You thought I wasn’t going to have a reflective 2016 end of the year post huh? You thought you survived having to read through all my lessons of this last year? OF COURSE NOT. I’ve just been on staycation mode since the 23rd (really it started that last week of work but I still had things I actually had to do). Anyways, I’ve had a full week of relaxing and not thinking too hard and of course that makes me reflect about everything, and since it’s the beginning of the new year it’s natural to reflect on everything from this past year, what worked and what didn’t. So in New Year tradition below is a countdown of the lessons I’ve learned in 2016
5. Getting done up and wearing brighter clothes really does make you feel better
It sounds hokey I know. It was one of those things my mom told me all the time that I didn’t believe. I would avoid getting done up and most of my closet had slowly turned black but this year I pushed myself out of that. I bought clothes I was excited to wear, I woke up excited each morning to see what new combination of clothes, hair, makeup and jewelry I could come up with. It sounds very vain, I know. But if wearing pink pants makes me feel better and that makes me 30 times less likely to snap at you than I think the vanity is a fair price to pay.
4. You can start pretending you’re in festive mode to make birthdays/holidays/vacations magical and end up actually feeling the magic
Not gonna lie. There were plenty times I maybe wasn’t into a celebration 100%. But I got over myself and tried to find ways to make it fun for the kids and that included cutting out the cynic tone and the sharp tongue. And what always started out as a false feeling always turned into true magic. Remembering that it was for the kids and not whether I actually felt happy ended up making the day kind of magical after all.
3. Excuses there are plenty but time is an illusion so stop saying you don’t have enough of it
2016 was about getting mentally and physically fit. I started going to therapy, years overdue. I went to the gym consistently, I got a personal trainer. I consistently started reading books for fun. I started volunteering for causes I cared about again. I finally made time to visit and meet up with friends who I hadn’t seen in years. I started putting in the work so that I could take some risks that my ego was too fragile to take before. My excuse was always I didn’t have time to meet with friends, or read, or write, or volunteer, or work out, etc etc etc. The reality was that together it seemed overwhelming to participate in everything, but each activity individually didn’t take up much time at all. And spread out throughout the year it seemed totally doable. I didn’t have any huge victories this year but I had hundreds of small personal victories that I needed to be able to move forward with my life.
2. We teach kids to play outside more and watch less TV only so that they can grow up to work inside a cubicle and stare at a screen for 8+ hours every day
This is less of a lesson and more of an observation. I see the talent behind my son’s round brown eyes and I don’t want to see it go wasted. So this year even though it meant getting up early on Saturday mornings to take him to swim lessons, or get into a festive spirit when I wasn’t feeling it so he could go on a pony ride, or playing outside with him when there was snow on the ground (even though I’m pretty much in hibernation mode once the first snowfall comes) I was making sure I was engaging his body as much as his brain so that the opportunities he has when he gets older are richer and more satisfying than the ones I had.
1.Say what’s on your heart:
I learned this year what happens when you keep to yourself for fear of rocking the boat….nothing. How many times did I say my peace only to learn that had I said it when the time called for, circumstances could have been very different for better or worst. Sometimes timing is everything for why something works out and if you hold your tongue to say what’s on your heart it may be too late when you finally get around to it. This is true about apologizing for trespasses, telling someone you like them, sticking up for yourself and following your dreams.
So after a year of some hard learned lessons I’m ready to tackle 2017