What I HAVEN’T been doing.

I feel a strange sense of calm lately.

Which is super-strange for me, since I’m one of the least calm people I know.

For (almost) 27 years I’ve felt the intense need to be productively doing something at any given second of the day.  And when I’m not doing something I’m almost always thinking of 80 million things I need to do, or I should do, or I want to do… you get the idea.

But now, in 2013, I’m calm.  And I have multiple theories as to why.

Theory #1

It’s entirely possible that during 2012 I somehow forgot what it’s like to be a normal non-wedding-planning human and now that I’m back to being that type of person I feel born-again.

Theory #2

My new years resolution has worked magical wonders on my life.

Theory #3

Aliens or other things supernatural.

Yep, let’s go with theory #2.

Along with that awesome new years resolution I made, I’ve been making a conscious effort to not do certain things in 2013.  Because I figure NOT doing something is easier than actually DOING something, right?  (I know this is not true in all cases, but just go with me on this)

**Side note: I’m constantly giving our dog a lecture that goes something like, ‘Monster, it is far easier to not bark at the neighbors than it is to bark at them.  The absence of action is the lazy-dog’s way!  Just don’t do that!  Please stop!  It’s not hard, I promise!  You have to TRY to bark… stop trying!’  This strategy has not worked at all.**

If the Monster could speak in human-words, "I know you're talking about me and I don't like it, I don't like it one bit.  I'm watching you"

(Because I can read the Monster’s mind) “I know you’re talking about me and I don’t like it, I don’t like it one bit. I’m watching you.”

So, the following is a list of things I haven’t been doing:

  •  I haven’t been checking social media in bed (although I do still check email.  Baby steps.)
  • I haven’t been rushing out the door in the morning
  • I haven’t been allowing myself to feel guilty for not being good enough, productive enough, saying yes enough, not working out, spending too much  money, etc
  • I haven’t been worrying about the future
  • I haven’t been procrastinating
  • I haven’t been allowing our house to become too disorganized
  • I haven’t been staying up well past midnight on a school work day
  • I haven’t been going to work without showering/doing my hair/with my makeup well put on
  • I haven’t been over-booking myself
  • I haven’t been eating crap
  • I haven’t been taking life as seriously
  • I haven’t been stressing out on behalf of others and letting other people’s life situations affect my own happiness (for the most part)
  • I haven’t been holding grudges
  • I haven’t been (as) hesitant
  • I haven’t been keeping to a strict diet or prohibiting myself from things I enjoy
  • I haven’t been sitting all day at work (I try to stand at my desk as often as possible.  This is especially easy because I’m pretty really short)
  • I haven’t been internalizing my thoughts and feelings
  • I haven’t been afraid to take some risks
  • I haven’t been (as) timid at work

I’m sure this list isn’t quite complete, but those are the things that I thought of right away.  None of these things were specific resolutions I had at all, they just kind of came about when I thought of how I wanted to live my best life.

And really, the reason I haven’t been doing these things is because of my resolution!  I finally decided to allow myself to be free from  the self-criticism and obligations and constraints I had always imposed on myself.  These last few months I have been making a very big effort to be the best person I can be each day, without worrying about what ‘best’ might look like to other people and only focusing on what my ‘best person’ looks and feels like.

I’ve noticed huge improvements in every area of my life, which has been amazing and I’ve been feeling very blessed indeed.

Anyway, in this season of Lent and for 2013 in general, I hope you’ve been able to give up something that you’ve found to be game-changing!

Resolution remix.

freedom

I thought I had my 2013 goals all figured out.  I even wrote a whole post about it.

But, in my never-ending search for simplicity in life and not actually making real ‘resolutions,’ I’ve changed my mind about my approach.

Well, I shouldn’t say I changed my mind, but rather I’ve decided that most of my goals can be summed up in a better way.  You see, I read this article and it encouraged me to find one word to focus on for the year, instead of a list of goals that I can easily lose sight of.

Thankfully, I’ve found a new way to do New Year’s Resolutions that keeps me properly focused. Instead of making my long list of ways I plan to improve, I prayerfully choose just one word to be my focus for the entire year. Just one word that represents what I most hope Christ will do in or through me that year. One word to give me direction.

It’s not a regret-based word but a vision-driven word centering on the kind of person I want to become. It keeps me looking forward and upward.

Genius.  I wish I had thought of it.  (There’s even a whole community of other bloggers who have picked their word!) Not that I’m not going to focus on those other goals I have…. because they’re (hopefully) going to be a driving force of how I spend my time and money this year.  However, I also now have one word that I’m going to keep in the front of my mind throughout the day.

That word is freedom.

It’s amazing how stressed out I was in 2012 because I didn’t feel free.  I felt obligated. I felt bogged down. I felt busy. I felt trapped in a job. I felt like a bad friend and family member.  I felt like I was constantly inconveniencing people. I felt like crying a lot but I didn’t have time to cry. I felt out of shape.  I felt like I was eating too much crap and then I subsequently I felt like crap. I felt worn down. I felt anxious.  There were a million things I wanted to do that I couldn’t do.  I was unprepared.  I was late for events.  I blew off events because I was too tired to attend and became indifferent to social activities. I felt sick and then I felt guilty for being sick because I shouldn’t be sick on awesome life events. Guilt was constantly in the back of my mind.

This year I’m letting all of that go.  I don’t have any big events to plan and I don’t have any expectations on me.  It’s quite wonderful.

Freedom is my word of choice this year.

The freedom to work out or to spend the time reading a book.  The freedom to go out if I have the energy and to stay home and sleep if I don’t.  The freedom to call friends I enjoy talking to but not to feel obligated to call someone just because I know it’s been too long. The freedom to spend days doing exactly what I want to do.  I’m allowing myself to make more mistakes and to think of what I really want above what may make someone else happier.  I’m giving myself the freedom to be slightly more unavailable and not to schedule my days around the convenience of others.

This word sums up all of my other goals, and by focusing on it I feel confident that everything else will fall into place.

This word is especially relevant after our trip to Tanzania.  We forget how much freedom we have in the USA.  For instance, I can travel almost anywhere in the world at whim.  I can also pack my bags and decide to live somewhere else.  There’s beauty and freedom in that.  Although I may not have the finances or time to do whatever I want and to go wherever I want, the government won’t stop me.  I also have the freedom to work or stay at home or go to school or have as many children as I want or get great medical care… Freedom means everything.

I’m looking forward to you, 2013!