Your Resolutions Can Kiss My Tushie

I’ve been thinking a lot about resolutions lately. Not sure why ;). I haven’t had a resolution for some time. Seriously, I let every year go by with the thought of what’s the point? Most resolutions never see the light of day or make it out of the month of January. I am much better at just starting new habits whenever and then finding ways of sticking too them. I feel the same way about gifts. I’d rather send a surprise gift out of the blue than one done out of obligation to a specific date. Besides I can’t really say “lose weight” or workout, those aren’t resolutions to me, those are a way of life. So usually the New Year is rung in without so much as a how do you do or any fan fare whatsoever. But this year I stumbled on an interesting project that I think is not only a great way to start, and with any luck continue, the year, but it falls in line with being happy and having a better life.

I read about the 365 Grateful project. What is that you say? Well it was a project started some years ago by a woman who wasn’t feeling all that fulfilled or happy. When she looked at her life she had all the things she hoped for and frankly a pretty good life, but she just felt sad and like something was missing, like life should be/could be better. Hm… does that sound like anyone we know and love? Yeah, I just lumped you into people who love me :) You’re welcome. So she started a project of writing down something she was grateful for everyday. Now we have all heard of gratitude journals and how powerful they can be, I’ve even tried to start one once upon a long time ago, but what she did next is really what intrigued me. She made it a picture gallery of the things she was grateful for. I loved this idea for two reasons, one I love photography and two it really forced her to look at every moment of the day in order to identify which one to take a photograph of. So instead of reflecting at the end which moment she was grateful for or what thing, she was forced to be aware of EVERYTHING all day long. Imagine if you were considering gratitude all day long everyday? What would that look like?

I will tell you, you’d be grateful for running water in your home because so many in the world don’t have this. You’d be grateful for working  heat when its 4 degrees outside because people die of being cold. You’d be greatful for your husband sweeping you up for a silly impromptu dance that made you late but also made your morning. You’d be grateful for a song from your youth that makes you dance and be a complete fool at the Costco gas station just to make your family, and apparently loads of other drivers smile. Hey, it’s only day 6 so I can’t say it has changed my life yet, but what I can say is I am more aware than ever of how truly wonderful this life is, and it’s only been 6 days. What might I feel by December 31, 2014??? I’m excited and terrified to know.

So the woman in the project ended up finding something she had been searching for all along. She found happiness. And guess what? It was happiness derived from everything she ALREADY had. What you say?? how is that possible?? Didn’t she have to lose 10 pounds or get a raise or win the lotto? Um.. no. She hadn’t made any resolution except to notice what she already had. I mean how hard is that? You already have it! All you have to do is notice it. You don’t have to set aside 40 min to run or stop eating that candy bar. You don’t have to call your mother or even clean your bathroom. All you have to do is open your eyes and notice the zillion ways your life isn’t so bad; like indoor plumbing. Who’s with me? Let’s give a big shout out to indoor plumbing. I mean without indoor plumbing you wouldn’t have to clean your bathroom, but I’ll take that over peeing outside any day. (I get cold fright and it takes forever to start the flow which results in me being extra cold and hopping which results in me getting pee on myself, which usually results in one or more people laughing at me. So go indoor potty!)

Anyway, I am not setting a resolution because I do much better with challenges. So I am challenging myself to find something to be grateful of everyday. Every single day. 1 Picture of something or one line to say, this is what I am grateful for. Because I highly suspect that with a running tally of awesome things to go by that at some point I will being to see the happiness just like the original woman who started the project did. I am in love with this idea. It isn’t about depriving yourself of something or setting yourself up for failure. It is all about awareness and engagement and joining in your life. No longer just going through the motions until you reach the conclusion. No longer skimming the day and just getting a gist, but truly really feeling, experiencing, loving, every single day.

I have a good life. That is just the thing. I have a great husband (he isn’t perfect, but he is way better than average), I have amazing children who say hysterical things and hold my hand and tell me they want to keep me. I have a house I love even if it is small, I have dogs that are obedient(mostly), loving(when not killing rabbits), and snuggly (when clean). I have a good job that demands little of me. I have the opportunity to work from home, so I see my children all day. I have family and friends who love me. But I am still not quite there. I can’t put my finger on it. I’m not depressed, but I’m not feeling 100% either. It’s hard to explain unless you’ve been there. And I suspect some of you have been there, or are right there right now even. This woman named Hailey Bartholomew was there, she sat right where I am (figuratively of course) and she made it to the other side, happier, more in love, and feeling great. So if a random cool lady in Australia can do it, so can a random cool lady in Colorado. Though frankly speaking, she did get to do in Australia which I argue gives her a leg up. So I resolve to make it to Australia this year… damn it! I said no resolutions! :)

Jan1- I got my first mommy bling today. Hand made by Xaven. Eat your heart out Pandora charms and Silpada; you ain’t got nothing on the fine craftsmanship of my 3 year old. I am grateful for “real” jewelry and presents from the heart.mom bling

Jan2-Dog kisses. Do I need to explain?

Jan3-Little boys with shy smiles covered in crumbs. I am grateful my children are healthy and silly.DSC_0170

Jan4-My husband pulling me into his arms and dancing with me. Yes it made us a little late, but I am grateful he still wants to dance for no reason at all.

Jan5-Little man slept in his big boy bed for the first time. I am grateful he is so easy with change. Not like his mother at all. I am also grateful for my other son telling me he wants to keep me and  he loves me as he strokes my hair and falls asleep. I may never find another romance as good as this one.DSC_0182

What I am reading: The Fault in Our Stars By John Green This book did not appeal to me when I read the description. it was on sale but I avoided it because I just thought it would be terrible. Then I saw a vlog post by the author about health care and decided that anyone who talks like that is probably a kick ass author. And you know what? He is. I can’t put it down. I mean I have a life already. Plus, I won’t lie, I think I have a crush on this man’s mind.

What Else I am reading: A book that was free on Kindle last week. I love free. Pocket Your Dollars: 5 Attitude Changes That Will Help You Pay Down Debt, Avoid Financial Stress, & Keep More of What You Make by Carrie Rocha

What I am listening to: Another is Waiting By Avett Brothers

Now moment: Seriously, it has to be just being a complete dork at the Costco dancing to “Lean on me” for my children, husband and random other gas pumpers. I haven’t been so silly since my sister died. It was ridiculous and my only regret is my husband didn’t film it.

Inspirations from the Ether: The 365 Grateful this is a video of the back story. Go ahead and be inspired. Otherwise at least see I am not crazy.

 

The Best of 2013

I’m not going to lie, 2013 kicked my proverbial ass in many ways. In other ways it was one of the most eye opening and life defining years of my life. Entering into motherhood three years prior had left me feeling like I’d lost myself. Losing my sister three years ago left me feeling broken.  I continued moving forward because that is what life is about, that is how you get unstuck from the muck and that is how you create the life you want, but in many ways it was just me going through the motions as opposed to me really living life. On the outside it looked like I was getting stuff done, sticking to a plan, on the inside it was like watching a movie and wishing it was over so I could sleep. Don’t get me wrong, I love my children, I love my husband, I love my life, but sometimes life knocks you down and makes other plans and you can stop and wallow in that shit or you can give it the middle finger and keep on moving even if you are injured (see that old intentional living I have been going on about for months).

2013 gave me a sick baby and doctors and hospitals and people I wish I had never had the need to meet, but am so grateful I did. It had my family discovering that Celiac Disease is actually a positive thing (when I consider the other potential options). It had me falling in love with my husband all over again by being lucky enough to watch him embrace his life as a responsible adult (something I think men struggle with). 2013 had me reach my pre baby weight but not my pre baby body (I still hope to shock and amaze you with before and after photos one day, maybe a 4 pack at 40 kind of thing by June??) but I learned my ability to be a dude is far more important than a flat stomach.  2013 saw my mother move to our property, my oldest learning how to be a good big brother, and my youngest potty training himself. 2013 let me reconnect with old friends, find my soul sister, and create laughter. But 2013 also brought me something else, this blog.

To some of you that may not even be note worthy. To me it has been a journey, and at times, an eye opening experience as I peruse all things in life looking for a better life, a happier life, a good way to live. By writing about my thoughts, by conveying what I have learned and all I have read I have not only learned much about me, I’ve learned so much about that better life. I am now able to turn off my mind when it tries to harm me with thoughts about my past or future, thoughts I cannot change and events I cannot alter. I have learned how to find happiness in this moment, how to let go of pain, how to manage my finances, how to talk to my husband, how to confront constructively, and how to love more completely. I have far more patience than I did when I started this journey and I can actually see the me I used to be before kids, before loss. There she is, looking at me in that mirror. There she is lounging surrounded by pups. There she is playing games with her kids. She didn’t disappear, she just got a little lost.

I spent a lot of time this year feeling defeated, scared, beaten down, broken, just utterly lost. I was frustrated that life wasn’t what I had been sold, that things could go horribly askew without my consent, and that so many people all over the place, every where I looked, were suffering. Then one day I sat down and I Googled happiness. I Googled, happy life. I Googled Zen. And it changed everything. Something so silly and ridiculous changed everything. So while we are better off financially than we were, our son thankfully does NOT have cancer, and our family life is full of laughter and peace, I know, I know in my heart and my head that I got to this place thru the journey of intentional decisions. Of choosing to shape my future so it would not be defined by my past. Of choosing the identity I wanted instead of the one I had fallen into.

While I think there is value in many of the posts from 2013 (I am bias after all), here are the most popular posts and those YOU found value in. May 2014 be a year where we all continue to make our own destinies and give the middle finger to anything that tries to stop us.

Things Dads Do- Apparently you all love videos, especially if it is a video of my husband doing questionable things with his children.

How to get laid more- Apparently you all love having sex too. I’m shocked by this one. :)

I help you all pick a deodorant- or at least I make you feel less alone picking a deodorant.

3 Songs- I got a lot of feedback on this one that it reminded people to remember what they love about their significant other. It went a way I didn’t expect when I wrote it, I’m glad you all took it another way. I was instantly more grateful.

You and Your Finances- This one made you all feel a little less alone. I know it made me feel less alone and it was the first step, a coming out if you will, that allowed us to get on the road to fixing our finances.

How to Kick Ass at the Gym- Speaks for itself.

and my favorite, not just because it is about me, but because writing it and really considering it,  opened my eyes and reminded me of who I am and why I like that person. About Wendy