Saturday, 27 December 2014

2014: final inventory

Every year I like to set some intentions for myself in the coming year. Sometimes it is a goal to achieve, a mantra to remember, or an overall feeling to embrace. I hesitate to call them resolutions, because those are for breaking. Also, I don't necessarily want to go about it in the "set S.M.A.R.T. goals" mentality. I just want to have a mindset of improvement, exploration, and fun.

At the end of the year, I like to take inventory of how those intentions worked in my life, and where I stand with them. This helps me to decide what areas to work on for the upcoming year. 

Read more
Inspired by my cousin in 2013, I had set a goal to read 24 books that year. I met that goal, but finished my last book right at the deadline. For 2014, I wanted to match or exceed that goal. I read 33 books, including audiobooks, which I listen to while sewing, knitting, and doing chores. In 2015, I would like to exceed that number, but I can see it being difficult.  I did have a good three months off this year to get some aggressive reading done!  As long as I read 24 or more, I will not be disappointed.  

Do less (so I can do more)
I found that I was often taking on more than I could handle, and I ended up feeling too busy and overwhelmed, which resulted in no time to do the things that matter most to me. In 2014, I wanted to free myself from the hustle and bustle of a busy life. I wanted to restrict how much I volunteer to take on extra tasks, allow myself to say no to attending events I am not truly interested in, and stop feeling obliged or guilty to make plans. I also cut back my work schedule from 5 days a week to 4 days. 

This change has been enormous for me. So often, I would feel frantic and overwhelmed trying to fit everything in, and now I feel that much less. I was unhappy having a messy house, eating more convenience foods, and not having much time for true leisure. That extra day off a week has helped so much, my house is tidy and therefore more peaceful and comfortable to me. My husband and I eat better because I take the time to plan and shop for healthy meals. I have more time to enjoy creating and reading and loving. And giving myself permission to stop feeling guilty about saying no has been the most freeing thing. Also, freeing my mind from the "I should be"s has been liberating; no longer do I worry that I "should" be making wild plans for my weekends, because other people I know, or people in the movies do. I am happiest at home with a quiet project to work on, or a book to read and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that (or with me).  In 2015, I plan to continue with my Less is More mentality.  It is really working well for me.

Practice patience
This is an area that I definitely needed (and honestly, still need) improvement. I try to remind myself to practice patience during those times when I am annoyed standing in a line, or stuck in traffic, or dealing with a difficult person, or feeling hangry if I haven't eaten. I have to remember that the world doesn't revolve around me, everyone has their own shit going on, and that my mood is my choice. 

Relax
Again, with the glorifying of busy comes the guilt of relaxing. So this goes hand-in-hand with Doing Less. I gave myself permission to freely enjoy some sewing, knitting, reading, or just sitting and doing nothing. Even if there is something else I could be doing. Because rest is just as important as work. 

Mortgage Free by 33
This is a bit of a mantra in our house. I acknowledge that it is extremely likely that it won't happen, but I like the rhyme. Basically, we want to pay off our mortgage early, so we make extra principle-only payments on our mortgage.  This past year was a little tough, as we had a reduced income while I was on medical leave, but we still managed to pay $1975 extra. 

Live life today (don't wait for kids, your life isn't on hold)
This is a major problem for me. We have been dealing with infertility for almost three years now. It sucks. It's painful. And it has our life in a bit of a stall. I have a hard time committing to long term plans, because I am always so hopeful to be pregnant, or have a new baby. I have passed up opportunities because of a potential pregnancy that never happens. I made some progress in this realm this past year. We did manage to take a trip to Disneyland and Hawaii that otherwise I probably would have kept putting off. And it's a silly thing, but some of the fabric that I have been hoarding for when I "one day" have kids, I have cut into. So needless to say, I still need to work on this area in 2015. 

Take control of health and body
This was a major area of improvement for me this past year.  Taking initiative and fighting for proper medical attention and care was a hard battle, but so worth it in the end.  Having surgery was scary, and not exactly on my goal list, but the results have been amazing so far.

All in all, I think 2014 was a hard year, but one with lots of personal and spiritual growth.  I look forward to 2015 and all that it has to offer!