Thursday, January 1, 2015

New Year's Intentions, 2015

It's hard to believe that 2014 has come to an end, and 2015 has begun! 2014 was an incredible year for us. In 2013, we suffered through a great deal of difficulties and challenges which pushed us to our very limits. There were many times it seemed we'd never find our way, but in 2014 we managed to come back stronger than ever. We made some big decisions, went through some big changes, accomplished some important goals and began some new adventures. Among the biggest news of the year was that we closed our daycare, so that I could focus more on the kids and homeschooling, and The Man started a great new career working with young adults on the Autism spectrum. 2015 will see us continuing what we started in 2014, and will hopefully find us continuing to grow and change for the better.

For those who are new to the blog, every year I write up a list of my New Year's Intentions. There are not hard-and-fast "resolutions," but they are things I wish to work on to better myself and my life in the coming year.  You can see my previous New Year's Intentions posts here and here.

Upon reflecting on my Intentions from last year, I found that I really did make good progress toward my goals last year. This year, I will continue on the path toward those goals, and add in a few more...

1. More Art. Once upon a time, Art was a huge part of what made me, "me". I created all the time, and it fed my soul and made me happy. During some difficult times, Art took a backseat to survival and keeping my family afloat. I couldn't seem to make time for it, and more so, I was so overwhelmed by life that I didn't even feel inspired to create anything. Now that my life is on a better path, my creativity is returning. I really want to make Art a daily part of my life once again.

2. Stay strong, get stronger. One of my intentions that keeps coming back year after year is to fit more exercise into my life. I feel like I did pretty well with that in 2014, at least for the first 9 months of the year. The last three months I did get a bit lazy. I got frustrated because even with all the extra exercise, the outward appearance of my body didn't change much. I didn't lose weight (though I also didn't gain any) I think I expected that with daily exercise my 43-year-old body would go back to looking like my 30's body. It didn't. But I did notice that runs were easier, and I just felt stronger and healthier overall when I was exercising daily. So THAT needs to be my focus this year: stay strong, get stronger. My 40's body is softer, thicker and rounder than my younger body was, and I'm still trying to convince myself that that's OK, and that I should accept that I may not be able to change that. But I can still be strong and healthy, so that is what I'm working toward for 2015.

3. Make a realistic budget and stick to it. When we closed up our daycare this year, we tried hard to make a careful financial plan before we took the leap. You know what they say about the best laid plans! We had some unexpected things come up (like needing a new car and major electrical work done on the house, for example) that knocked us off track. But I am hopeful that this year we can set up a good, workable budget and manage to live comfortably within our means.

4. More spontaneous fun.  As I mentioned in this post from October, we have managed to find ourselves quite busy this school year. Now that I'm not working full time, we have the opportunity to do more activities, so we filled our calendar with lots of scheduled things. It's great that I can give my kids the opportunity to do lots of fun classes and extracurriculars, but we're finding that we really don't have much free time for spontaneous adventures. One of the things I love best about homeschooling is being able to just go to the park or museum or whatever in the middle of a schoolday, but somehow we've lost that. I plan to try to allow more time in our weekly schedule to just do whatever we feel like doing at the moment.

5. Spend more time outside. Another side effect of our busy schedule is that we don't get outside as much as we should. So, I intend to get us more fresh air and vitamin D in 2015! More time in the woods, more walking instead of driving, more time in the yard and garden.

6. Try new things, now, not "someday." The circumstances of the last couple of years have been harsh reminders that sometimes "someday" is too late. There are lots of things that I've always wanted to try "someday," like learning about beekeeping, learning to spin yarn and taking a big road trip. This year, I'm going to make at least some of them happen!

7. Start a Happiness Jar. I saw this on Facebook and Pinterest a while back, and just fell in love with the idea. Apparently this idea was started by Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love. The idea is that you get a jar, and each time something wonderful happens, you write it down and put it in the jar. At the end of the year, you go back and read all the wonderful things that happened in your life throughout the year. How cool is that? I look forward to using this as a way to practice Gratitude and to focus on the positive aspects of my life. Gratitude breeds happiness!

So those are my Intentions for 2015. May this New Year bring Health, Happiness, Peace, Love, Joy and Prosperity to all.
Our Happiness Jar, waiting to be filled with 2015's fond memories.

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