Ah, New Years! Even the most jaded, like yours truly, can’t escape the magic of this day. Sure, just because the year ended it doesn’t mean that things will be different as soon as the ball drops in Times Square or the fireworks erupt in Copacabana. But the energy surrounding the festivities can spur people into action. So why not harness some of that energy and use this time to reflect on the past year and plan for the next?
In thinking about a theme for the coming year, the first word that came to mind was ‘shine’. Perhaps it was because I had just bought a shiny dress for New Years Eve, but the word really did resonate with me. We all have something to work on that can help us become the better, more fulfilled version of ourselves. Looking back at 2016, I noticed that I had dulled myself. I dulled my senses, my fashion style, my faith, my intellect. It was an insidious process. A combination of my desire to be Supermom and amazing wife, the FOMO (fear of missing out) I’ve experienced most of my life, and just good old poor planning. The excuse that I was putting others first is not a good one. After all, when you have more, you can give more.
So while there is no dress or jewel that can match inner sparkle, I will fake it till I make it! And yes, I am setting New Years resolutions, even if deep down I know I will abandon them by the time my birthday is here. Taking a cue from Marie Kondo, who wrote this best-selling book about decluttering, and suggests that people go through their homes and ask if the objects they own bring them joy, I will approach activities and objects with the question: “does it add light to my life”? “Does it make me shine”?” For example, singing in the choir last year added so much joy and light to my life. That is, when I was actually singing. But being a part of the choir meant more than sitting by the altar and singing during Mass. It meant weekly rehearsals, special Masses that I would not normally attend, and even the occasional choir party. All that, in addition to my already busy life was just draining. So I decided to stop for the time being. Instead I will join a bible study class that meets when my kids are at school.
So here are some of my resolutions for 2017
Health and Well-being
I love food and have a voracious appetite. I am not a fan of junk food, but if I’m hungry and have not planned properly I’ll stop at a certain burger joint or get pizza for lunch almost every day. On afternoons, I’ll stuff my face with cookies if I don’t have healthy snacks that I like on hand. I would eat cookies anyway, but not as many. Then at night I’ll end up cooking something healthy, but so boring that I will not get much joy out of the meal. So a couple of days ago I took some time and carefully planned meals for the week. I’m on day 3 and keeping with the schedule!
I started working out again a few months ago. My goals are very modest. I have set aside time to exercise twice a week. That’s it. Something I know I can sustain in the long run. If I happen to be a bit more inspired on some weeks great. If not, I’m happy If I meet my goal.
And most importantly, I am committing to being more present and slowing down. My kids are growing so fast! I want to notice all the barely perceptible changes they go through and enjoy our precious time together. To help me be more present I will pray and meditate more.
There was a time in my life when my apartment was buzzing with activity. Friends would stop by and we would cook together. I used to go out a lot too. I will make a point to meet with friends and talk to them face-to-face. If geography does not allow for that, I’ll make a point to call them instead of relying on social media stay in touch.
Now that I am done with pregnancies, and almost done breastfeeding I can wear whatever I want. I seriously will not wear a shirt dress for the next five years. Except for a super cute one I just bought. I have a lot of clothes, but often times I can’t find the ones I want in the morning. Not when I have kids pulling me and saying “I wan’ eat”. So my answer is choosing the outfits the night before.
Wear lipstick! I’m too lazy to wear makeup on a regular basis. Lipstick is a quick way to make me look like I care.
Read more! Be politically engaged.
No more sales. That’s right, I am not buying things on sale. Unless I specifically sought something out and it so happened to be on sale. Whatever amount I save when purchasing a sale item, I end up spending on something else. And sales prompt me to buy mediocre items that I would not pay full price for. Also, try to be organized when it comes to accounting.
I am hopeful that these changes will increase the flow of light into my life, then out into the world, allowing me to shine as brightly as I was meant to. And to help, I will continue to wear sparkly clothes way past the holiday season.
What about you? What are some of the things that make you shine?