Sunday, December 30, 2018

It's the end of 2018 as we know it, and I feel fine.





I'm not super in the mood to reflect. I wrote a whole post about our year, my family, what we've been through and where I hope we go, and none of it really meant anything to me. It felt like what Shonda Rhimes calls "athlete talk." The stuff basketball players have to say before they're allowed to go back to the locker room. "We moved the ball and they put up a fight, it came down to them outplaying us." Just words devoid of substance.

I am in the mood to start fresh. There has been an interesting backlash against resolutions, especially in the blogging/podcast world. I love how all these women are pretending like they invented the word of the year, or that they've *always* hated January 1st goal setting, when I used to eagerly read every single one of their carefully listed resolutions they posted with filtered pictures of sunrises and coffee cups and silhouetted families. I love that shit! Now everyone's like "I've never ever been a fan of setting myself up against undue pressure. I'm more into WORDS, you know? I've just started doing this and changes everything. I'm DONE with dieting but I'm totally ready to eat clean this year." I stand in the kitchen shaking my head. It's actually one of the reasons I'm really grateful for the #pashfam community (the only hashtag I follow on insta)- goal setting is not vilified and lots of people are posting different spreads to track their small habits and larger plans.

All that to say, my biggest lesson learned this year is that absolutely nothing is true for everyone. Not a thing. Not a way of pursing health, not a way of setting goals, not a way of preparing meals, not a way of raising children. It's hard for me because I have spent probably 15 years of my life in pursuit of the perfect template. And I'm starting to figure out that it'll never work like that. You might find a person to look up to or a life philosophy to follow and it'll fit for a time but not forever. Eventually one of your personal needs or values will press up against the general idea you were adopting and the dissonance can cause real panic, if you thought you found the way things were going to be from then on out. You have to make your own template. It's corny and it makes me sigh.

I'm not in the mood for athlete talk, but I do want to play through this exercise of answering some year end questions, in case it sparks something for me to help me understand how I want to move forward. I'm getting together with some friends today to think about 2019, set some intentions, burn some stuff we want to let go of. I'm hoping my own template will start to emerge from this interesting work.

1. What are the three most important things you learned this year?

My kids need me more than I thought they did.
I cannot be home for an entire summer and stay healthy.
I have to figure out my own template.

2. What are some things you accomplished that you're proud of?

Ended first year as a Media Specialist.
Helped Ben get through his tumor scare.
Changed the look and feel of the entire front of the house (with Ben) into a living space I enjoy.

3. What did you do this year that you'll remember for the rest of your life?

Ben and I working through everything with his health in the fall will stick with me forever. The raw fear and the way that everything felt frozen, and then the strange, slow-to-come relief when things were okay. Making the appointments and talking to the doctors and planning every second of our lives to pretend to have control. It ending as fast as it started. It changed me.

4. What was your most memorable day and why?

Honestly, the day of the surgery will be memorable, and the way that people rallied around us with shocking, breath-taking love and support. But I want to focus on some other positive memorable days this year- our trip to North Conway and spending the day hiking was amazing, or playing hours and hours of Werewolf with my family at my aunt's house over Christmas. 

5. What would you have done differently? Why?

I would have worked this summer. There is no way I could have known that I would feel the way I felt this summer, no way I could have seen that the total lack of routine would make me fall apart. I haven't worked during the summer since the boys were born, but when they were smaller, they took a lot more energy and we had to follow a routine- meet up with friends or go on adventures in the morning, excellent napping skills from 1ish to 4-5 in the afternoon, then dinner/baths/books/bed. There was time for me, time for socializing, and even a few chores worked in. Ever since we've moved into this house (this was our second full summer here), the boys haven't napped, and now that they're much closer to self-sufficient, it's way easier for me to spend a day doing nothing, and not in a good way. Short vacations are perfect for laziness- two full months of the year should not be spent that way. This summer will look different. 

6. How are you different this year than last?

As a person, I'm more stable. I am able to look at myself and see positive or negative patterns. I understand my reactions more than before. I haven't implemented every single piece of knowledge I have, but I have learned a lot about myself. I'm also closer to understanding my family. This has been a time of transition for us- new house, new life stages, new jobs, new goals. Everything I knew about being a mom is changing. I laugh at newborn-mom Ashlie who was quite certain that as soon as her kids could entertain themselves and eat without choking, this whole gig would get much easier. It never gets easier. But it's kind of comforting to grow into what you don't know. 

7. What do you look forward to accomplishing in 2019?

A better relationship with the family that lives in my house, based on our newest needs 
Secretary time (more to come on that one)
Physical thriving
Better money sense (less Target bans, more long term plans)

I'm just going to link to the Passion Planner site because honestly, get one, they're wonderful, the Instagram community is wonderful, and planning has become a treasured hobby of mine. If you want to use my email address (ashlieelizabeth@gmail.com) as a referral name, cool, but more importantly, check these out and see if they might get you closer to your goals! I'm not affiliated, just deeply in love.

I'm also going to link to my intentions for 2018, which I finally got around to posting IN MAY, if that gives you an idea of the kind of year it was.

Tracy Shutterbean is a blogger I've been following for years, and she lives the intentions life way outside of January. Her weekly intention lists are completely different from mine but they inspire me every time. Definitely a worthy follow (her Instagram @shutterbean is excellent, too).

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