New Year


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I had a lot of goals in 2015. I had a whole Google Spreadsheet full of ambitious, detailed New Year’s resolutions ranging from reading a carefully curated self-determined book list to jogging 500 miles, a particularly laughable goal considering that the only time I’ve jogged with my B.O.B., the Subaru of jogging strollers, was when I was desperately trying to catch a bus.

I did—with the positive peer pressure of my mom, sister, and grandma who shared this goal—memorize a poem each month, but aside from that, I accomplished nothing. Nothing on the spreadsheet at least.

When I think about what I want to accomplish in 2016, all I’m sure of is that I want to be my best self.

But then I think, “No, wait. Maybe I just want to be kind to myself.”

And then I think, “No, wait. Why are those two things in conflict?”

They’re not. Or rather, they shouldn’t be. But my “best” self—the Sam who is thoughtful and creative and adventurous and brave—is also a perfectionist and a brat. She’s rather shaming of her own shortcomings. She’s good at spreadsheets and bad at forgiveness.

This year, I’m stepping into January nine months pregnant with an immediate future that seems sure and looks bright. Trent will graduate in May. We’ll move to Texas in the summer. He’ll start work. We’ll raise babies. For the first time in a long time, I woke up on New Year’s Day with my ducks seemingly in something of a row. At least until our plans get messed with—which, of course, they assuredly will—my energy doesn’t need to be sucked into my usual black whole of fretting about the unknown, which leaves me with plenty of strength for creativity, bravery, and adventure. And kindness, for myself included.

My goals this year are simple.

Rather than commit to a creative writing schedule like last year, and then flake and hate myself for it, I’m going to commit to listen to NPR every day. I’m going to make an effort to engage my brain in a simple way. And something tells me that if I do, the writing will flow out of me on its own.

Rather than promise myself I’ll jog, which I knowingly despise, I will commit to go for a walk outside every day, even if it’s just around the block. And if I can’t do that, I will at least stretch for a few minutes before I crawl into bed. Rather than push my body into “fitness,” I’m just going to acknowledge it every day, thank it. And something tells me that if I do, I’ll find a desire to see what it’s capable of.

Rather than vow to cook healthy dinners from scratch every night of the week, and then survive on guilt and frozen burritos, I will try my best to help my little family sit down for breakfast together every morning, say nothing of what we eat. Something about the sitting, the connecting, the ritual, will start our days and our eating habits off right every day. And something tells me that if that happens, I’ll find more joy in cooking myself and more gratitude in Trent cooking for me. His contributions will feel more like signs of a partnership and less like signs of my personal failures.

And last, but not least, I will not keep a spreadsheet, mental or otherwise, of said personal failures. I will not give myself harsh performance reviews every time I get a Google Calendar reminder to “Check 2016 Goal Progress.” I will not be such a psycho about Google Calendar reminders at all. I will engage my brain and get outside. I will stretch my body and fill it with goodness. I will be thankful for my partner and the two little ducklings in our messy row.

And I will write.

1 comment :

  • Alysa Stewart

    <3 <3 <3
    Lots of hearts because I love it.

    I am bad at spreadsheets and good at forgiving myself, and it turns out that my combo also makes keeping resolutions difficult, ha! Good news is I'm beginning to acknowledge my need for external accountability without judging myself negatively for it. 🙂 here's to 2016!

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