I've been reading Gretchen Rubin's book Happier at Home. I read her Happiness Project in 2011, when I was feeling anything but happy. Some things in the book were a little hard to swallow at the time (not to mention her oldest daughter's name is Eliza) but one point she made stuck with me--we need to safeguard our happiness so that it can help us in times of adversity. Amelia made a point on her blog that more directly spoke to my experience as a bereaved parent trying to recover from loss: "I'm happy about all the things in my life I can control."
That seemed like a huge statement, and one I wasn't sure was true for me. So I started working to be happier in small ways--focusing on my marriage, walking the dog, doing yoga, repainting my living room, choosing carefully where and with whom I spent my time.
One thing Rubin does is choose a word to be her theme for the year. Her word was "Bigger," as a reminder to reach out and live the bigger life.
My word for 2013 is "Deliberate." As in "Be Deliberate."
I want to be deliberate especially in how I spend my time and money this year. I want to choose projects that are meaningful to me, and I want to scale back on things that aren't important to me.
This also means I need to have some conversations with David about places where our priorities don't match up exactly.
For example, I love photos. I love the snapshots we take on our phones and with our DSLR. I want to spend some time learning to use the camera's manual settings. But I also love professional-quality photographs. Having Caroline's newborn photos taken was an amazing (and emotional) experience for me--I ended up having the same photographer I had previously booked to have Eliza's photos taken. (She knew our whole story and was extremely kind, not to mention she took beautiful photos). I want to continue to have Caroline's picture taken by a professional every three months up to her first birthday.
David doesn't see the point of having her picture taken so often when we have so many pictures of her (my iPhone has over a thousand--at least 75% are Zuzu). But guess what? Neither of us has much skill as a photographer, (as David should know, since I often gripe about the composition of the photos he takes) and I want to have a collection of beautiful photos to capture her first year--the kind I'll get printed and framed and maybe splayed across a canvas.
This is a place I want to spend my money, so I told David that her six month photos can be my Valentine's gift. And since David spends an equivalent amount of money (or more...) on the golf course, I think that we've reached an amicable agreement.
I go back to work tomorrow, teaching a January term class that runs four days a week for three weeks. Then the semester starts with my MWF teaching schedule. I'm really happy with the balance of work and home-with-baby-time that I've worked out, but I want to make a conscious effort to be deliberate about it. That means when I'm at work, I need to be working (Pinterest doesn't count!). And when I'm at home, I want to be present and engaged (again: Pinterest doesn't count). (Although I do love me some Pinterest and it actually brings me a certain kind of happiness when I do have time to sit down and peruse it.)
So that's why my goal for 2013 is to Be Deliberate.
In keeping with that theme, here are a few resolutions:
1. Be deliberate with memory keeping (blogging, baby book, photos)
2. Be deliberate with time (less TV, more dog-walking, less zoning out on the computer, more conversation, more sewing)
3. Be deliberate with love (like last year, give proofs of love--hugs, kisses, notes, texts)
4. Be deliberate with money (be frugal, shop thrift and consignment, buy what's needed).
5. Be deliberately organized (at work and at home)
I realize these are kind of vague and broad, which makes resolutions harder to keep, but I have a long list of specific things I want to do that I won't bore you with (examples: create a household inventory, learn to use Blackboard for teaching, organize my photos by date and category, also learn to crochet).
The best thing about 2013 is that I feel like I have the energy to at least attempt these goals, if not achieve all of them. For a long time it felt like I was just surviving and now I'm working more on a purposeful existence. That sounds kind of lame, but it feels like a big deal.
Meanwhile, I'm already working on my memory keeping by loading all the photos from my phone onto my computer...
This was me a year ago:
|The Deuce. January 2012.|
What a difference a year makes.
|The Deuce. January 2013.|