I feel like I blinked and it’s suddenly 2018.
No, really. How can it be January already?
I’m one of those reflective types, so each new year has me reflecting on the previous 365 days. And if I’m being honest, I’m not that happy with what I see in the rear view this time.
I once again had a year that was too busy. There were just too many things I wanted to do—too many things I said I was going to do. And it ends up with me feeling like I did many things, but I didn’t do any of them very well.
When we were at a large family gathering recently for Christmas, one of my uncles told me he felt like he never saw me—not in person or even on Facebook. And I responded by explaining to him that right now I am in survival mode. The things that have to be done at the house, on the farm, for my family, at my job, with my books…those things sometimes feel like they are all on fire at the same time and I am holding the only extinguisher.
And I end up feeling like I’m just trying to survive.
I know I’m not the only one who sometimes feels that way. I got a couple of “we survived the holidays” text messages the day after Christmas from some of my best friends. We commiserated with one another about how much it stinks sometimes to be the one who plans the gatherings, buys the gifts, wraps the gifts, decorates the house, bakes the goodies…etc., and how that sometimes it feels like a never-ending race.
And you know what? This time, my year is going to be different.
In 2018 I only want ONE THING. I want to LIVE my life and not just SURVIVE it.
That means I will have to make some tough choices. I won’t be able to do all the things that I want to do. Because trying to do all the things is impossible.
It means downsizing the farm. (already in progress!) It means being realistic about writing projects, home improvement projects, and exercise plans. It means living my life with a purpose and being intentional about the ways I choose to spend my time instead of trying to “do it all” and ending up feeling like I’m constantly failing. Because overwhelmingly when I look at 2017, I see a lot of fails: Things I forgot. Things I meant to do and ran out of time. Things I wish I’d handled differently.
2017 was a tough year. My dad and my father-in-law both ended up in the ER, one of my aunts was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive cancer, and I battled health issues of my own. And one thing I became acutely aware of in 2017 was how much my priorities needed to be realigned. I finally (toward the end of the year) took a step back at work and cut my hours there. It was hard because for nearly a decade, my career has been such a huge part of who I am. And due to the nature of my work (I work with transplant patients and their families) it’s been hard to set boundaries. For so many years, I’ve worked around the clock. Now I’m finally claiming time that is for me and my family. I even removed my work email from my phone! That was a huge thing for me, and something that has been so beneficial.
In 2017, I also learned that social media is sometimes a giant stressor for me. I disabled notifications because the constant barrage of things caused so much anxiety. I even began to take small sabbaticals from all platforms and I liked it so much I made it a habit. I don’t talk about my anxiety often, but I will share that social media breaks seem to help me to not feel so overwhelmed all the time.
Looking ahead at a brand-new year makes me feel hopeful. It’s a blank slate, all fresh and shiny and new. I learned some hard lessons in 2017. Now I need to take those lessons and apply them!
My goals for 2018 are simple:
More prayer, less worry
More people, less things
More joy, less stress
My “one word” for 2018 is BALANCE! I am hopeful this will be the best year yet for me and my family–and you and your family, too!
How about you? Do you have a word for the new year? Something you hope to do differently this year? Something that you hope to accomplish this year? I’d love to hear about it.
P.S. A Recipe for Romance, the next book set in Arcadia Valley, is available for pre-order! It releases January 16!