2019 Focus

For last year’s resolution, I was filled with “big ideas” encompassed by TRYING. Some of them were successful; others need work and are still on my focus list for 2019. And, speaking of “focus”, that might just be my word for the new year; FOCUS. Focus, mindfulness, awareness. Whatever it’s called, it’s a positive driving force for the new year.

It’s not to say that 2018 was a complete disaster; far from it. Sitting on the edge of my son’s bed as we discussed the past year and what’s to come, he showed concern and his trademark anxiousness that “last year couldn’t have been better, how can 2019 beat it?” And I totally get that.

Like many of us who read the headlines and take an emotional beating from them everyday, it’s hard to separate the outward realities from our personal experiences. However, sometimes for the sake of self preservation, the overall struggles of being the person your children need you to be, and a pure need to “keep calm and carry on”, it’s necessary. So, when I’m able to ignore the shadow cast upon it all, our 2018 was amazing.

We had challenges that showed us how strong we are and the fact that we can show up when necessary. My husband, the baby, and I all dealt with huge dietary changes and, while it hasn’t really gotten easier, we’re still going strong. Things could have been so much worse (and, admittedly, I’m trying not to have that feeling of impending doom that the other shoe will drop).

We also had to allow ourselves some leeway in the fact that we HAVE THREE KIDS. Big house jobs fell to the wayside and some days survival was the ultimate goal. I have a slew of outdated blog posts sitting in my Google Drive that will never see the light of day. Other days, we prioritized and did “enough” to fill our buckets and give joyful memories to the whole family. It was a year that we teeter-tottered and allowed ourselves wins and grace-filled non-failures – because, as always, our objective was the kids. I’m pretty sure we were successful in that, at least.

So, what it all boils down to in 2019 is a focus on mindfulness and lessening the static through simplifying. Doing what needs to get done with a solid sense of purpose but letting the unwanted or unnecessary fall guilt-free to the wayside. Continuing on a path of self care – with a healthy dose of daily discomfort heaped in for good health (which I actually did pretty well at achieving last year). Purging, purging, purging in ways both physical and mental. We already started on our journey last year but I definitely need more FOCUS, and here are some ways I’m hoping to achieve it:

2019 Focus - image psychology-2422442_1280-300x300 on https://megactsout.com

One thing at a time. Sharing…but not sharing too much. While there are times that we simply have to multitask, I have read that the human mind simply isn’t meant to work at its best capacity when stretched in several different directions. I can hardly finish a single book because I have so many started. I don’t feel like conversations are conversations, but merely punctuation marks between social media check-ins and kid interruptions (okay, so THAT won’t be changing, but the other stuff can). For example, social media is a wonderful thing, but we’ve noticed (as have countless others) that the negatives far outweigh the positives. Anxiety, time sucked away from loved ones, a poor use of time, and just all the hatred and negativity. The list goes on. If it’s not improving our lives, there’s no reason for it.

Dave and I will most likely be trying a social media blackout at some point (which is harder for him since he needs to access it for work, but as a nursing mom, social media is my much needed escape when nursing or pumping), but overall plan on just setting some guidelines about when/how much we’ll check in, and how much we’ll be exposing the kids without their say-so.

Overall, the goal is to simplify. One book at a time. One screen at a time. One conversation at a time. One task on my to-do list at a time. Bam.   

Making the house a home with a place for everything. I’m hoping to get back to a modified Konmari method of purging in order to truly touch everything in the house. That’s. A lot. Of. Crap. I’ve heard that simplifying in this way allows us more mental and physical energy to for other activities and areas of focus. The fact that we’ll have fewer things to care for (to wash, fold, and put away or to give us mental static or to subconsciously stress us out) will hopefully lighten our mental loads.

And at the same time, since I feel like some of our household duties fell to the wayside with a needy infant around in the past year, I’m kind of chomping at the bit to pay more attention to our outside space and finish up a couple of indoor spaces that are in dire need. In other words, starting to putter more and make a concerted effort to paint our room, work on the basement, focus on our gardens, and buy a shed.

Last year, I hoped to achieve one big thing a month. It clearly backfired. This year, I’m reworking the list, analyzing what we actually need/want to do and WHEN would be a good time for each job (say, inside makeovers in the winter and outside work in the summer…duh, Meg) then assigning it a time.

Journaling. I originally didn’t plan on starting this immediately since I had hoped to pick out a journal with daily focus (I’m not always great at just jotting down the goings-on each day), but because we’re starting the year off with a “No-Spend January,” I found a perfectly beautiful and totally unused notebook to start jotting down thoughts here and there. I think there’s more of a self awareness when you journal. And, of course, you (and your relatives) can look back at that specific snapshot of time in your life in a very unique way. Just love it and the intentions within it.

Seeking energy. I hate to use the word “exercise”, but I definitely know I need to get more active in order to find more energy. I’ve become motivated by an influencer I love who suggests simply finding ONE active activity to do that brings joy. If you like walking, walk. If you like running, run. If you like dancing, dance. Then do it more. Before you know it, you’re motivated enough to seek other, more structured ways to get that adrenaline high.

So, between dance nights and a goal to get outside more with the kids, I’m hoping that a general “getting active” (and the use of my new Fitbit) will help boost my energy. Oh, and speaking of those fun times with the kids, we want to start…

Making family time a priority. We already have a family movie night date each week (that floats from Friday to Saturday or even Sunday, depending on the schedule), but we’ve told the kids we hope to start a family game night. Then, what does our oldest come up with? A DAILY schedule of things to do. Batman night. Monkees night. Screen-free night. I mean, it’s incredibly well-thought out.

While I don’t know if we’ll necessarily be able to do them all every day so structured, the idea is awesome…and a little tiring. But, I think that the investment of time in family is the best investment we can make. Oh, and we have a couple of family resolutions involving swim and dance classes, so we’ll see how that all pans out.

Continue on the path to self care (and daily discomforts). As I mentioned earlier, I chose to include self care and continue on my #dailydiscomforts sharing (I didn’t share them daily, but whether big or small, they were there). Sometimes the daily discomforts find you in challenges at work or at home that pop up and need you to face head-on; other times we seek them out by doing a social activity that might be good for us (rather than hunkering down at home) or cleaning something we’d rather not be cleaning. Things like that.

I like the thought that, as a friend and I were recently discussing, life isn’t meant to be perfect harmony and happiness every second of everyday. To have a little discourse added to your day helps you to appreciate the good and become better able to deal with the not-so-good.

And just for fun, here are the kids’ intentions, either as they’ve explained to us or simply as goals that we’ve set forth for us to achieve with them:

Hadman – His resolution is threefold: to learn how to swim, make it across the monkey bars, and treat his sisters more thoughtfully. The swimming thing gives us both anxiety but I greatly admire his focus.

HQ – She says she’s “looking forward to trying new things.” I can’t wait to see what 2019 brings for our smart, forward-thinking sweetie. She’s very interested in trying ballet, and we also plan on potty training.

Squish – I assume she’ll continue on her fabulous, full-steam-ahead path in her constant quest to keep up with the big kids. She’s a fun-seeking missile. That said…girl has got to get on a better sleep schedule.

I’d love to hear what your intentions are for the year. If you don’t set resolutions or goals, how do you assess what areas you need to work on? Let’s chat in the comments!

New Year’s Collage

2019 Focus - image  on https://megactsout.com

Well, today’s December 30th, and you know what that means: I’m typing this with a cat sitting on my hand, making it a pretty challenging task. No, that’s not really what 12/30/10 means, but I’m not so used to having a a) lightweight cat who b) gets all up in mah biznit. Sure, a hefty kitty who, from time to time, plants his tuchus on the warm, fun texture that is my laptop, but it’s not usually while I type a blog. Although, on occasion, he has left messages for us – one including the use of the word “jews,” which made us concerned that we had a former Nazi living inside our sweet little kitty.

But, I digress. What today REALLY means is that we turn our thoughts to the New Year (seriously, does it need to be capitalized? I can understand the holiday, New Year’s Eve, but…y’know what? This is my blog, I’m not capitalizing it…so, nyah)…new year, and all that it represents.

So, today, as we enjoyed a surprise lunch at our favorite local dive, I made a suggestion to Dave. While writing down one’s resolutions is all fine and good (and highly recommended if you intend to, in fact, KEEP said resolution), I had come up with a way to invest ourselves into the resolutions while hopefully ingraining them into our psyches more and actually making our selections matter. I suggested a collage.

Okay, okay. Collages may seem like art projects that we were assigned when the art teacher no longer had any viable lesson options and an over-abundance of magazines cluttering their art room. But, I’m a huge fan of collages. Collage art can be freakin’ awesome, and the concept of combining seemingly irrelevant images to represent a whole concept – simply put, cool.

I’m also aware that, while Dave and I have a good mind of what each other is resolving for 2011 (it’s gonna be a big year…*gulp* I hope), we’re holding our cards pretty close to our chests, in general. And, as I said, making them even 2-D, either by writing them down or, heck, creating a crazy collage (or even a simple one) is one step closer to making them breathe and obtain true life.

The unique thing about making a collage is that YOU know what you mean to represent by your choices in it, but perhaps not everyone would “get it.” This way, we can include whatever we want, regardless of any judgment people would place on it – because it’s hard to judge someone’s resolution when it’s unworded art. Eh? See? Clever. Ish.

The other reason that I came up with a collage is that if it comes out to be a neat art piece, there we go! I’d like to add more art to our walls, but making sure that it’s art that means something to us. We have a cluster of pictures with mismatched frames adorning the wall leading up our stairway that brings back memories every time we walk by it. It’d be nice to have something to look at that not only reminds us of our 2011 goals, but that we created together. The collage would also act as a bit of a nag — “Hey. How’s that ‘getting out to walk more’ going for you? I thought so. Get off your hiney.”

We hope your new year is all the good things and none of the sucky things that made 2010 what it was. Was it kind of a crappy year for anyone else? We’re happy about, y’know, getting married, acquiring 2 cats, etc, but c’mon. Kinda. Not. Great. Otherwise. Hate to complain, but feel free to use the comment section to vent — or to share any 2011 resolutions!