At the start of every year, I always wait for this feeling of renewal – some sort of burst of energy to overtake me on January 1st. It never does. I’m sure this has a lot to do with the fact that we’re never at home for the holidays – so any desire to wake up bright and early on the first day of the year and tackle some long overdue house project or fill up the trunk for a trip to Goodwill doesn’t get very far. Even if I were to set some crazy goal like Run Every Single Day in 2016!* or Run a Zillion Miles in 2016!* it would still hit the back burner for a bit because, well, I wake up in Iowa, and only crazy people** run in that sort of weather. I’m (sort of) okay with cold weather, but I’m not foolish enough to think I can successfully navigate snow and ice. If you’ve ever seen me walk across a wintry parking lot you would understand – I have a greater fear of slipping*** than I do of any sort of rodent or reptile or flying or heights. I’d rather drive down an icy street than walk down an icy sidewalk.
*I have amazing friends who set – and meet – goals like this, so you’ll note that I labeled the goals as crazy, not the goal makers.
**Your goals might not make you crazy, but running around waist high piles of snow when it’s seven degrees outside certainly qualifies you for the title.
***Does this have a name? Let me check. Yes, it does! Pagophobia. I’m a pagophobic. Not to be confused with phagophobia, which is a fear of eating, which I don’t have. Obviously.
I actually received several very nice gifts that will make cold weather running more palatable, but I got very ill on the way to M’s parents house last week, and the resulting medication I was on made me really nauseous and dizzy, so I took it easy during our visit. To say that I’m excited for my core and cardio classes tonight is an understatement. My body is craving movement after so many hours in the car.
The point I’m dancing around here is that I always give myself a little time to settle on and settle into any resolutions that I might make. It takes us a little time – a week or two at least – to really get back to normal. There’s always a moment when, upon returning to our house after the last trip, I look around and sigh, frustrated at the accumulated piles and messes, the holiday decorations still in full force, the gifts received, but not even unpacked, the remnants of gift giving strewn about. The little one always makes a beeline from the car to her third floor bedroom to shut the door and decompress; the rest of start the evening’s march, a ballet of sorts, up and down the stairs dozens of times. If we manage to scar our children in any way, it will most likely be related to going up or down stairs with empty hands. The unforgivable sin in our house is walking past a pile on the stairs – and ignoring it.
Last year I dodged the whole resolution idea by stating my intentions for the year. And while we might have missed the mark a bit on some of our intentions for the house, I definitely think I carried through on my goal of practicing openness, stretching myself. It might seem like a bit of a cop out to restate the same thing for this year as well, but I’m going to anyway:
“Listening to that piece made me more aware of what is driving my intentions this year – to stretch my body, to craft a home, to open up more in my writing. It has nothing to do with goals of perfection – the perfect body, the perfect kitchen, the perfect blog. It really has to do with openness. Less opening, the verb, but more openness as a practice. Widening the backdrop of this life a bit.”
I’m hoping to push myself a little further in all of these areas.
Stretching my body: last year, at the ripe old age of forty, was the first year in my entire life that I really committed myself to building strength and flexibility. It’s not an overnight transformation, but I’m honestly surprised at what a difference a regular practice of challenging fitness routines can make.
Crafting a home: I’m going to do my best to enjoy the process, and I’m so excited for some of the things we have planned for the house. I’m going to commit the same sort of rigor and discipline to the planning and implementation of those projects, large and small, as I have to working out.
Opening up more in my writing: I’m going to try and worry less about what I’m going to write about or how I’m going to say something, and just write. I’m also going to try not to worry so much about the quality of the photos. It’s the artist in me – and the perfectionist – but I need to be okay with the fact that photography is a difficult, and unstudied, medium for me.
Outside of the big three above, I have a few smaller goals. I’d like to run in a few races this year – maybe not huge ones, but I’d like to participate in a few larger running events outside of my normal solitary practice. I’m still considering trying a half marathon over my birthday weekend in April. We have some exciting travel lined up! And some relaxing travel, too! And I want to continue to push myself in the kitchen. We do dinner well. The girls would love some more variety at breakfast, and I’d like to help E make a better school lunch at least a few days a week. And after all of this recent travel and shifts to our regular diet, I’d like to get better at our travel diets as well. We spend a whole lot of effort complaining about the sorry state of eating options when we’re not at home, but not a whole lot of effort being imaginative or proactive with a solution.
So here’s to good intentions, a fresh start, and a dent in my laundry piles this week! 2016, I’m ready.