I am so excited that yesterday I received my 2016 planner from Spark Notebook, which I had backed in a Kickstarter campaign. It was already funded so all I had to do was sign up and wait to receive it. I'll talk about the planner another time, but for now I want to focus on the planning sheets that the owner, Kate Matsudaira, is sending out for each week in December so we can reflect on 2015 and look ahead to 2016. Now that I'm out of crisis mode, this is an ideal time to do that. When I started answering the following questions, the answers just poured out of me.
WHAT WAS THE BEST THING THAT HAPPENED IN THIS YEAR?
I started my new job working for my husband's company instead of teaching school. It was a huge adjustment--once I caught my breath, I realized that with the exception of a couple of years when I stayed home with C, I had been tied to the academic calendar for 35 years (yes, I'm old.) But it was worth it.
OF ALL YOUR WORK THIS YEAR, WHICH ACCOMPLISHMENT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF?
While my work life was nice and family life is always rewarding, I'm most proud of myself for starting therapy again to dig myself out of my chronic depression and anxiety.
WHAT WERE YOU DOING WHEN YOU HAD THE MOST FUN?
Laughing with my family; spending time with our friend group; relaxing at home alone; tending to chores I didn't have time to do before; listening to audiobooks; reading blogs; writing.
DID YOU ACHIEVE ALL OF YOUR GOALS? WHY OR WHY NOT?
I don't know because I don't remember setting any. I was so desperate just to get out of my stressful job. I successfully did that, so I think I'd say I did okay.
WHAT ARE 5 THINGS THAT WENT WELL?
1. Beginning to work for Village Cupboards. I discovered I am good at office work and organization.
2. Relationships with my husband, kids, and parents. My kids especially are a source of so much laughter and joy in my life. I'm closer to my parents than I've been in my adult life so far. My husband and I had some conflicts but are coming through them with more empathy and closeness than before.
3. Blogging (even though I just started back blogging regularly in November). I have written some of the most powerful pieces I've ever written. My heart has broken...but broken open and my vulnerability has taken my writing to a whole new level. I love blogging because I can have a tangible connection with readers and get their input.
4. Getting to know the parents of my kids' friends. I didn't have much time for that before, unless we already went to church together. They are neat people and I'm glad my circle has expanded.
5. Therapy. My therapist says she just holds up a "mirror" to me and I process everything out loud while she listens and occasionally summarizes or asks questions when I (finally) get stuck. I've had some life-changing insights.
WHAT ARE 5 THINGS THAT COULD BE IMPROVED?
1. Obviously my chronic depression and anxiety is an ongoing area to target for improvement. Importantly, though, I'm realizing that it doesn't mean I'm a bad person for having these episodes. They are symptoms of an illness I deal with and I am learning to trust myself to manage them instead of freaking out, "It's BACK! THE SKY IS FALLING!"
2. My relationship with my husband. Our time together as a couple usually gets put on the back burner, and we need to make time for each other.
3. Working regularly rather than blowing it off just because I can (and once could not). I need to embody being a business owner (since I am a 25% partner).
4. Making time to spend with friends. I have spent more time with groups of women but not very much one-on-one interaction.
5. Create opportunities for our family to do fun things together to make memories rather than stare at screens. (I've already got some ideas going for this one; tune in later, as I'm going to blog about it!)
6. (Which was not on the list, but I just realized I need it.) Exercise. I didn't stay consistent with any certain routine although there were stretches of time when I was a gym regular. I need to make it a routine I will actually do on a regular basis ("No duh, Sherlock," as my 10 year old son is fond of saying.) This means it has to be super easy and so convenient that my excuses are...well, inexcusable.
I started writing about my new exercise plan, which I actually love and have done 5 out of the last 6 days (I had a sinus headache on Sunday), but then I realized it needs a post of its own.
Because it's not like it's common to make plans to start exercising in the new year and then bail out. That's never gonna happen to me. *snort*