Don’t you just love the crisp air that rolls in with the month of January? With all the crazy and stress-causing activities of politics and the struggles of the pandemic, it’s important for me to fuel my emotional diet with nature. I find the light sting of the cold morning air refreshing; bursts of cold air on my face sting lightly to remind me I’m lucky to be alive.
When I purse my lips to exhale, my breath pops out in the shapes of imaginary smoke rings that disappear into the cold air; it makes me giggle. It’s this childlike energy that fuels my perspective and optimism for the New Year; a vibrant, spirited attitude emerges when I anticipate the months ahead. I enjoy the blank slate I see when I sit down to write my goals or openly discuss them with others. Periodically the mature reality of responsibilities and deadlines of life push away my spirited demeanor; I’m weighed down with the thought of tasks and necessary sacrifices. To achieve some of my goals, the new disciplines I’ll require can appear daunting. Occasionally my list of objectives expands faster than my hand can write; I’m overwhelmed. No matter how positively I write each goal, my plate of tasks and responsibilities feels heavier and heavier. My scales of exhaustion can be tipped with simple comments like, “I’m going to eat healthier; walk two miles a day; write two pages on my blog a week.” I don’t want to feel as though I’m adding more to my “to-do” list without first making room on my plate to grow. Instead, I want to focus on what “I can do” and not place a spotlight on what “I can’t”; but again, I need the room.
To make room in my life I find it necessary to first expand my attitude and make emotional space to get relief. It’s similar to unbuttoning the top button on your pants before moving from the main course to the dessert. What am I going to stop doing? For starters, I’m going to stop judging myself and I’m going to start appreciating who I am at this very moment. I’m going to stop parking my car so close to the front door of the store and I’m going to walk farther from where I park; this will add to my desired two miles of walking a day. With each objective or goal that’s added to my plate, one negative thought comes off.
Traditionally the song “Auld Lang Syne” brings with it, a review of our past; a look back at the last year. Twenty-twenty isn’t something I recall with much fondness. It’s not easy to reminisce without recalling the goals I “didn’t” achieve. It’s also a challenge to acknowledge the mistakes I “did” make. However, I’m not disappointed when I reminisce. I can only learn from my mistakes or underachieved goals by first admitting I want to make some changes. I’m not the same person as I was a year ago; in fact, I’m not the same person I was yesterday. It’s true that absence makes the heart grow fonder because being absent of friends and family gathering in our home has me holding all of you tightly in my thoughts. Memories of our times together keep me feeling excited about the time when we can gather together without fear of spreading the virus. I will gather more often and I will cherish every hug, embrace, and smile. Just like the month of January, I’m a blank slate too.
Happy New Year! – Annamarie