Tuesday, January 3, 2012

They Say It's A New Year

I so need to blog about our fantabulous Christmas, but a friend of mine [if I were more tech-savvy I would hyperlink that to her blog but I'm not tech-savvy] just blogged about some of the things she learned in 2011. I loved the post and thought I'd do the same here while my thoughts are fresh.

So, here I go:

(1) I came to a deeper understanding of the importance of gratitude. I am really starting to see that it is our attitude about our circumstances much more than our circumstances themselves that determines our happiness. We hear this so much that it might seem trite, but it's so profound and so true. In many ways, my 2010 and 2011 were mirror images of each other. I was home with a baby on maternity leave for the first half of 2010 and worked the second half, and then I worked the first half of 2011 and was home on maternity leave the second half. There were a lot of similarities in the years. A lot of the things that were challenges in 2010 were still challenges in 2011. But 2010 was a much harder year for me. And I think a lot of that was because when I was having a hard time in 2010, I started working on my attitude and focusing on the good, appreciating what I had, and living in the present, instead of focusing on what I didn't have and worrying about the future. That shift made 2011 a really happy year.

(2) I don't need to let the fact that I can't do something perfectly prevent me from doing it at all. So often I am paralyzed from action because I over-analyze and want to do the very best possible thing and can never settle on what that "best" option is (or even if I figure out what's best, it's totally not within my ability to do). For example, I spend so much time analyzing and stressing over the "BEST" possible work-out or the "MOST HEALTHY" possible diet or the "PERFECT" way of journaling for myself and my kids that I just don't even do it at all. I'm trying to let go of that and to just know that doing SOMETHING is better than doing NOTHING. A specific example is that for a long time I have wanted to do a better job of documenting my kids' milestones and funny/cute things they do and say. I have a lot of these things in scattered places but not in any one place because I couldn't decide on the PERFECT way to keep track of these things. Well, I dumped it all into word documents for each of the kids and am going to try to keep those updated. Is it fancy or beautiful? No. But will my kids appreciate having at least some sort of record of their childhoods, however shabby, over having nothing? Of course!

(3) Related to (2), I don't need to let the fact that I have failed to do something in the past prevent me from doing it now. This applies to a lot of the same types of things I talked about in (2): Just because I have never consistently exercised in 30 years doesn't mean I can't start now. Just because I haven't done the greatest job of keeping a consistent journal for myself and of my kids' milestones and what have you doesn't mean I can't start now. I'm sure my kids would rather have at least some documentation - even if they are some time gaps - than none. It is never too late to make positive changes.

This New Year I'm thinking a lot about something I try to remind the girls I teach in church: We don't have to be what we've always been. If we want to be better, we can be better. We don't need to let our old mistakes weigh us down. As Florence + the Machine says (in a song that is all about letting go of our past and re-starting and is my mantra for the year and is amazing and makes me cry and you should listen to it), "It's hard to dance with the devil on your back - so shake him off!"

I'm planning on doing some shaking this year.

4 comments:

Journal said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dev and Laur said...

This is a really beautiful post Erin. Can't wait for Todd's post! :)

Nations said...

Amen! Well said, some great insights. Definitely steps toward the U.T. Good luck staying positive, documenting moments when you can, and NOT achieving perfection. Call me if you ever want to feel better about not being perfect, sometimes contrast helps :).

Mama White said...

I will forever cherish the memory of you dancing your heart out to Flo + the Machine--one of the highlights of Christmas! I love you!