Monday, January 6, 2014

In some way, for as long as I can remember, whether in blog form or a note scratched on an old receipt or an unconscious intention, I've made a resolution or promise to myself on January 1st in hopes of a better year. I've always been drawn to attempts at bettering myself and I enjoy a fresh start, which is why I have a weird love for grocery shopping and moving and a new year. 2013 was the best year I've had since entering into adulthood and I have high hopes for the next one. I have so many thoughts and hopes swirling around in my mind about 2014. The possibilities are endless. This year is monumental for me and this little family of mine. For the longest time, the dream of New York City has hovered over me like a thought bubble, constantly there and shading out the possibility of many more dreams prevailing. As I write, Alex and I are sitting cross-legged on the bed together - me writing, him reading, Ev napping - in my sister's apartment in DC. We've finally finished all of the errands we needed to run after the four day drive here and this is the first chance we've had to sit and breathe without a list of to-do's invading our thoughts in a week. I had a lot of time to think of the drive here and the thing that is at the forefront of my mind for this year is to take care of myself and to nourish my relationships. I've never been one to choose a word for the year because of the flighty nature of my mind - next week it would be different, but I'm pretty committed to making nourish my word and focus for 2014. So often, I'm focused on the checklists and the mess that I expect too much of Ev and neglect myself and my spirituality and relationships. Alex is going to be gone for the majority of the year, so I think this will be vital for Ev and I.

In so many ways, I'm an adventurous person, but in a lot of other ways I'm not. I've always wished I could be that person that travels alone and isn't afraid of getting lost, who is confident and comfortable doing new things alone. Fear (of what, I don't know) has prevailed in my life for too long. It's embarrassing to admit, but somedays Ev and I don't step foot outside. Before Ev came along, I had so much opportunity to travel and explore new hobbies and I didn't do any of those things. I didn't intend on this post being about anxiety, but it's important for me to clear the air with myself before I start a list of goals. This has been something I've struggled with for so long and each year, I push myself further up this mountain, but I haven't made it to the top yet. 'Disorder' is sort of an ambiguous word. Do I have an anxiety disorder? No, I don't think so, but maybe no one actually has disorders - maybe we're all just different. . . What I do know is that this fight with myself has lasted long enough to have accompanied me through many stages of my life, including motherhood, and it has started to affect my child. So I'm doing something about it. I'm dealing with it. Am I anxious and tense everyday? I used to think shyness was to blame, but I have moved past that and still find myself composed, but perpetually strained and nervous. From the outside, I'm normal - I'm fairly social, I have interests and hobbies, I get out pretty often. But never does it come easy. I'm easygoing, but when forced to face a new situation or something outside my comfort zone, tension hits. There were a lot of times in college when I struggled to leave my apartment and though this was my excuse, it wasn't because I didn't feel like going to class. I loved (and still love) learning and reading, especially about art, but the thought of stepping outside my comfort zone, walking the streets to class alone and into a classroom full of people I didn't know paralyzed me. 

I grew up like this - shy and insecure and unable to stand up for myself, and I used the 'this is who I am' excuse for too long. As a child I was nervous, unable to speak for myself at times, didn't have a lot of friends, unable to even make a phone call for years, worried about my looks and what I was wearing in a way that was beyond the normal teenage insecurities and while I've overcome a lot of that, especially in the last few years, life has presented new challenges that I've struggled to face. Now that I've moved into adulthood, I sometimes feel like Alex is my buffer, my safe zone, and that's lovely and romantic until your safe zone leaves and you're forced to face those same feelings all over again. It's just much easier to find a calm with him around. While this may seem like a step in the wrong direction as far as dealing with my fears, I plan on staying with my sister in Washington DC until Alex and I and Ev can all be together again. (Right as I hit publish, Alex got a phone call and found out he may be leaving for training later than we though - touché, 2014. I may be braving this alone after all.) While fear is a factor, I came to this conclusion mostly because it doesn't feel right to go and make a home in New York City without my husband. This is as much his adventure and dream as it is mine and I want to do it together. Anyway, these insecurities and struggles that I mentioned - it's time to face them head on while my buffer is gone. It's time to stop letting fears and anxiety affect my ability to take my kid to a park or play date or museum more than once a month. It's time to start loving myself in ways that I might not be comfortable with, but that I know are good for me.

So here is my plan for making 2014 count:
- DOCUMENT: (I still haven't finished posting all of the photos from last year's 365 project, but I can't pass up the opportunity to start another.) The 365 project was so good for me last year and I'm sure I couldn't put down my camera and stop documenting if I tried. Taking photos of everyday moments is just ingrained in me. However, taking a photo each day became a struggle in quantity over quality, so I plan on choosing a picture each week, a 52 project. I'm hoping that with less pressure to just snap a photo for the day, I'll have more time to really learn about my camera and develop some manual skills.
- CATCH MY BREATH: I usually spend nap times writing, so I rarely get time to read a book or take a bath or drink a cup of tea without reheating it five times or enjoy a yoga session without a feisty little girl stealing my mat and sticking her finger in my nose, so I plan on being intentional about scheduling time to catch my breath and refuel - no cell phone, social media, blogging, running errands, paying bills, etc. for a few hours, once a week.
- SIMPLIFY: I know this is a redundant word being used in so many places all over the internet, but a simple life is really important to our family. We ended 2013 by simplifying our belongings. We put what would fit into a 5x8 trailer and left the rest behind. Now it's time to organize and simplify other parts of life, including this space. I often spend hours in a day reading blogs and looking at Facebook and Instagram - once I start, I can't pull myself away until I'm finished. So I'm purging all of my 'closets' of the internet and spending less time surrounding myself with other people's thoughts and lives and more time cultivating my own thoughts and life.
- ORGANIZE: There are a lot of areas of our life that will be hectic this year. Most of our belongings will be in a storage unit for six months out of the year, so although I would love to organize our home when we're all together again, I'm not speaking of physical belongings. I have a lot of projects that have been sitting at the back of my mind, waiting for the time to get them done. 2014 is the time. I want to get our family pictures backed up and organized so that we can sit down together and look at them regularly. I want to get our favorite recipes in order so we can cook them all more often without having to hunt the recipe down.
- READ: I have a really (really) big list of books that I want to read, and I'd like to make a dent in that this year. I also want to make an effort to read to Ev more regularly. We've been so busy during the last few months that our story time has kind of fallen to the wayside.
- GET OUTSIDE: When Spring comes, I've set a goal for Ev and I to get outside everyday, whether it's a simple trip to the nearest playground or a trip to a museum that lasts hours, whether it's beautiful outside or a raining, sludgy mess.
- COOK: It's really important to me to make cooking and meals a big part of our family life. I'd like to make an effort to plan meals each week so that cooking can be slower and more enjoyable. I'd also like to get a bit more adventurous in the kitchen and make use of the cookbooks I have laying around.
- TAKE CARE OF MYSELF: I want to start running. I've made a lot of excuses for far too long about why I couldn't start running and I want this to be the year that I get in better shape. I also want to start doing yoga more regularly. I got into a groove for awhile and look back at that time fondly. Yoga is one of the only types of 'exercise' that I really enjoy.
- CREATE: I have an insatiable desire to create and I always have, but like anything else, every time I sit down to start a project, fear creeps in allows me to convince myself that I'm not good enough. I have so many dreams that I've been holding on tight to for so many years and this is the year I do something with those dreams, at least one of them. I want to support my family creating.
- PRAY: I've had a tough time making this a priority this year and I want that to change. Just as I want to take time to catch my breath, I also want to take time to be still and immerse myself in prayer each week.

Here's to you, 2014! To the joys - I'll be grateful. To the heartaches - I'll trust that they're part of a bigger plan. To the unknown that lies ahead - I am hopeful. To the unexpected adventures that life throws our way - they make for the best memories. Here's to becoming better versions of ourselves, dreaming wild dreams, failing and getting right back up, and loving like we never have before.


  1. This is a wonderful post. Have you posted your long list of books you'd love to read yet? I'm looking for my next read once I finish I Am Malala

    1. I'm actually working on a post with a few books I want to read this year and another with my list of favorites. Off the top of my head, if you haven't read 'The Glass Castle' by Jeanette Walls, that's a must!



© The Long Way Home All rights reserved . Design by Blog Milk Powered by Blogger