Welcome 2013 -- I have looked forward to meeting you for quite some time!
While last year was an emotional roller coaster - which prompted the early anticipation of a new year around June - I am not naive enough to think that 2013 will be smooth sailing. I guess that comes from living more than 50 years: I have learned that life is cyclical and there will always be ups as well as downs - joys as well as sorrows - conflicts as well as resolutions. But I am also learning that I cannot expect my inner joy to rely solely on outward circumstances, for that only results in frustration.
Last year I tried to informally participate in Ali Edward's One Little Word project. That is, select one word to guide my thoughts and actions throughout the year. I selected the word BALANCE because I felt that my "all work and no play" mentality for the past decade had eroded my ability to have fun. While the word served me well, I soon came to realize that it was an unattainable goal. As mentioned above, life is cyclical and the notion of finding balance every day is nearly impossible --- some days demand more time and energy spent on work while other days demand more time and energy spent on relationships. I do think I learned to add more playtime to my life in 2012, but I did not find that deep inner joy that I craved.
In pondering this connection between chaotic life and inner joy I came to realize that my true goal for 2013 is PEACE. And in coordinating this one word with possible New Year's resolutions, I have decided to eliminate that "R" word from my vocabulary. Resolutions set me up for failure - for I tend to be an all-or-nothing mentality. One slip and I am doomed. So I will choose to adopt the phrase New Year's modifications: slight realignments in my current lifestyle that will help me focus on bringing inner peace to my sometimes hectic and frustrating life.
PEACE will guide my eating choices, for what I put in my body will affect my physical being. As Florinda posted on her blog today, I want to eat more fruits and vegetables, less sugar and refined food, and drink more water. I refuse to put any quantifiable numbers to this list, for that is where the fear of failure enters the picture. Rather, just make more conscious decisions about what I eat because I want to maintain a healthy body to accomplish all my bucket list items (which continues to grow with each passing day).
PEACE will guide my exercise choices, for my bucket list involves a lot of travel and I need a fit body to accomplish all these meaningful goals. The word exercise, however, has always had negative connotations for me and as a result, I am never motivated to truly embrace its role in my life. So again, I will borrow from Florinda and say that I plan to sit less and move more. That is easy enough - and knowing that the ultimate goal is not to complete a certain workout regimen but simply to become fit for traveling adventures will help keep me focused.
PEACE will guide my time management choices, for I know that work AND play are both integral components of life. I have developed a good morning routine, complete with writing morning pages and maintaining spiritual devotions, and I have learned to compartmentalize my teaching life between the hours of 7:30AM and 4:30PM. I now need to focus on developing a good evening routine that provides time to spend with family and friends (for I am learning that even an extreme introvert such as myself cannot live alone all the time) ... as well as time to pursue outside interests such as photography, reading/writing, and paper crafts.
Along these lines, PEACE will also help me to live in the moment - to find beauty in the ordinary - and to embrace the now. Yes, I can always learn from the past, but I do not need to dwell on it. And yes, I can prepare for the future, but I do not need to worry. Today should my focus in living a full life.
And finally, PEACE will guide my financial choices, for I know that impulsive purchases only provide temporary happiness, and true long-term joy comes from debt-free living. We have spent the past two years making up for lost time. The much-needed home repairs had come to a critical point and since we had officially become empty-nesters, the timing seemed right. However, new windows, new siding, and new decorated rooms (a beach room - a Paris room - and a Tuscan kitchen) have taken their toll. So while I have great aspirations of travel and photography and crafts..... I know that peace will be found in delayed gratification and finding contentment in possessions already owned.
PEACE. SERENITY. JOY. It is the desire of my heart - and worthy of my attention in 2013.
I wish each and every one of you PEACE in this new year.