a lot, but then there ones like, Obadiah, I've skimmed at best.
15. Be open to love. Okay, this one is admittedly cheesy. I refuse to say "fall in love in 2015." That is not something I can control. Therefore, it is not something I can resolve to do. However, I can resolve to be more open. The older I get, the farther into parenting I go, the more I want a partner at my side. I started last year with hope. Halfway through the year, the hope was dashed. At the end of the year, it is sometimes hard to remember the beginning and so I got mopey. I start this year again with hope. Not the hope of a particular person, like last year, but the hope that there is a person and I that I will find him.
Okay, if you are still reading this far you are simply amazing. All of these new ones go into a effect on Sunday, January 4th. (Wait, what?) I still have one more family Christmas to attend so I refuse to start any weight loss until after all the cookies are consumed. :)
Thanks friends. I cannot wait to see what 2015 has in store. What are your resolutions?