I’ve read a number of blog posts in the last week where the writers have chosen a word as a theme for 2015 rather than list resolutions.
I like this idea. I’m not great on following through with resolutions, and as I told my sister last week, the only real goal I have this year is to keep my head above water. No complicated swimming strokes here; the doggie paddle will do just fine to get me through the year. Think of your aunts years ago, kicking just enough to keep their heads up and their hair dry. That’s me, this year.
Treading water isn’t necessarily a particularly noteworthy or envy-inspiring goal, but let’s be honest, folks. I’ve got a two-month-old and a 2-year-old and I go back to work in a little less than two months. If I make it out of the house wearing two matching shoes most days this year, I’ll consider it a victory.
But there’s still room within that oh-so-lofty goal for improvement. So, since “keeping my head above water” doesn’t have much of a ring to it for a theme for the year, I’m choosing “present” as my word for 2015.
Present, as in living in the moment. Last year, I found inspiration from Rachel Macy Stafford of Hands Free Mama. Once and for all, I was going to put down my phone and pay more attention to what was happening in front of my face, and not on the screen. And I did do better with it, for a while — at least as it came to my time with Teddy. I never did get much better when it came to better respecting my time with B, and I’ve backslid during maternity leave to the point that I find myself checking my phone all the time out of habit. I don’t think that I’m ever really going to drop the phone entirely, so it’s unrealistic to say that’s what I’m working toward, but I would like to do a better job of really living in the moment with my family. Well, other than during 3 a.m. nursing sessions, because then all bets are off. Then, the multitude of Buzzfeed quizzes really are necessary.
Present, as in being grateful for today. It’s so tempting, here in the trenches of baby nursing and middle-of-the-night wakings and potty training and tantrums, to wish these days away, to think about skipping past them to a day where the grass is greener, the diapers are fewer, the sleep is longer and less interrupted. Except those days have a funny way of never arriving. Sure, one day we’ll sleep through the night again, and we’ll happily buy the last package of diapers EVER. But those days will come with their own challenges, challenges I’m not ready to think about yet. And it turns out that these days come with lots of good stuff, too, if I open my eyes to it. I’d like to get back to practicing gratitude this year, to help keep me focused on that good stuff — the smiles shared between Teddy and Katie, clean bills of health, not taking the metro until March — so that the spit up- and poop-stained clothes don’t take me down with them.
Present, as in giving myself the permission not to focus on what needs doing tomorrow, next week, next month, next year. Part of living in the present moment is finding a way to dampen the anxiety that I often feel about things that loom on the horizon. All too often I let that anxiety steal my happiness of the current moment. Teddy starts preschool later this year, a process that in D.C. could easily dominate most months between now and then, if I let it. The challenge for me will be finding the sweet spot between feeling confident that we’ve found the right school for him and not losing myself down the preschool research rabbit hole — or letting the water go over my head.
Have you made resolutions for this year? What words or themes do you hope to live in 2015?