Welcome 2014. I think New Year’s is a bit overrated, probably because I hate staying up past 10:00. Still, I truly enjoy the feeling of a fresh start. It’s a comforting feeling, especially after a rough year.
I’ve moved away from doing New Year’s resolutions and yet I always feel the urge to do something so I was delighted to stumble across two alternatives this year. The first was an article by Kelly McGonigal, a scientist who studies willpower and happiness. Her research indicates that it’s beneficial to both your happiness and your willpower to spend some time looking back. We should savor our memories of good times and also remind ourselves of the strengths we showed in past hard times.
One of her suggested exercises was to “list your favorite memories and triumphs of 2013, including the challenges you faced with courage or humor (even if things didn’t turn out the way you hoped).” I was glad she included that extra nudge because 2013 was a very tough year for me and I initially had trouble finding anything positive. My daughter was stillborn and it was devastating. My grandfather passed away shortly after, as if to remind me that things can always get worse. It would be easy to write off last year as one to be forgotten.
But there were good memories too, and even during the worst times I discovered strength I didn’t know I possessed. It felt empowering to write it all down and to focus on the positive. I also enjoyed writing a letter from my future self thanking my present self for working hard in 2014. My visions of the future are still a bit fuzzy but I can imagine looking back on 2014 with satisfaction.
Of course, I do love setting goals and feeling purposeful so I also spent some time with Mark Manson’s Life Purpose Guide. It’s a short series of writing exercises that he suggests doing once a year to remind yourself of where you’re heading and how to get there. While I can’t say it gave me that light-shining-down-from-heaven LIFE PURPOSE, I feel good about the direction I’m heading and the things I hope to achieve this year. I (still) want to have a baby. I want to move into a new home that will allow Will and I to minimize use of our car. I want to be trained as a life coach. I want to spend more time cooking (with the hope that I will get better with practice). I want to return to blogging about green living.
If I were to pick one word as my theme for 2014 it would be “nesting.” I’m gathering bits and pieces to make my home and my career cozy and supportive. I’m settling in and embracing who I am. I’m continuing to grow and to accept that I can only control my own actions. I’m living green and exploring life’s possibilities with Will.
And I’m writing again. It’s good to be back.