Man, I messed up a lot in 2016. I committed the ultimate faux pas via group message, causing me two weeks of distress and humiliation. Budget smudget. We didn’t make it to the zoo as much as I wanted. I got an official obese diagnosis. I quit Facebook to no avail no less than four times. I entered my mid-thirties. OK, I can’t help that one. Nor could I help the massive benign tumor in my shoulder. I tried probably 5 diets that just weren’t all that, but ended in a bag of chips. The Family Size. With dip. Nonetheless, here are a few things I’ve done right in 2016…
- Preparing my coffee the night before. Really, doing everything I can the night before. If given the choice, I will always choose “keeping the dream alive” in the morning. It’s not that I’m lazy, I just have way more energy in the evenings. I’ve made and mostly stuck to a solid nighttime routine once my little goes to bed. Dinner, read for a bit, clean the kitchen, pack the lunch, set the coffee, and always be ready to relax by 9:00 pm.
One way I think I could make this even better in 2017 is to have a solid cleaning schedule each night. I am always searching Pinterest for one that really fits my life, but perhaps I should just create one on my own!
- Read only things I love, and putting down things I do not. It may be the English major + teacher in me, but when I didn’t finish a book, I would feel unsettled, as if I broke some hidden commandment. But one thing I constantly give my students permission to do is to switch novels mid-quarter if they don’t love their independent reading selection. This year, I’ve offered myself the same grace. I’ve purchased a few books that just were not my speed, and so I gave up. Conversely, this freed up a lot of time for books I’ve adored. I’ve mostly read memoirs this year. I love authentic stories and feel strong connections to those who tell them. Also, it’s a dream of mine to tell my life story one day.
One thing I would do differently in 2017 would be to challenge myself in reading a memoir that is less relatable for me.
- Kept Novella in day care throughout the summer. Before I had Novella, my mother-in-law used to say that modern moms are far too concerned about “me time,” and since I had no dog in the fight, I usually nodded. Now, I’ve come to realize our parents’ generation inherited the belief that a “good mom” is synonymous of “martyr mom.” I feel the opposite- I could pen my Motherhood Manifesto later, but a peaceful life is what keeps our house warm, organized, and afloat. I had to pay for daycare over the summer anyway, but lucked out when they offered me a part time option. So, 2-3 days a week, she went to daycare while I went to the gym, had lunch, grocery shopped, organized the house, wrote, cataloged 14 months of photos…basically did whatever I wanted to do. It also kept her on her routine and gave her time with her friends. If B had the day off, we could have a little day date without paying extra for childcare. It worked well for all of us. Her new school offers a similar option, and I plan to take it as well.
One way I could improve this arrangement in 2017 is to be more purposeful in the five days Novella and I are together. I don’t wish a second of her life away, but I am looking forward to time together when she has more interest in activities.
- Switching her to another school. She switched to the toddler room around 14 months old, and we hated every bit of it. It jarred us, for we loved our experience in the infant and baby rooms. Once she entered the toddler room, her personality changed. She was less joyous and easygoing. When we picked her up, she was always sitting and playing alone. 4/5 days she had an accident report, and most of them were for being bitten. I am by no means a helicopter parent, but once I noticed an extremely dangerous safety hazard, brought it to the director’s attention only for it to still be there the next day. Since I am a creature of habit, the decision to change her to a structured school did not come easily, but ultimately it was the best choice for her. We don’t feel as “at home” as the other place, but she has only had one accident report in 4 months. Her verbal abilities have skyrocketed. Best of all, she is simply happier in her environment.
One way I would improve this situation next year is to be more in touch with the teachers in her room. Not that I want to email them every day, but I would like to at least know their names for sure.
- Going back to blonde. Plain and simple, I look better blonde. The only way I can improve that is to go for regular touchups.
- Getaway to Athens. My girlfriend and I have decided on a new tradition: meet somewhere the first weekend in December. Athens, Georgia is probably the South’s best-kept secret. We spent a weekend at The Graduate hotel, and it was nothing short of amazing. Amazing food. Even better company. Shopping was perfect (although I am not much of a shopper since I am trying to get out of debt). Creature Comforts everywhere we went. Live Music at the Foundry. A massage (in which the therapist found a benign tumor on my shoulder, to be documented later). I was getting into a huge funk, and this trip saved my sanity.
One way I could improve this applies more to how I can enjoy this more, and that means letting go of the notion that my best people would think less of me for spending time away from home. It’s simply not true.
- Choosing love. Once I sifted through the ashes of my mishap this year, I found mostly love in the rubble. When I remember this year, I will remember the love. Calling my husband and recounting the situation was the hardest call I’ve made to date. It was met with love. Returning to my students after two weeks invoked anxiety in the pit of my stomach; they met me at the door with cheers and hugs. I received so many calls and messages. All love. I don’t know that I deserved any of it. But I will never forget it.
And so, one way I can continue to improve this is to simply give love, even when it’s not easy.
- Accepting my weight, as is. Ima preface this by saying that I have lost 20, maybe 25 pounds this year. (I never actually weighed at the beginning of the year.) However, at intermission in July, I had my dreaded Well-Being Assessment. During that, I sat in front of a dry, unfriendly man who told me I am obese. Look, I’m a lot of things. But nothing about my appearance screams “obese.” Y’all, I got so upset with this assessment. I’m talking crocodile tears. I called my husband and texted my best friend. I said the same thing to each: “I wish this didn’t matter so much to me.” And so, I decided to not let it mean so much to me. I went to Chipotle and ordered a small burrito and balanced it out with a Dos Equis. I am mooshy. And it’s ok. No one died.
One way I can continue to improve this is to keep at my non-diet diet, and stop looking in the mirror at my inner tube on the daily.
- Bullet journaling I must confess, I had no idea what this was a year ago. I need to make modifications to how I do this, but that’s kind of the beauty of bullet journaling- you are allowed to change your mind, and Lort knows I need that chance often. I love being able to experiment with different lettering/fonts/ handwriting… what the heck do you call it when it’s in your own writing? That alone brings immense joy.
One thing I would do differently is to stop writing out my freaking budget in everything. I am so obsessed with crunching the numbers. I love crunching the numbers, but it doesn’t have to be every other page in my bullet journal. Additionally, I think I should designate some pages purely for ideas and brainstorming. I need a place to streamline my thoughts.
- 4:30 am workouts I’ll admit, these came on during the final months this year, and have since fallen off; I guess I can claim the holidaze? After I had strep, I thought maybe I would try working out to see if it curbed some health problems except I have my kiddo and then a little thing on the side called a full time job. 4:30 is kind of a terrible time to do anything, but I gave it a try and just like aforementioned things, I didn’t die.
One way I can make this better next year is to getbacktoit and stickwithit.
2016 was not kind to me, but I am an eternal believer in leaning closer to optimism. Call me an idealist, but I believe 2017 is going to be way better. Way better. More on my goals, soon!