Sunday, January 6, 2019

The Gift I'm Giving Myself

Photo by Crazy nana on Unsplash
I started writing this post about two weeks ago in the thick of the Christmas holiday. The season seemed to come and go so quickly this year. I don't know if it's because I'm living during daylight hours again after several Christmases of struggling to stay awake, or simply because it's just one of those years when time flies.

Either way, it's all over now. I packed away my Christmas tree, stockings and all the knickknacks scattered around the house. The season of driving past house windows lit with warm twinkling lights is finished for another year.

This is the first time I've put the tree in the window for passersby to see!
I didn't publish the post earlier because I was caught up in the whirlwind of the holidays, and I knew I wanted to devote some serious time to my resolutions this year.

It's no secret that New Year's Day is my favorite holiday, even behind Christmas. I get swept up in the dreamy idea of a fresh start. It's an extremely satisfying feeling for me, whimsical and hopeful. All the ups and downs of 2018 are over and it's time to look ahead to all the possibilities and potential of 2019.

I know each day is a chance to start over, but not every day stands on ceremony quite like January 1. The fireworks and pageantry of midnight, and the quiet stillness that comes the next morning. It's in the air. The newness of it all. Another trip around the sun.

Every year I make many of the same promises to myself: exercise more, eat right, save more. Sometimes my resolutions don't get much more profound. This year, though, I want to be more mindful of these little life contracts.

Photo by Lesly Juarez on Unsplash

So in 2019, my resolution is really more of a gift to myself: better use of my time.

It's a pretty vague resolution, I know, but I do have a small road map of things I want to accomplish this year that ultimately do just that: make better use of my time than sitting around thinking about all the things I want to accomplish.

Topping my list: more road trips.

I scroll through Instagram often, liking other people's pics of far away places, sunsets and vistas. And I think, I have so much of this within half a day's drive of my own front door. But I never make the plan, get in the car and go.  It's sort of a lofty goal, but I am making a sincere effort to get out of town once a month. That's twelve trips. Nothing high dollar, just exploring.

Great Smoky Mountains 2018

Second: improve my photography.

I have actually referred to myself as an amateur photographer once or twice, and I cringe inside, thinking that title is quite an over-sell. I love photography, and can't imagine a better use of my time than working to get better at something I love. My goal is to get into the habit of bringing my fancy camera everywhere I go because taking pictures brings me joy.

Indigo Bunting

Third: Get involved in things that inspire and excite me.

Like many people over the past couple of years, I found myself wondering, "what can I do to make a difference?" I was fortunate to make several new friends in 2018 who inspire me with the ways they touch other people's lives. I aspire to be as committed as they are, and hope to find opportunities to give more of my time to important causes this year.

Photo by Nathan Lemon on Unsplash

Finally, I vow to write more.

I have been challenged by a friend to blog at least once a week. This is a perfectly reasonable goal. I make no excuses for lagging behind in the posting department. I have good intentions, and with the opportunity to publicly commit to doing better... here I am.

And there they are. The dreams I have for myself in 2019, inspired by life, family, friends and fantastic Instagram posts.

Finding better ways to spend my time in 2019 does not mean each day will be a victory. Some days call for a couch and Law & Order. Other days demand time in the sun. There will be plenty of chances for me to succeed, and just as many to fail.

Bonus resolution: practice self-forgiveness.

It took my a very long time to submit to the idea that goals, people and plans can all change. I used to have the mindset that once I went public with a declaration or sentiment, that was it. To later admit to a differing opinion required backstory, explanation, and some sort of mea culpa.

I'm learning that I am allowed to pivot. I'm learning that some things require no explanation. I'm learning that just because I laid out intentions and goals for myself on January 6, 2018, I do not have to remain committed to ideas or plans that just don't work for me anymore. And that's okay for resolutions and the rest of life stuff, too.

As for my list.. I'll keep you posted.

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