This year I will be turning 40, and I feel it. I’m getting more weird aches and pains that I didn’t used to have, and the 10 pounds I’ve been trying to lose for three years are clinging to my butt for dear life. And, honestly, I’m starting not to care so much. Some may call that “letting myself go,” but I think I’m going to start calling it “setting myself free.”
Lately, I’ve been doing some reevaluating, and reflecting on this gift of life that I have been given. Setting goals is good. Setting realistic goals that will actually make me a kinder, more joy-filled, and gentler human being are even better.
I want to breath deeper, and be more present. I don’t want to miss out on life’s small, beautiful gifts right in front of me because I’m too busy thinking about tomorrow’s agenda. I want my kids to remember me being silly with them. I want to teach them to recognize joy. Kids learn by example, so I know this needs to start with me.
That being said, I recently jotted down 10 things I want to intentionally do this year. Some of which I have already been doing, but want to remind myself to continue them, even if our culture or the latest parenting books tell me I’m doing it wrong. We all parent, wife, and friend differently, we just need to find our own groove that works best for us.
So, here’s my rough list of what I’d like to change this year. Or not change.
10 Realistic Goals of 2016
- I will always Eat Birthday Cake. Celebrating someone’s life is more important than worrying about a little sugar indulgence. That being said, I’m also going to make an honest effort to stop at one piece.
- I will clean out my junk drawer. Fine… all four of them. As my wise and beautiful sister-in-law recently said to me, “All you really need in your junk drawer are a couple pens, some batteries, and a scissors.”
- I will send more happy mail. Real hand-written notes are The Best. I’m going to be better at this.
- I will be a better friend and call people back.
- I will sleep in once in a while. I am a morning person. I love the silence and watching the sunrise before anyone else is awake. HOWEVER, over this Christmas Break, there was one morning I slept until 8:30a.m. This has not happened since, probably, ’95, and it was Ah-Freakin-Maze-Balls. I want to do that again sometime in 2k16.
- I will continue to bring forgotten lunches and instruments back to school when they call. I will do this not because I want my kids to be irresponsible, but because I want them to know that I will always have their backs. Maybe if they see I am ALWAYS there in the small stuff, they will know they can count on me when the big stuff happens too.
- If I start reading a book and it still sucks 1/4 of the way in, I will stop reading the dang book. I’ve wasted too many hours on lame books that I’ve forced myself to finish.
- I will take the dog for a walk more often. We both could use more fresh air. Plus, Alice The Dawg deserves it. She ALWAYS has a good attitude.
- I will learn to cook three fantastic meals from scratch. These will be the meals my kids will ask for when they come home from college for a weekend someday. (I do realize this is going to take much trial and error, but I have 365 days and chances to nail it.)
- I will complain less and be grateful more. I pray God convicts me every time I get on a crabby kick and start spiraling into the depths of a “poor me”pit. It’s yucky down there. It’s also really annoying. 10 year old soccer drama; a teenager’s dirty bedroom; or a grumpy cashier are all not worth ruining a perfectly good day over.
In 2016, I plan to not dwell on things I can’t change. I will be less harsh. I will give people the benefit of the doubt. I will offer more grace. I will be gentler with myself and those around me. I will breathe deeper. I will let the things that don’t matter GO, and hold closer and pay more attention to the things that do.