Happy New Year

I  had a hundred posts I planned to write over my nine-day vacation and then iTunes had a Kids' Movie sale and the next thing I knew it was 2014 and James and I were on the floor of the living room devouring Buffalo wings and binge-watching Nanny McPhee and Night at the Museum and Season One of SyFy's Face Off. 

  Biscuit celebrated her first Christmas with us, which basically meant ripping apart every toy she ever sniffed at PetSmart in record time. Plus: new collar and leash!

Biscuit celebrated her first Christmas with us, which basically meant ripping apart every toy she ever sniffed at PetSmart in record time. Plus: new collar and leash!

I know January First is traditionally a time for New Beginnings and New Goals and Reflecting on the Past and Self-Improvement Missions and all that jazz, but let's be honest here... I'm never giving up cake and moving to Nashville in September is enough of a New Beginning and spawned enough introspective assessment to last me well until June. 

Now the game starts wherein my friends and I are asking one another what our resolutions are. And my friends, they're all so lovely, such driven women with respectable, practical goals. I receive answers left and right, "Hug my mother more" (good one!) and "Curse less" (another good one!) and "Spend more time with my family" (cue the horrible sound of my homesick heart tearing in half) and "Run a marathon" (I'm so proud of her ambition and dedication and I'm exhausted just thinking about it). 

I could say something like, "No more crappy foods" but we all know I'll never be able to break up with chocolate pudding or strawberry cake. I just have to work on moderation, but I've been at that for the past couple months now. So it doesn't count.

I could say something like, "Run every day!" but we also know I'm a bit lazy. Very lazy. I'm a bit very lazy. And on mornings like today when it was a whopping 37*F when the alarm went off, the only cardio I was fit to do was roll right back over and sleep until it hit 45*F. 

I do have big plans for becoming a healthy person, not just a skinny person, and for living a more balanced, emotionally satisfying life. Trust me. In fact I'm willing to wager those plans will surprise a lot of you, especially the ones who know my love of salt, sugar, fat and carbs. And my love of being lazy. But I'm not ready to announce anything to anyone yet, I'm still wrapping my mind around the mission I've put myself on. All in time, ya know? Which leads me to what my only real resolutions are this year: 

  Christmas Breakfast: Baked Herb Eggs with  Scratch Rye Bread  and  Fancy Cocoa , both from my dear friend  Cara's  wonderful blog,  Yummy-Books .

Christmas Breakfast: Baked Herb Eggs with Scratch Rye Bread and Fancy Cocoa, both from my dear friend Cara's wonderful blog, Yummy-Books.

 

Be gentler, especially with myself. This one sounds like it should be simple, but being a gentle person basically goes against everything in my nature. I tend to push. I'm a pusher. I can't help it. I have high personal standards, for myself and for my husband and for my parents and eventually I'll have them for  my kids. The little voice in my head spends so many hours shouting things like, Failure is not an option! and You could have done so  much better and you know it! and Everyone else thinks you're doing a great job but you really secretly suck and they're going to find out and kick you out of their club! 

  James made us a gorgeous Christmas dinner all by himself without burning anything.

James made us a gorgeous Christmas dinner all by himself without burning anything.

I know you're just going to tell me to relax and go easier on myself and I'm telling you right now: if being nicer to myself was something that came naturally, I'd be doing it already. In my mind, in my instincts, the easiest way from where I stand to my goal is a straight line. And sometimes that means crashing through walls and knocking stuff down to get where I'm going. I'm a bit of a bull in a China shop when I want to get things done, and if you know me you know I'm always on a mission of one sort or another.

But there is a very fine line between having high personal standards and having an unhealthy, bully-like approach to motivating yourself. And others. I can really rip into myself some days, but I also find myself being brash and abrasive toward my loved-ones... especially James. I often do it under the guise of honesty or efficiency. True love can be tough love sometimes, I tell myself. The truth hurts.

Maybe. Maybe not. I could put a lot more effort into taking the sting off my words, and I know that. And one day, I want to have a moment where I'm frustrated or disappointed and instead of going for the easy knock-down route, I want to handle it with empathy, and compassion and grace. A big part of that stems from how I regard and speak to myself. If I can retrain that, I can improve the way I behave toward others. I'll catch myself sometimes, being nasty toward myself, and I'll think, "I'd never let someone else speak to me that way." So why let myself get away with it? 

There's no reason. And so the quest to become a gentler person begins.

  Christmas Dinner, prepared by James: Roast Beef, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans with Caramelized Onions and more of  Cara's Rye Bread . Plus wine. 

Christmas Dinner, prepared by James: Roast Beef, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans with Caramelized Onions and more of Cara's Rye Bread. Plus wine. 

Say big thank-you's for more little things. This can take on many forms. It could mean something as embarrassing as actually remembering to send Thank You cards for gifts we receive, something I'm shamefully bad about. It could mean recognizing and acknowledging James for all the contributions he makes to the household and to my life and my sanity, things that often go overlooked because OH LOOK he left his dirty socks in the front entrance. Again. And in a way it's about getting back to basics with  my faith, remembering to thank God for all the things I've been permitted in my life, things that come my way because I'm one of the singularly most lucky (and most of the time undeserving) people I know. And I really am grateful, even if I forget to say so.

What are your resolutions? 

-MMV.