New Year. Same Me. Just a Little Better.

 

I’ve never been a big fan of the whole “New Year. New Me” annual bandwagon. Not that I don’t admire the optimism; I do. I’m all for self-improvement and renewed dedication to being the best version of ourselves. But if we’re truly being honest, do any of us actually want or need a whole “New Me”? That’s an awful big project. What a massive undertaking. And what sort of plan would you be following for an entire new you, anyway? I feel exhausted just thinking about it.

But the main reason I don’t like to proclaim “New Year, New Me”, is that I really like myself. I don’t want a whole new me. I want to keep being the same me, but maybe just a little bit better.

The same me, but with more self-awareness, so that I completely consciously make the smartest decisions for myself and my family instead of acting out of old patterns or habits.

The same me,  but more fully present. Less on my phone or in front of a screen. More fully engaged with the people right in front of me.

The same me, but using more emotional intelligence to navigate all of my relationships, so that every person I encounter is getting the truest, most authentic version of myself.

The same me, but more willing to disappoint others so that I always remain true to myself.

The same me, but with a heart that opens up just a little bit wider, making a little more space for every dimension of love in my life.

The same me, but with my heart a little softer. More compassion and more empathy. More aware of the strugglers in my life and the little ways I can make them feel less alone.

The same me, but always learning new ways. For everything. The way I think. The way I process. The way I do things. The way I interact with people. The way I handle things.

The same me, but less inclined to think I have all the answers and more inclined to adopt a new point of view or a more open, educated mind. How I see it is not how it is; it’s just how I see it. There are, indeed, new ways to think that I have not yet learned.

The same me, but with a renewed commitment to holding everything with an open hand  so that I flow more easily with life. This applies to people, relationships, circumstances, problems…When I hold it all loosely, it’s easier for God and The Universe to work it all out for my good.

The same me, but rededicated to the daily practices that nurture my heart, mind and soul: Meditation, journaling, gratitude, prayer… It makes a difference in every part of my life. When I get lazy about it, everything else suffers.

The same me, but making a concerted effort to live more awake to social justice issues, more awake to my white privilege and how it impacts the world around me. More  committed to getting involved and making a difference, and involving my kids, too. We’ll keep learning to be better citizens of this world and better members of humanity. Together.

The same me, but with a higher prioritization of self-respect. Allowing fewer people to waste my time, waste my goodness, waste my energy–and letting go of them sooner when they do.

The same me, but with a heart that forgives more quickly. There’s no use wasting time and emotional energy on old stories I can’t change. Moving forward with a clean slate is the only way to live in peace. (And an old story is the only kind of story. If it happened 5 minutes ago, it’s an old story.)

The same me, but with renewed commitment and enthusiasm for taking care of my body in every way: Eating better. Drinking less-ish. Moving more. (Drinking less-ish is a thing and I’m pretty sure a lot you reading this appreciate my realistic suggestion. You’re welcome.)

The same me, but saying yes more often to adventure. To opportunities. To celebrations. To more fun and laughter. (Because couldn’t we all use more of these things??)

So that’s it. That’s my plan for 2017. Nothing all that grand, nothing all that new. I really just want to be the same me, but a little bit better. I’m not going to “resolve” to do any of this. But I’m definitely going to try. And I am going to believe this coming year will be just a little bit better than the last. 

 

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Starting Over on a Tuesday

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Yesterday was the first official Monday of the New Year. And it started out bright and early and shiny with so much promise. There was coffee. There was meditation and journaling. There was all sorts of positivity and optimism and good feelings. All kinds of regrouping and restarting. Ahhhh. A New day. New week. New Year.

And then it happened. Later on in the day, it happened. I totally lost my shit with someone. And I’m not telling you this because I’m proud of it. I’m telling you this because SERIOUSLY? It was Monday! Monday, January 5th! The new start! The fresh week! The Do Over! The Reset! I should’ve still been basking in the after glow of New Year’s resolutions and inspiration! Still full of hope! And I was! Until then.

But it was Yucky. It was like an Ugly Cry- Jesus, Excuse Me for a Minute, I’ll be Right Back- kind of moment. There may have been a foot stomp or two and a door slammed or so. You know the type. Yeah. One of those.  Happy Effin’ New Year. Blah blah blah. Bite me.


But luckily. Luckily, I had read this little gem of an article earlier on when I was still in my right mind. It was all about pausing in the midst of a total train wreck moment and deciding to say thank you. I know. I know it sounds totally whacked. But when I stepped away from the mess I had just been standing in and collected myself, I sat still for a few minutes and did it. With a few tears running down my face, I said to God and to the Universe, “Thank you.”

And at first, it was weird. Because, seriously, what was I thankful for? That I hadn’t just committed complete Harikari  in my own home? But Kate, the kick ass Life Coach and author of the article over at Your Courageous Life, had said this~

“What can shift in those seconds when you are in it, and deep, and you start saying “Thank you” is that you are paving a way to say that all is not lost–that there is something divine about this experience–there is something to be gained.”

And indeed, there WAS something to be gained. Besides composure. It was a very fast, very clear moment of self-awareness. I immediately was thankful that I could see exactly what the trigger point for me was. And exactly where I still have work to do in 2015. And 16. And probably 2017, 18, 34, and 52.

And in defense of my trampled little self-aware heart, the trigger was someone hurting someone I love. Which somehow makes me feel a teeny bit more justified about my fit. I don’t get worked up over traffic. Or long check-out lines. Or someone being late. But hurt someone I love and I will rip the bow out of my hair, clutch the pearls from my neck and go all Beer-drinking- Buffalo girl on you in two seconds flat. But still. It’s something I want to learn to handle better.

Which leads me to this: While I love a new year and a new start and fresh, clean slate as much as the next person, the truth is, every day is a Do Over. Thank God, every single day is a Do Over. Turning off the alarm every morning is like hitting a reset button. No need to wait for January. Or Monday. Or Spring. Or whatever it is. God knew exactly what He was doing when He divided the sunshine and moonlight into manageable blocks of time called Day and Night. He totally knew we would need time to regroup in between. Time to say, “Help.” Time to say, “Thank you.” And the continual promise of a Do Over every single day.

So here it is, Tuesday. And I’m starting over. Again.

This Is The Year

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2014, I want to both kick your ass and kiss you gently on the forehead. Like every year that has gone before you, you were the best of times and the worst of times. I love you and I hate you. I want you to stay over, but I also sort of want you to leave. In the beginning, I wanted nothing more than to sweep you off your feet, but by now? Don’t let the door hit you on the way out. You were half empty and half full. Too much and not enough. I was glad to see you come but now I’m glad to see you go. Sayonara, Sweetie.

2015, you don’t even know me yet Doll, but I’m just going to say upfront that any hard and fast resolutions I make today would just be the December hangover from sugar and alcohol talking.

So let’s be realistic:

This is the year I will eat the cookie and buy the shoes.

 This is the year I will save the calories and the money.

 This is the year I will get more sleep because rest is good for the body, mind, and spirit.

This is the year I’ll decide to sleep when I’m dead. Life is happening NOW and I don’t want to miss it.

This is the year I will read more and watch less so that I’m feeding my brain and soul with intellectual and emotional goodness.

This is the year I will watch more and read less to give my brain and soul a break from so much processing.

This is the year I will eat less and move more. Restraint is a virtue.

This is the year I will eat more and move less. I don’t want to look back and wish I had eaten something totally decadent. Screw restraint.

This is the year I will stick to a regular workout schedule and be in the best shape of my life.

This is the year I will just enjoy and accept my body and stop trying so hard to make it something it’s not.

This is the year I will get up early to seize the day. Carpe Diem and all that crap!

This is the year I will stay in bed longer and savor the simple luxury of lounging in bed with coffee. It’s the little things.

This is the year I will stop buying so many new clothes and just wear what I have.

This is the year I will apologize more easily and often.

This is the year I will stop apologizing for things I have no reason to be sorry for.

This is the year I will forgive and forget.

This is the year I will forgive and remember lessons learned to save myself from future heartbreak.

This is the year I will stop taking everything so seriously.

This is the year I will start to take things more seriously.

This is the year I will stop making the same dumb mistakes over and over again.

This is the year I will say yes to community and no to isolation.

This is the year I will accept my introversion and honor who I really am.

This is the year I will go with the flow and embrace spontaneity as a lifestyle.

This is the year I will plan more carefully so that my life looks and feels exactly the way I want it to.

This is the year I will start saving money for a rainy day.

This is the year I will spend my money like I stole it. Who knows what tomorrow will bring?

This is the year I will say yes more often so that I’m fully participating in life.

This is the year I will say no more often and not feel bad about it.

This is the year I will speak my truth, even if I’m the only one who understands it.

This is the year I will keep my silence and guard my words.

This is the year I will laugh more and cry less.

This is the year I will feel whatever I want to, whenever I want to, without apology or explanation.

This is the year I will let go of all the grief and heartache and loss so that I can make space for true love.

This is the year I will keep showing up.

I will be brave enough to just keep showing up.

2015, I’ve got this.