|(Courtesy of Photogiz.com)|
So, this year, I'm going to change things up. I'm going to write about some of the insights I've learned in 2015, which I plan to use in 2016. They're not necessarily goals, but some new doctrines that I plan to live by...
1. Life is unbalanced and that's okay.
For the last seven years (since I've had Lewie), I've always felt that my life should be balanced. I somehow needed to work out a plan where I divided my time in a day, week, or month to have time for Lewie, time for my husband, time for the house, time for exercise, time for cooking, time for working, and time for me. We're always taught to strive for "balance," especially if we're working mothers. Yes, the word "balance" even sounds noble---delivering thoughts of harmony, peace, and tranquility.
Thankfully, I read a book (Find Your Strongest Life by Marcus Buckingham) that finally overturned this ideal I had been striving for (and failing at) for way too long. Not only does he state that finding "balance" in our everyday lives is a myth but that it's clearly unhealthy--setting us up for a standard that's impossible to reach. Every day brings new adventures, and these new adventures require us to shift to whatever may be important at that time. Isn't this true? I can happily neglect my house for ten days, and then ooops, a dinner party, and I need to go into cleaning overdrive. This week, my husband and I are not connecting. Okay, time to plan a date and some "couple time." Tomorrow, Little Lewie, has a project due for school. Now it's time to work on the project and maybe plan a drive to the nearest ice-cream shop for a reward...
Yes, I'd love to believe the notion that if I spend seven hours at work, I can spend seven hours with my son, and then another seven hours with my husband, and then...Oh wait...that doesn't leave any time for sleep! Balance is a myth. Instead, my goal is to go where the flow takes me. Planning for the unplanned is an uphill battle I'm never going to win.
2. Happiness is a state of mind.
I listened to Follow Your Joy by Robert Holden and learned something that I always knew to be true--happiness is not somewhere externally waiting to be found. Happiness comes from the inside, and it starts as soon as we let it. For the past few years, I have a routine of starting my day wondering if it will be "happy" or not; then I wait for something monumental to say, "Yes, today is great. I'm happy." Holden says that circumstance only factors into happiness by 10%. If we wait for something great to happen, then we're missing out on our joy that comes from within right now.
Many of us also think happiness is not something that happens now but in the future. For example, "I'll be happy as soon as I pay off my mortgage," or "as soon as I find a new job." So we wait weeks, months, or even years before we say that we have the "right ingredients" for happiness, and then, what do we do? We create a new goal. "I'll be happy when I retire."
This year, I'm starting out every day happy. I'm going to keep a gratitude list close to my bed and remind myself that life is to be enjoyed now--even with the everyday mundane tasks of taking a shower, making breakfast, driving to work... If I wait for something monumental to happen, then I'm giving up my power to find joy. I'm taking that power back.
3. Life is to be enjoyed now.
I'm very future oriented. I like to daydream, but sometimes my daydreams about the future (and my worry about the future) keep me from enjoying the present moment. Finances and saving are important, but if there is an opportunity to go on a trip (aka we're all in good health, and we can get the time off from work), then why wait until there is a "better time." All too often, there isn't a "better time." The best time is now!
4. Peace is better than perfection.
I'm a workaholic. I find myself wanting to be the "best" at everything--mothering, work, being a wife, being a friend. This perfection turns to guilt and frustration when I can't reach my impossible standards, and then stress rears its ugly head. This Christmas I broke out in hives, and I've been battling them for the past week. I still can't seem to find a known "allergen," but I do know stress produces histamine (which causes one to itch), and I wouldn't be surprised if that was one of the main culprits. The one thing these hives have taught me is that I choose health and wellbeing over stress, and so I choose health and wellbeing over perfection. Perfectionism doesn't serve anyone well. I need to let go and find my joy.
I hope everyone has a happy and healthy New Year! What are your resolutions or new doctrines?