2016 was my year of reflection. I worked to really hone in on what makes me happy and excited every day. I have found, like many, I do too much of what I don’t want to do. And with constant reminders that life is short, I know I need to live a life of fulfillment, not depletion. 2017 is going to be a year of slowly, but determinedly, turning the ship toward the things that bring me the most happiness.
And with that goal, I have decided that “Balance” is my word for 2017.
I constantly struggle with balancing all the nuances of my life. Being a mom. Being a wife. Having a career. Making time to pursue my passions. To be healthy. I know I am not alone in this. I know that there is no better time than now to take action. But I confess taking action isn’t my strong suit – I’m an analyst. I can analyze all day long. Anything to prevent me from actually having to make a change, because change can be terrifying. But through reevaluating my core values, and what I want from this one short life that I have in front of me, I am working through reprioritizing by asking myself these key questions:
· What do I want?
· What do I have already?
· What are my current limitations?
From there, I’m drilling it down further to make the change I want actionable by asking myself “What does my ideal day look like?”
For me, I want to slow down. My life is going by faster and faster every day, and I feel like I’m on this trajectory that is only speeding up. I need to consciously SLOW. DOWN. I’ve blinked my eyes and my oldest daughter is a full-blown 6-year-old kid, who 1st grade has drastically changed socially and emotionally. My youngest is no longer a baby, but a full-blown toddler who I am having complete, usually coherent conversations with. My husband and I will have suddenly been married for a decade this August. What??? Where did the time go???
I think the speed of life is partially being driven by the amount of technology at our finger tips. Technology distracts from the real people and things that are physically present right in front of us. We’re losing our real connections and missing out on having real conversations and interactions, and in place having electronic ones. The interesting part of this is that most people feel they are more connected to others than ever, because there are just so many platforms in which to connect. But the quantity of platforms leads to the decrease in the quality of the connections. There is the expectation to respond and react to all forms of communication IMMEDIATELY. There is more urgency and need for instant gratification than ever before. But doesn’t that expectation lead us to impulsively respond instead of taking a moment to breath, think, and then strategically, purposefully respond with intention?
What if, instead of looking at my phone first thing in the morning, and responding to all texts and emails right away, I didn’t? What if I, instead, took 5 minutes to meditate and set my own intention for the day? Before anyone else’s intentions begin to drive me.
My goal is to start each day with the important, but not urgent tasks. What things can I do that will leave me happy and feeling accomplished before my “real day” begins? What tasks will put me in a balanced emotional, spiritual and physical state to set me up for success and productivity for the rest of my day? It might be something as simple as taking the 5 minutes to sit and snuggle with Gavyn before she gets on the school bus in the morning. Or going for a walk before the household wakes up. Or just sitting with my cup of coffee to think before anyone else’s thoughts can affect me.
I know that in order to set up my day so that I can factor in these pockets of time in the morning, I will need to wake up earlier. Sacrifice sleep. But in the long run, I think it will be worth it.
There is something liberating about having a brand new year in front of us. A fresh start. A reminder to make changes that need to be made. For me, it’s a reminder to pay attention to the balance of my life, and to make time for the things that really matter most.
Here’s to a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2017.