Each year I welcome the holidays with childlike wonder, soaking up the hope and patience that come to visit. Less than a month later I stow the decorations and vacuum the pine needles in a frenzy to reclaim order. Usually the cleaning blitz extends beyond the decorations as I scour the fridge and go through closets. I know I’m not alone as I watch headlines crop up with tips for a cleaner, healthier, cheaper New Year.
Lose weight. Let go of baggage. Meditate.
Everyone dives in and I think: Maybe I can make a pledge to reform some part of myself. Then the next wave of articles hit with people consumed by having fallen off the fitness wagon or finding dinner as a family 5 nights a week just wasn’t in the cards. The near-certain failure that New Year’s resolution lists risk isn’t something that I need.
One look in the room Finley and Avery share and I am reminded of so many things I’ve had on my list of things to improve.
We were going to make our beds each morning.
Put dirty clothes in the hamper and carry it downstairs once a week.
I was going to vacuum the carpet more often and match all the socks.
Then I see the space on the chalkboard wall, I was going to write more notes.
There’s a care package to send to Liv in thanks for our beloved Squirrelty.
Then I see the rainbow on the floor from the prism Sean hung in the window.
The truth is we have been making the beds more often than we used to. We’ve had more slumber parties too, which is why the extra mattress is on the floor. The unmade bed reminds me that I said yes. A theme over these 9+ years of parenting and blogging has been to say yes more, but no matter how hard I try, I rarely give myself credit for having said it.
The thing that bothers me about resolutions is that they don’t mean much. Coming as they do at this one time of year, I question who they are really intended to benefit. Maybe rather than making resolutions we should resolve to mean it.
Don’t modify what you eat or how you dress; don’t swear off one kind of shopping or revamp how you parent.
Just mean it.
When you say sorry do you mean it, or is it a reflex? I say that I’m sorry so much it’s really more like an umm than a sentiment. I want my words to match what I really think and feel.
When I say that I ought to go to bed earlier or unplug more often, I want to mean it. It doesn’t have to change how I live for the rest of the year or mean that I failed. Resolving to mean it gives me the power to follow through on what I say, because if I don’t mean it or don’t intend to do it, then I just shouldn’t say it.
Sometimes being the mom I want to be means that making the bed right before we turn in for the night is ok. It also means that I say no to the triple chocolate stripe cookies in the plastic bag because amid the yeses I offer, the nos are just as important.
This year I do want to try meditation, but with 365 days during which to do it, I don’t want to call myself a failure on day 31 if I haven’t tried it yet.
2014 will be another precious year in my life, not a list. So if dinner is late or a little dry because I decided to stay unexpectedly put, so be it.
Tagged: acceptance, forgiveness, life
It’s funny because I just finished my own blog post (for tomorrow) and I ended up going in the direction of reflection, rather than resolution. I am not a huge fan of empty resolutions either, I now realize. Many failed attempts can attest to that. So when you suggest instead to “mean it”, THAT makes sense. That’s really what it all boils down to at this time of year, if we choose to make some changes. I love thinking about it like that instead. I have only been reading your blog for a little while now (though I’ve followed you on Twitter for even longer), but I’m glad that I found it. I resolve to read it much more in 2014–and I mean it! 🙂
Well that’s an awesome comment. I’ll keep meaning what I write 😉
I am a strong advocate of mean what you say and I abide by it pretty well. Only problems are the things I say to myself, in my own head. I tell myself I’m going to do something or start something or stop something and sometimes I don’t really mean it, or at least don’t follow through. It’s like if I don’t say it out loud then it doesn’t count. But it does. It does count.
And you count. xo
Here’s to you, and your friendship, and how knowing you strengthens my resolve. xo Much love to you, friend.
Love you too, Alexandra. And I loved riding through the tunnel of lights with you and your boys. Best unintentional comedy video ever!
much love and happy new year xoxxo
this was lovely
Wishing you and your family the happiest New Year! Your blog has been a wonderful discovery in 2013. And I love the above post. Love the thought of not calling ourselves failures if we haven’t done everything we set out to do by the 31st. That is liberating!
I also whole-heartedly agree on the notion of “meaning it” instead of lofty resolutions that set us up for failure from the outset. Been pondering authenticity lately, so this post gave me food for thought. Looking forward to keep reading in 2014!
Can’t tell you how moving and meaningful this was to me. Thank you, and amen to it all.
You are so right, we need to mean it..all of it. We need to give ourselves permission to live without having to keep up with some crazy list. We need to live life on our own terms and be good people and mean it all. I love this. Happiest of New Year! Here is to a meaningful 2014!