And just like that, another beautiful year comes to an end. In some ways, time flew by. In other ways, it didn’t just fly by. I felt it in big waves, small joys and things in between. I have hundreds of memories, some in my head that I fear I will lose and others documented on the blog, on my iPhone and other places in the cloud! I am still undecided whether it’s a good thing when time just flies by or if it feels like it moved slowly. I have been spending a lot of time over these past few months reflecting on the year and thinking about this new year. It is an activity that gives me tremendous meaning and joy and reminds me of being more intentional with how I spend my time and energy.
Here’s what this past year felt like:
• Parenting – It was an absolute full year; full of lots of joy and lots of struggles. I feel nostalgic about how much both the kids have grown and that I no longer get to hold an infant in my hands, yet I am also grateful that my most sleep-deprived nights are hopefully behind me. Overall, I felt good about most of the parenting choices I made and my identity as a mother.
• Family – Continuing bullet # 1 above, I felt good about our family of four. We had lots of simple joyful moments with snuggles and cuddles and big events such as camping trips, road trips and plane rides! There were trips to the museums and zoo and many hours on trails collecting sticks and playing in muddy puddles. I had a lot of FUN with the kids and my husband. Not being in school in the second half of the year meant that I had a lot more headspace to make every weekend a mini vacation and that was awesome. Where I fell a little short was in my relationship with my parents and siblings. I would have liked to spend more time and energy with them. On the brighter side, the quality of my relationships felt good. At points of contention, I could sit down (or walk the stroller with the phone in my hand) and talk through what needed to be changed (and often it was my own mind!) and make repairs. I miss my parents, miss them a lot and I often wished, we didn’t live so many thousands of miles away. In the meantime, thank you WhatsApp for allowing papa to let us know what he ate for dinner last night. #simplejoys.
• Health – This was a year where I exercised the most, ever (even before I had kids). No big marathons or boot camps but simple consistent movement that really was a big source of joy and energy with everything on my plate. I had a good relationship with food though I know I can do better here. There were moments when my plate had more white rice than needed in response to stress or simple indulgence that often resulted in me feeling guilty later. I need to work on both – mindful eating + less guilt after a high carb diet. I’d like to meditate more and hopefully this will be on my 2018 list. Overall, mind and body felt nourished and I hope to continue the streak here.
• Service – This is one place where I feel really empty. I didn’t give much. My life was a little too focused on myself. I am a big believer that I can only give what I have so in some ways, it made sense to fill up my own bucket first but still, I am way too fortunate to have not given enough, not even a big meaningful check this year… I did fine on everyday kindness but hope to make this more of a priority for the new year. Again, it sometimes takes 5 minutes to bring a smile to someone.
• Work – It was a good, solid year. There were some tough moments: we had a lot of organizational changes, disappointment for not getting promoted when I was expecting it and some difficult relationships, but I experienced joy almost every Monday morning and that’s a good sign. I learnt, grew, contributed and enjoyed my day to day and the comfort of knowing how work supports many of my other goals and values.
• Marriage – There were lots and lots of bumpy moments on this journey. I had tears, a lot of them and a lot of joyful moments too. There were some beautiful kid-free hikes, dinners and evenings at the concert. We have grown and understood each other better and the dust seems to have settled and I feel a lot more hopeful and excited going into the new year.
• Relationships – I feel truly blessed to have incredibly rich friends with whom I got to spend some good quality time celebrating milestones and supporting each other through tough times.
• Personal Projects – Even though life was so full, I was able to carve out some time to create a few paintings for the house, take an art class with friends, complete my 52 hikes project and read several books (or listen to them on audible that I highly recommend). I didn’t write as much as I’d like to but was able to write a little more outside my own blog and even get paid for it. As a relatively novice writer, its always an encouragement to know that professional editors with a huge audience appreciate your work. And even though I want to write when no is reading, this sure helps.
This was my year. I wanted to be real and honest but as I am reading this post again, things sound overly positive. Not sure, if this is a function of the increased wisdom that grey hair brings (I have visibly more grey hair now) or the fact that I wrote this on vacation, sitting in a hotel room by the beach while the kids were sleeping, and the husband was packing the suitcases. In any case, I’ll take it as a sign that it was a good year with lots to be grateful for. However, as it’s been a few weeks since I wrote this, I also have a profound realization that not every year will be this calm, peaceful and uneventful. There will be deaths, disasters, and more losses because such is life. But for now, I am soaking in the goodness, praying for more resilience and joy in the world and ready to take on 2018.