Sunday, December 30, 2012

Not Making Resolutions, but Focusing on Small Changes

For years now I have not understood the need for people to choose the beginning of a new year as the time to improve their lives.  It always seemed to me that as soon as you see yourself slipping, it was time to make changes. Why wait until January 1st to make yourself better?  What I realized this year is that sometimes life gets so busy that until you have time to stop and reflect, you don't even realize how much you have slipped or have time to consider how you are going to make things better.

2012 was a good year for me in so many ways.  Most importantly my rheumatoid arthritis has been under control all year!!!!  This has allowed me to accept a second teaching position at a local community college teaching English to adult language learners.  Feeling good and able to move with ease has also allowed me to work one on one with students who I now private tutor.  I love my job and to do full time what I love has been wonderful. Early in 2012 I joined RA Guy and Lene Anderson in forming Show Us Your Hands! Along with community members, the three of us produced a beautiful book showcasing what we can do with our hands while living with inflammatory arthritis.  Recently we added directors that came in and got right to work doing amazing things.  We are now a soon to be non-profit charitable organization. As far as my family goes, many new things happened with them too.  My daughter started high school after a lifetime of homeschooling and loves it!  She joined the cross country team and found that she loves to run. My son also started taking classes at the high school, only he is still considered a homeschooler as he only takes two electives and is home by 10am.  My husband joined a band with awesome dudes and is writing all their songs.  His songs are just as quirky as he is!!! I love it.  Life has been good to us!

A good life can mean a busy exhausting life and if you have been reading my blog for any amount of time, you know I don't thrive on busy or exhaustion.  I require a lot of down time.  This year has provided a lot for me, but down time has not been one of those things.  As a consequence, some things in my life have gotten out of control and although I was aware of it, it wasn't until I had some down time over the holidays that I could really reflect on what I want to do to get those things in order.

I have made enough drastic changes in my life to know that right now isn't the time to do anything big.  I want to make small changes here and there that will benefit me long term rather than for a month or two.  I don't have the time or energy to set myself up for big resolutions that I know I can't keep. So, rather than making a list of resolutions,  I am making a list of thoughts and ideas that I believe will nourish me throughout the year.

Inspiration
I feel like 2013 is going to be a year of inspiration.  I hope that through my work with Show Us Your Hands! and everyday life that I can be an inspiration to others.  I want "inspire" to be at the front of my mind as I make simple every day choices.  I also want "inspire" to guide me in my relationships so that I allow myself to be inspired by those who surround me.
Positive Energy
This is something I have been working on for a few years now and plan to continue in 2013.  I want to continue surrounding myself with positive people and energy.  I have many friends and family that drain my energy rather than focusing on my successes and allowing me to share in theirs.  While I don't want to close any doors to these people, I will keep working on limiting my time with them and spending the time with those who want to find the joy of life.
Family
The best thing about this holiday season has been having down time with my family to watch movies, eat, drink, hug, smile, and just be. Being with my family makes me feel whole again.  I want to remember this feeling and come back to it over and over and over in 2013.   
Nature
This morning on my walk the sun was strong.  I found my body requesting me to stop often, stand still, and absorb the sun. My walks with Izzy center me.  Being in nature centers me.  This year I want to take advantage of little and big pockets of time to enjoy everything about nature because when I do, I always feel a sense of completeness.     
Weight/Stress
While I hate to focus on weight rather than health, I have struggled with keeping weight off this year and to tell the truth, I don't feel good about my physical self.  I have been able to maintain a regular workout schedule and feel strong which is a plus. For the most part I have kept to a mostly paleo-type diet, although I have enjoyed way too many treats, which is definitely contributing to the weight gain. Overall though, I know that the amount of stress (good and bad) I have been under this year has kept the weight on. I feel like I am always on the go with expectations coming every which way. This coming year I will work on ways to get my stress and weight to a comfortable spot.  I have a feeling I will have to try a variety of things, depending on where I am, but just knowing it will be a priority makes me feel calm.   
Electronics
I love email, text messages, Facebook, and blogs.  However, I feel that they can easily become an addiction.  I took one week off from Facebook a few months ago and found that my brain felt clearer and I spent more time talking to my family, reading books, and just taking a moment to do absolutely nothing. I liked that feeling. I am not setting strict guidelines for myself, but I do know that I will use less of each this year.    
Luxuries
One thing I did this year as my schedule became busier and busier was add little luxuries for myself here and there. I might take a bath one afternoon with a glass of wine or watch a TV show when I felt I should be cleaning, meeting a deadline, or completing some other responsibility. Indulging in these small things reminded me to take time for myself.  It reminded me that before I can give to others, I have to take care of myself.  I will of course be continuing this habit in 2013.

Overall this year I want to be good to myself.  I want to meet my needs of down time and quiet so that I can be good to those I love.  Despite my long "to do" list, I want to remember that I am special to many people.  In all the chaos of life,  I sometimes forget that about myself.  This down time has reminded me that the people who have surrounded themselves with me have done so for a reason!  

Thanks so much for reading my blog this year and for celebrating my successes of 2012.  I hope great things come to you in 2013!
Alexander, Steve, Cathy, and Sophia