“So you got to please yourself” ~ Ricky Nelson

So, I looked at my post from last New Year’s Eve where I talked about things I wanted to do. I was going to write about what I accomplished and what I failed to do, but I changed my mind. Instead, I want to figure out what’s really important to me and how I can live 2023 in MY best way possible.

I know I’m going to miss ma…and I know this will never end. However, this year is going to be full of difficult firsts: Valentine’s Day, ma’s birthday, Mother’s Day, Easter, Memorial Day, etc. And it’s also going to be hard to see spring come out all over when ma looked so forward to it. She loved walking with her friend and they loved getting out in the sun after a crummy winter.

And this winter hasn’t really started here in good ole’ Illinois. It’s 50 degrees (I don’t know how to make the ‘degree’ circle 🙄) right now and this warm trend is going to continue a bit. But then it’ll hit – January and February with dismal days, pretty snow that quickly turns to gray slush, and getting that cooped up feeling that always seems to really rev up after New’s Years.

However, ma loved winter and Lord knows she told me time and time again. There was nothing she liked better than getting into her bubble bath (from which she’d sometimes Facetime me…I’m still trying to heal from that 😳), slathering on her Bath and Body lotion she got when they were on sale – 3 for the price of 1, getting her jammies on that she invariably got from Kohl’s…but only if she had a 30% off coupon, and then sitting in her chair while either playing on her iPad or cross stitching while watching a show she’d describe to me the next day in great detail.

When I think about it, ma truly did try so so hard to make the best of everything. Terri and I were talking the other day about things ma told us when she was dying, and she said how she always tried her hardest with us. In fact, she said that a few times…and we don’t know why. She did her best for us…always…and we wonder if she didn’t think it was enough. So, let me put that to rest: “Ma. It was more than enough.”

And that’s all any of us can do, isn’t it? Try our best. Sometimes I think New Year’s causes us to not only look back at the year…but at all of our years. I’ve done a lot of crap I regret…as a mom, a wife, a girlfriend, a professor, and a friend. But I tried. I tried always to do my best in the situation I was in.

But you know, sometimes it’s hard to know what ‘best’ is. I struggled with that when O was a little guy. When he would have trouble at school, I’d struggle with whether or not I should intervene or let him stand on his own 2 feet. When he’d be naughty, I’d teeter between punishing him or hugging him since I knew he had to be upset about something. No matter what choice I made, I did my best.

Hmmmm. What’s best for us? You? Me? Is it pleasing others? Is it always putting other’s needs ahead of our own? Is it doing what is expected so it will be accepted? Is it lying and disregarding our own beliefs so we won’t be challenged on them? Is it making sure we put on our happy faces to make others comfortable when in fact, we want to cry?

Here’s the thing. When we always do what’s best for others…it’s often sacrificing what’s actually best for us. And that can cause resentment, emptiness, anger at ourselves for not seeing ourselves as a person who deserves the effort we put into others.

I’m not talking about selfishness. I guess I’m simply talking about being more attentive to our needs. Being more understanding. Being more forgiving. And I think I want to really focus on this in 2023. I want to always try my best for others…of course I do! But I also want to be more cognizant of making sure I’m in that equation as well. If others deserve that effort from us…shouldn’t we focus it inward as well?

I think ma would like this. She always tried her best in everything and for everyone, but after her divorce, she learned to try her best for herself too. She did things that made HER happy. She ate what SHE was hungry for. Decorated how SHE wanted. Spoke what SHE thought. And you know, it was amazing to see this in her. It never…ever…took away from what she gave her family. In fact, it added to it. She was content in her life…and that had a positive effect on us all.

Happy New Years, peeps. Thanks for spending a 3rd year with me in this blog and thank you for your kindness over these last few months. It truly means the world to me. Take care of yourselves this year. Work on making YOU happy. And remember that in terms of value, you are just as important as anyone else…and deserve to be treated that way.

Love you ma. Love you more.

Kristi xoxo

 Ain’t No Mountain High Enough ~Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell

So, blech. I’m going to preface this post with a trigger: if you love New Years and hate ‘party poopers’ click away…this might get you right in the gut.

Anyhoot, I really don’t like New Years. I know…I know…that sounds horrible but in a nutshell, when our ‘modern’ Gregorian calendar was created in 1582 by Pope Gregory the XIII, it followed the solar year and the months represent God or Goddesses, festivals, numbers, etc. It ‘starts’ a new solar year but to me, it’s still a sort of man made construction of time. I don’t know if that makes sense…but in my little bipolar brain, it does. Go figure.

This pattern is available on ETSY by OhMyStitchesShop!

As I’ve mentioned before, I pretty much hate toxic positivity. Things like “You can be anything you want if you lift up your wings like a butterfly, soar through the sky with beauty and light and change the entire world for the better while being the best you can be everyday of your life” You get my point. Although actually, this might look mighty good on a cross stitch sampler…hmmmmm…

But, I do like this quote from Meister Eckhart very much: Be willing to be a beginner every single morning.” Isn’t this great? And this quote encapsulates why New Years is no biggie to me.

Isn’t it true that every single day is the time when we can start anew and that January 1st isn’t the end all/get all ‘perfect’ time to begin? Why can’t we resolve to have a better attitude…more willingness…greater kindness any day? Why is the first of the year the time when people promise things like: “I’m going to eat the most unhealthy I can throughout the holidays but start a vigorous workout routine for 2022 while training for a marathon during which time I give a vast amount of my earnings to charity, completely makeover my house which will be the envy of the neighborhood, and never cut my bangs again.” Why can’t these (or maybe more realistic 🙄) resolutions be started on March 2nd or June 6th or September 24th? Why is January 1st ‘it’?

Isn’t ma cute?

According to Forbes: ” Studies have shown that less than 25% of people actually stay committed to their resolutions after just 30 days, and only 8% accomplish them.” See, resolutions are promises to do or not do something…they are somewhat open and directionless. Whereas goals, which experts think are much more pragmatic and have an aim to them…something that will be accomplished. Something more specific.

So a resolution might be: “I’m going to eat more healthy everyday.” A goal would be: “I’m going to eat 3 servings each of fruits and veggies and cut down the sugar and fat intake in order to lose 15 pounds in 2 months.” My dad really taught me about goals when I ran my first marathon. He had me tape a training schedule to my fridge which would tell me daily/weekly mileage that would prepare me for the run. Everyday I had a specific distance and would highlight it after I ran. The schedule kept me focused, the goal was clear and I doubt I would have run the marathon had I not done this. In short saying “I’m gonna run a marathon” is too vague.

I’m guilty of this too though – I’ll say things like “I’m going to be more compassionate” but HOW can I do that? Have a schedule of volunteer hours? Turn off all of my screens when talking to a student or ma? Asking about people and actually listening to the answer? Yes…I’m going to try.

In a Parade article by Megan Grant, influencer Mik Zazon talks about 55 resolutions that people can work on and I’m going to rephrase the ones I want to incorporate in my life in a more specific way to me:

  • Do at least 1 random act of kindness a month such as helping a neighbor with a chore, buying items for our DV or homeless shelters like underwear/toiletries, etc.
  • Consciously shy away from gossiping – and yes, we all do this!
  • Keep a grateful journal which I write in every night.
  • Put $500 a paycheck into my savings account.
  • Decrease what I spend on ‘extras’ that I don’t really need.
  • Talk to myself…and others…with kindness.
  • Stay in touch with people that matter and actually speak to them instead of texts.
  • Start baking for family/friends/neighbors and try new recipes.

Mik goes on to state: “…resolutions are in fact NOT an invitation to start a diet or a workout plan but a beautiful reminder that a new year can bring new life to our passions.” Isn’t this great? To look at goals/resolutions as NEW life…NEW passion…NEW beginning? But we can do this NEW stuff anytime we want. If New Years goes by and we aren’t accomplishing these things, then start that day. Start on a Tuesday. Friday. Spring. Summer. In other words, just grow. Finally, I love this quote from Arthur Ashe: ‘Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.’

Happy New Year, peeps…you all deserve a great 2022! I’ll be thinking of you while I cuddle Ed and Mally in my flannel thrift shop nightie while watching “Mommie Dearest” on Netflix, eating the Hershey kisses pop gave me, and getting into bed by 9:00 which is a tad late for me. It’s gonna be a rockin’ time! 😀

Kristi xoxo

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