With each new year, I, like many others, use this time to reaffirm the things I am doing in my life. I use this time to evaluate what is working and what isn’t, and to decide if there is value in changing things.
I don’t necessarily like the term ‘resolution’ because to me that has a fairly negative connotation. I don’t need to change everything. But I do take this time of year to reflect on the past, and to help me see where I want my future to go. I evaluate my financial standings and make my goals. I evaluate these goals frequently through the year and celebrate when I achieve a personal victory. I refigure things when something unforeseen comes up. As I take down the Christmas tree, I reaffirm my commitment to minimalism, and give the house a good scrub to ring in the new year. I use my vision board to help me map out my personal goals and desires. Am I where I wanted to be? Is there anything I need to adjust to get there? How is that book coming along? Have I made my goal in my photography progress? Did I finish that course yet? If the answer isn’t yes, then why didn’t they match up? If they did, what are my next goals?
We sit here, on the last day of the year. There is much joy to be celebrated from 2017. There will also be much joy to come in 2018. With some planning and positive reinforcements, it will be a great year to come.
Here we are on Christmas Eve.
In all the bustle of the season, have you forgotten about your own self care? Did you spend more time in the social world than you felt comfortable with, and spent your sleeping hours reeling from the experience, unable to rest? Have you spent hour after hour with cooking, cleaning, shopping and wrapping, giving up the time you needed to be your best self?
Self care is vital for your own mental and physical wellbeing. Yes, the holidays can be overwhelmingly busy, but you still have the power to say no. Say no to the social engagements that do not serve you well. Say no to the purchasing of gifts for people you may only see once or twice a year. Give gifts of experiences that extend beyond the physical gift on that one day of the year. Buy your holiday baking. Seek out a restaurant that you can purchase the holiday meal from, or have guests all bring a dish along and spread the load and the enjoyment.
Take time for you. Go see a movie that you want to see by yourself. Grab a book and sit in a quaint coffeeshop with a tea or a latte and enjoy the alone time while you read or watch people as they go about their own day. Take a bath, paint your nails, meditate or pray. Do whatever feels right for you to recharge your own soul.
Christmas is one day of the year. There are 364 other days that really are all the same, if we as a society hadn’t created such a demand for this particular calendar date.
Take good care of yourself.
This weekend, my youngest son and I went out for a while, just the two of us. There is a local centre that has a few boutiques that was having a family fun day. We decided to go and check it out. We wandered around and looked at the fun garden pieces they had for sale, and looked at the delicious organic candies and cookies. I offered to buy him a cookie so we could sit and enjoy the moment, but he opted not to. He asked instead if we could go and find a present that he could gift to his brother for Christmas. We decided to go to Indigo, but before shopping for his brother, we opted to sit and have a drink at Starbucks. He loves the vanilla bean Frappuccino, so I ordered him one of those, and I bought one of their specialty holiday hot drinks for myself. We sat and talked about the holidays and the excitement. We watched people as they came and went. He sipped from his straw as his feet dangled and swung while he sat in his chair. I watched my youngest son as he showed pure happiness by just having some one on one time with me, his mother.
Families often do things together, but it is so important to give children one on one time with their parent too. My older son gets his one on one time as we share our common passion of photography, but there was something magical about this time with the younger one. He is still so full of holiday excitement, seeing the magic of the season. I love the shimmer in his eyes as he talks about our traditions. And the most wonderful part is that none of it involves receiving gifts. It is all the other stuff: the holiday treats, the music, the friends that we gather with, and the special dinner that we decide collectively on having.
This was one of those moments where my heart swells with pride and love. My son is growing up with love and compassion in his heart. As he grows, he is thinking of others more and more. He is becoming more like his older brother every day. They both make me very proud.
Yesterday, I was out for breakfast with one of my newest, yet closest friends. We have regular ‘dates’, but sometimes they get shifted around due to other schedules. We are ok with it, and sometimes it allows us the opportunity to do something different and fun. We missed our regular Friday night get-together because of a work Christmas party. Instead, we opted for Saturday morning breakfast at a popular little restaurant in town.
We did our usual chatting, catching up on the last couple of weeks. Then she stopped and noticed something about me. She said how she can see me with short hair when we are older and showing more grey. She commented on us still getting together when we are old friends.
The thought of having old friends has always been elusive to me. I have been the type to move every twelve years or less, but knowing I will be here, in this location, for far longer it finally dawned on me: I can have old friends here. I have never given myself permission to look that far ahead in relationships because none of them, except for my absolute best friend 2000km away, has ever lasted the distances. Old friends. Greying, aging, and still there for each other kind of old friends.
This innocent comment that I am sure she had no idea of its impact, was in fact, the best gift I could have been given.
There is a certain sense of accomplishment that comes along with having a clean home. I find there is pleasure not only in the final product, but also in the process. I wouldn’t say I love to clean, but I do love when it is clean; but to get to that point, the action has to be taken.
I devote certain days to cleaning. I do a seasonal deep cleaning, so like spring cleaning four times a year. I love the freshness of this routine. It helps me get to the areas that I may have forgotten or overlooked during my routine cleaning. It is also that sense of accomplishment that rewards me every time I do it. It also helps me to flush out the unwanted clutter that somehow always seems to make its way back into my spaces.
Yesterday was one of those seasonal deep cleaning days. It was the three of us working away at it. Ok, it was mostly me, and my older son was a great help, but the younger one did minimal work because he has been down with a hefty cold and lacking on energy. Still, that feeling when you sit down, sore back and dried out hands from soapy water washes…that feeling is so rewarding. Good, old fashioned manual labor. It still has a place in our technologically driven world.
With a minimalist-style lifestyle, the seasonal cleaning sessions, as well as the weekly and daily I might add, they have become easier and shorter sessions. They no longer take a week, or a weekend. They take an afternoon, give or take. Another reason why I adore this philosophy. Now there is more time to do what I want, and I was able to sleep well last night knowing that the chore of house cleaning was completed.