Two weeks ago my family took a trip to Lake Tahoe. As we were heading out the door, I snatched up my list of intentions (New Year’s resolutions) from 2015 and stuffed it in my bag. I had hoped to spend a bit of time reflecting on the past year and planning for the year ahead, while sipping something warm by the fire.
While traveling, that bag was stolen. Along with many other important things, my list of intentions for 2015 was gone. Forever.
After the initial blow of being robbed, I felt lost. Almost everything could be replaced. But my list of intentions (and a wristband from CBGB that I’ve kept tucked in my wallet for over 10 years) could not. My list of intentions is like a road map; every year it shows me where I have been and helps me navigate where I am going.
As we approach a new year, looking back feels almost more important than looking forward. We take note of the goals we hit and ideas we let slide from our priorities. Our previous lists remind us of our state of mind a year ago and help us see how we’ve grown and how we’ve changed. Some things may have seemed really important but turned out to be not entirely aligned with our larger life goals. Other things start out as visions too ambitious to actually achieve in one year, only to become reality within the course of 365 days.
Looking back to see how far we’ve come gives us a unique perspective as we look forward. But without my list to “hold on to,” I’ve had to find my footing and move forward on my own. What I found is that being released from previous goals is actually freeing. I can assess my year based on my values in this moment, (not as the sleep-deprived, lactating, unsure, new mom I was a year ago). I don’t feel even a twinge of disappointment in not achieving a goal – I don’t even remember what they were, so… whatever.
I’m sure there was something on that list about more yoga, more travel, and more time with friends. Who knows? I’m certain I didn’t do more of any of those things. I just didn’t. Without the list to remind me of what I didn’t do, I’m free to feel just fine with the amount of yoga I did do, the new places I did go, and the few but impactful heart-to-hearts I shared with my closest friends.
I’m not saying that we should always ditch our resolution lists after we make them. They can still be valuable roadmaps to keep us on track. But I do believe there is a lot of freedom to be found by scratching everything and starting fresh. Maybe it’s just a coincidence that we were robbed right before the New Year. Still, it has become a hard, but timely reminder that no matter how hard we work to build the perfect details of a life well lived, those details can all be wiped away. What I’m left with is something no one can take from me. Freedom and a fresh perspective.
You don’t have to be a victim of theft to start fresh. You can do it at any moment – whether it’s January 1st or July 1st. In any event, looking back over 2015 – with no intentions to compare to – here are some of the things I feel really good about:
Reviving My Blog
Following a year hiatus after my son’s birth, I have been consistently blogging for six months. Yay, me!
Finding My Groove in Motherhood
I no longer doubt whether I’m a good mom. I’ve made enough mistakes so far to know that my value is not defined by my blunders, but in the lessons I learn from them. (Tweet that!) I know I’m the best mom for Jude. Parenthood is still hard but it doesn’t weigh me down the way it used to. And I’m finally learning to trust my intuition.
Ditching the Worry
Okay, I’m not a pro at this yet. But I feel like I’ve made really big strides in banishing all the ‘what-ifs’ that pop into my head every day. Jeremy tells me everything is going to be better than okay and I’m starting to believe him.
Feeling Fine Bare-Faced
This was never a goal of mine. I was totally okay adding five minutes to my daily routine to put on make-up for no one. It made me feel more confident and ready for the world. It still does. But the insanity of early mornings with a baby has stripped me of feeling naked without it. Truth is, no one cares if I’m wearing mascara. For reals. *mind explodes*
Putting Away My Judgey Pants
Well, I’m human so here’s another baby-step accomplishment. But I think back on all the moms I judged before I had a baby and sigh. I was such an a-hole. I get it now. I truly do. I still have strong feelings about the choices my husband and I make regarding how we want to raise our son. Though, as long as it’s not abuse, I feel like I can understand (on some level) whatever choice a fellow parent makes born from love.
And here are my intentions for 2016. I’m keeping it pretty simple this year.
- Purge my house, a la Marie Kondo
- Schedule time for creativity that is not writing
- Place more books in my path
- Keep telling myself that good enough is good enough
That’s it! Ta-dah!
What accomplishments are you super proud of? And what are some intentions or resolutions you’re setting for 2016? Please share in the comments below. I would truly love to know.
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