Sunday, January 8, 2017

2017, and its accompanying resolutions

At the dawn of (what I thought was) 2016* Joe and I resolved to change some things - I determined I would work hard to wait to eat dinner until he got home, I would push the kids to clean their own messes rather than undertaking most of it myself, and we would do "mundane" as a family.  Joe determined to read more to the kids, to give me lots of compliments, and to appreciate the things he has.

We sat this week, discussing what we would like to get out of the new year, and how we think we did on last year's* resolutions. We agreed that we had basically done well according to our hopes! Which, when you look back at a resolution and a) laugh, or b) don't remember that you ever made that resolution, is quite exceptional! We (more or less) ACCOMPLISHED the things we resolved to do! 2016 was a WIN!

*EXCEPT. Except they were 2015's New Year's resolutions, and we accomplished them 2 years later. 2016 I resolved to say "no" to making my life crazy by taking on favors I felt overwhelmed by. Upon re-discovering this, I a) laughed, and b) didn't remember making that resolution. Looking back, though, I think I did well on this, largely due to the fact that we moved, so for a long time nobody knew us enough to ask any favors! (~dusts hands off dramatically~)

That gave me good hope for 2017, where I have challenged myself in 3 new areas:
1. To read my scriptures daily, personally.
We already read scriptures each morning as a family, but that is basic reading, not any studying, and I could stand a lot more studying! Considering how much I enjoy reading, this shouldn't be a difficult resolution, yet I know that it is! I like to read for pleasure and relaxation, and my goal isn't to read for pleasure and relaxation, thus forcing me to read in a different way. THAT will be the challenge.
2. To center my life on Christ.
This is a pretty general resolution, but I'm unsure of how to specify it more. I hear that the best way to reach goals is to set concrete steps, and I figure reading my scriptures daily is a good step on that road! I obviously plan to keep attending church in week, and I am serving in Young Women, which means I also plan and attend activities mid-week that have spiritual aspects to them. But I don't really have other mini-goals to reach, so it's more of a general shift of mindset. To focus on centering my life on Christ, instead of trying to juggle the things I already do and then ADDING to reach my goal. I want my daily activities to be reaching that goal for me - less time on Netflix shows, more time working on completing my Personal Progress experiences. Less time listening to dance party songs, more uplifting music. I assume that as the year progresses my resolution will also progress, and I'm looking forward to seeing the shift as I more fully understand how to fulfill this resolution.
3. To do something each week that scares me.
This doesn't have to be something physical, like eating a hot pepper or bungee jumping; instead, something that intimidates or challenges me. It CAN be physical, but I also find meeting new people to be a little scary; putting myself in a new situation is uncomfortable, but desirable. Doing something scary each day sounded exhausting, and once a month was too easy to procrastinate; once a week sounds about right! 52 experiences to stretch and grow me in 52 different ways. I chose this resolution because I felt like I've been closing myself down - I am so perfectly content at home, with my kids, in the same routine, I have started feeling anxiety at the smallest things! And I am not content to be content, I'm not ready to throw in the towel just yet! So I needed a push.

So far I have challenged myself twice: A) I played chess, and B) I confronted a financial problem. Chess was relatively easy, but seriously - I've been afraid of chess since middle school! We did a chess unit in school, and while we all learned the rules at the same pace we didn't all pick up the same passion for it. Some kids really understood and enjoyed the strategy and the attack! I felt hopelessly lost, NO strategy, NO attack, why are you taking all my pieces and why can't we just get along?!? I felt terribly hunted and hated to play the game. Never played again. In the past few years, my dad taught Patrick to play, so Joe has stepped in and played with him at home, also teaching Eli and Caroline the basics, but I have stayed 100% of the sidelines, secretly remembering the feel of being hunted. In the after-Christmas sales I sought out a nice wooden, carved chess set, and I faced my fears and took on Joe. Maybe it's years of playing other cut-throat games, and maturity that brings comprehension of strategy, or maybe I was just excited to be taking on my resolution head-on, but I played against Joe and I really enjoyed it!
Beginner's luck, I also won! He was too ashamed to appear in the picture.

My second challenge, The Financial Problem, was much less fun because FINANCES, and I didn't choose the problem. The first of the year we received our quarterly bill from our HOA, usually $108, and it was $735. WHAAAAAT?!?!?!? One of those horrible moments where your insides disappear. I wanted to run out of the room (I calmly walked, though, because I am *cough*so mature and able to handle things*). Joe studied the bill, and the discrepancy was multiple cable TV charges - we had cable TV in our "bundle" from Comcast, and while this "bundle" made our internet cheaper, even though we don't ever use the cable, it initiated a monthly charge of $60 through our HOA for having cable TV. And then it was billed in a lump sum for the 10 months we've lived here, for $600. Again, WHAAAAT?!? So I was put in charge of detangling the "snafu," and I was pretty mad/terrified. I had to keep the mad up to overcome the terrified, but stay anxious enough to keep me civil in my contact with all parties in the bill. It took one long day of phone calls and meetings (and I'm pretty convinced interceding angels), but the charges were dropped and we could go on with out lives WITHOUT cable and WITHOUT paying the bill and WITH my guts reinstated... and with another challenge down! Now I have 50 more challenges to overcome, and I am actually getting excited! I will (I assume) be in charge of choosing most of the things I want to do to stretch myself, and the few gut-punches that come along will be met with slightly more confidence than I had before.

I have no idea what Joe's resolutions are. Maybe he should resolve to make some ;)

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