There’s something about the turning of a new year that makes us yearn for change, for renewal. We feel stale and heavy, tired and in need of something new. New routines. New habits. New spaces to grow and new ways to feel like we’re truly getting the most out of life.
We want a challenge, something to make us feel a radical–and good–difference.
Maybe it starts with food. Or money. Or exercise. Or how we spend our time. We think of things to resolute to always or never do this year.
And by March (and that’s being generous), we have almost no memory or what we promised to always always do. Or we’ve slipped a few times and the feeling of failure set it, so we threw in the towel.
So why doesn’t it last?
Why do we find ourselves in the same spot each year, wanting some of the exact same things to change but feeling like we just can’t stick to it?
Are we too quick to jump on the newest bandwagons that were already headed for a crash course? Do we need more dedication and hard work? Did we just not want it enough? Or are resolutions a total waste of time?
Try harder? Stop trying all together?
While I don’t have the answer as to why it feels like trying to make big changes in our lives is all fizzle and no bang, I have decided what my word of the year will be this year:
In 2013, I began the year striving to live well in the in between. Last year I began the year with the word fasting, 5 months of it to be exact, and it was so good. I love the discipline of telling myself no and learning to live without. And while those things were good, this year I want to just make peace with reality, come to terms with the things I do have time for and let go of the ones I don’t, and give myself the freedom not to be a do-it-all.
In no way do I sense my life slowing down, leveling out, or coming to a point of steady predictability, and I think that’s a good thing. Life is supposed to be ever changing, always moving, adjusting, adapting, and growing. I don’t want to be still and stagnant, but what I do want is to strive for a healthy middle ground a midst it all.
And I’m sure that will still mean seasons of necessary fasting and also ones of welcomed abundance. We plan to take part in frugal February, cutting way back on our spending and showing our savings account a little extra lovin’. We may do some fasting in others ways that month…whatever it feels like we need to get our lives back to balance. Nothing extreme or wildly different than what we’re doing now, just a little leveling out.
There are so many things I would love to promise to do this year….cook more, spend less, work out consistently, make time for creating and crafting, plant a successful garden, keep in touch with more friends, learn to sew..and the list goes on. But instead of taking on one (read: all) of those things, I will take the year as it comes. I will enjoy what’s going on around me rather than wishing everything was different.
And balance isn’t something you achieve, like a gold card membership you get to keep cashing in rewards for after you’ve earned it. It’s a living organism, always changing. For us, the middle of 2015 will flip our worlds upside down when we welcome our sweet baby girl into the world and, once again, strive find a new sense of balance.
I could resolute to be super mom, hoping and praying to do it all right with no sleep, no experience, no stretch marks and no worries OR I could expect changes, curves and bumps in the road. I could expect for “mother’s instinct” to kick in and make each decision with ease and perfection, or I could welcome help, advice, and the sweet forgiveness that comes when I mess up.
I also have fears. I fear my identity will be lost in being a mom. That I will forget how to have normal conversations with people about something other than how many times I had to change a poopy diaper that day. I fear that I will become a hermit with a nursing kid attached to me, keeping me prisoner in my own home. I fear not having grace for my body as it changes again and again, which is why the word balance is exactly what I need.
Through the seasons and changes of this next year, I promise to let things get out of whack for a bit, knowing it won’t always be this way. I will try not to freak out when things are harder than I expected, and I’ll cut myself a break when I do anyways. Over and over again I will strive to keep finding that middle ground, but also keep my sanity when it’s nowhere in sight. Because balance isn’t control. It doesn’t mean everything is perfect.
Balance means I’ve found a calm in the middle of the storm, that my soul has found a way to rest in spite of whatever is going on around me.
Some weeks I will feel together and on top of it, ready to conquer the world. Other weeks I will struggle to dig myself out from under the pile of tasks, laundry, a dirty house and unrealistic expectations.
I will eat fruits and vegetables, and I will love me some cheese. I will walk until my feet hurt, and I will let my butt imprint the couch on a Saturday. Give and take. Working and resting. Striving and letting go. I will invest in my community and I will allow myself times of quiet. I will try harder and I will let a few slide.
I will awkwardly embrace new rhythms until I’ve practiced enough to know the beat by heart. And then I’ll start a new one all over again.
May your new year bring wonderful and challenging changes, keeping you on your toes and teaching you as you go. Set goals, but go easy on yourself. Maybe you need less of something, more of another, or something smack dab in the middle.
May you let a few expectations you have for yourself slide, but may you never stop seeking, never stop journeying, and never stop learning new rhythms.
In 2015, I wish you peace, balance and rest for your soul. It’s gonna be a great year.