Never a big fan of the concept of resolutions, I nevertheless embrace the idea that a new year is a captivating opportunity to reassess, refocus on priorities, and set new goals.
So our family talked all this week at dinner about what we remember from 2013. Peanut learned to read…really read…and committed himself with intense commitment to being on a team. Butter learned to ride a bike, unbuckle his own seatbelt, and wipe his own bum. (Holla 2013!) I revised my novel once and am excited to find time for another this year. I also applied for an ideal full-time job and after shrugging off the rejection, booked two contract jobs I’m enjoying.
Together over dinner and dessert and bath and cuddles this week we recounted the year and recalled our camping trips, our regular hikes, and the fun we had with family and friends. We celebrated the time we helped rescue a stranded seal pup and the adorable kittens we brought home from the shelter.
And tonight I asked everyone, as we settled in the darkness just before bed, what they wanted for our family in 2014.
Spouse said he wants us all to be more gentle with each other and to use our words more.
I said I want us to teach each other and make our home a place everyone feels safe rather than attacked.
Peanut says he wants more camping.
Butter says he wants doughnuts.
Spouse said he wants more nights like the one where we tasted dragonfruit.
Peanut said he’d really like to visit a cave.
Butter said he’d really like to try a doughnut.
Peanut said he’d like to see if there are any pyramids around here.
I said I want to visit family more often, see friends more often, and hike more often.
But really, I’ve been thinking about what I don’t want to change in 2014.
We started this year reading poetry over breakfast. We all enjoy it. A lot. Mostly because this month featured Shel Silverstein. That dude cracks us up, and not just because we picture my dad hassling him in S.F. in the late 60s.
We also started doing Mad Libs at dinner, right before we talk about the best and the most challenging parts of our day. You can’t beat a second-grader listing nouns and adjectives while the preschooler takes all requests for silly words and numbers.
I’ve been working to teach my body that when one boy hurts the other, adrenaline isn’t necessary. A calm script is. I want to keep working that script. Because reacting as though every punch is the end of civilization as we know it and a sure sign my children will spend most of their lives in prison just isn’t working for us. So I’ll stay on 2013’s path toward serenity in the midst of testosterone. [Note I said toward. I’m really, really, really far from that goal. But trying is always good, unless you listen to Yoda.]
Exercise and way less sugar has helped my focus. So this year I’ll keep adding exercise and keep minimizing sugar. I might wait another year before I ask my kids to let me meditate for five minutes in the morning.
Client projects have been welcome distractions from my already long to-do lists. Spending time with friends at the expense of projects has made me happier and justifiably pressured to focus on what’s important.
Going to bed early and getting up early to create for myself and for clients is still a huge struggle. But a journey of a thousand minutes begins by not snoozing my “go to bed” alarm. Which means I have to leave you now and prepare for an early morning “write now” alarm.
Here’s hoping that in 2014 you keep what you want and jettison what didn’t work in 2013. What are you working toward this year?