Friday, January 3, 2014

Goodbye 2013

One of my favorite days from 2013

Another year has come to an end.  2013 was a pretty good year.  For the past couple of days, I’ve been thinking about those goals that I set for myself last January and wondered how I measured up.
And then I started getting on myself for what I haven’t accomplished.

And then I realized that there was no end point with these goals.  They were about making those small steps to create a better life.
Let’s take a look, shall we?

I wanted to create some routines that make life easier.  I wanted to create some space in my head for peace.

Most nights, the kitchen is clean when I go to bed.  Most nights, the large obstacles on the floor have been picked up.
I’m still working on the balance of my to-dos and flexibility for fun.  I’m actually trying to get away from rigid routines on my Fridays off without the kids.  Sometimes, the weather is good, and I want to go on a long run.  Sometimes, I want to go to a fabric store without having to say, “Stay here!  Don’t touch that!”  And I’m finding that when I allow for that flexibility, I am more refreshed and ready to tackle the to-dos.

I’m looking for the small things that make life easier.  I realized that a big drain on our grocery budget (and my time) was that we were not eating our leftovers.  Now, if I make something that has multiple nights of leftovers, I freeze it right away instead of letting it waste away in the fridge.  And if the fridge is full of food, I don’t go to the grocery store simply because that’s what I do on Fridays.  Last week, we had an enormous amount of leftovers.  Billy asked if I was going to the store.  I asked him where the groceries would go because our fridge was packed with food.
In this coming year, I’m going to keep looking for those simple things that make life easier.

I think I did a stellar job at improving in this area.  Remember when I told you that adults need to be eating 4 ½ cups of produce every day?  I thought that was impossible to achieve.  I played around with it.  A couple months in, I realized that if I take a big salad every day for lunch, I am getting a great start on my produce requirement.  I also pack fruit in my lunchbag.  Often, I eat all of my 4 ½ cups of produce while I am at work.  The veggies with dinner is just an extra.  And I have to admit, my body is happier.  I can tell if I miss a couple of days of eating well if I am on vacation or over the weekend.

I still hate eating salad.
I ran a lot this past year.  I ran my first half marathon.  Right now, at the beginning of January, I am feeling a bit lazy with my running.  It’s definitely seasonal.  Early sunsets don’t allow a lot of time for running after work.  I’m not a running in the dark (or running on snow and ice) person.  I know there are those of you who do those things.  That’s not me.

I am genuinely surprised at how these changes seem so ingrained in me now, probably more than any other area that I wanted to improve.  I would like to continue that for the new year.

2013 was the year that I learned how to sew.  I took a couple formal classes, spent a couple days sewing with my Sewer Sister on vacation and have been watching a lot of sewing videos on youtube.  I really like watching sewing videos.  Billy makes fun of me.

I made a lot of Christmas presents this year-headbands and scarves are where I am at with my sewing level.  I made Katy a skirt for her birthday.  That was my first adventure with elastic.
Sewing is always an adventure.  I am constantly learning from my mistakes.  But sewing is supposed to be fun.  And it’s ok that it’s not perfect.

And I had no idea how therapeutic it would be as well!
I’m hoping to improve my sewing skills in this next year and continue trying new crafty ideas.

I think I saved the most challenging area for last.  This area of building relationships isn’t challenging because of other people.  It’s challenging because of me.  It’s challenging because of the work that I do and how that has changed me.

Honestly, sometimes I get home from work, and I do not want to be around other people.  I want to zone out on Pinterest.  I want to go on a run.
I want to be by myself.

For a long time, I thought this was me being selfish.  Recently, Billy’s mom reflected on the work that Billy and I do, and how it impacts us.  I’ve been letting that reflection roll around in my head.  We were talking about looking for a new house and what we would be looking for, specifically around home improvement projects and yard work.  Billy and I do not want a home that has a lot (or any) of those things because we will simply not get it done.  It would be another burden.  His mom validated that, reflecting on how hard our jobs are, and how of course we want to relax on the weekends instead of loading up on projects.
I think it was the grace I needed to give myself.  And not just about home improvement projects, but about life.

I have a job that, at times, feels like it drains part of my soul.  I’m not trying to be dramatic.  When you see some of the worst of humanity on a daily basis, it wears on you.
And I do need alone time.  I do need time to run, or craft, or play on the computer.  If I don’t recharge my mind, my spirit, I won’t be able to do this work anymore.  And if I don’t recharge, I left nothing left for those closest to me.

So as far as this area of relationships, I will do the best that I can.  Because sometimes, I simply have nothing else to give.
And in 2014, I am going to give myself the grace to say, doing the best that I can is enough.

This was probably the first year ever that I have been mindful about reflecting on how my goals turned out.  Usually they are forgotten by February.  It felt good to check in with myself throughout the year to see how I was doing.  Maybe I wasn’t always successful, but I still tried.

Looking back, maybe these weren’t goals at all.  Maybe priorities would be a better way of describing them.  Or areas of improvement.  Either way, I hope to carry them into this year as well.

With all those salads.


  1. That's a great picture of you and the girls! I like your goals. Simplicity seems like it should be so easy to achieve, when in actuality, it is often the hardest to accomplish.

  2. I agree, simplicity should be so much easier. Maybe we are making it too complicated.


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