Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Goodbye, 2013...

Boston Commons, trying not to fall down on the frozen wading pool!
Well, on this New Year’s Eve, I feel how probably many of you readers feel. How can 2013 be drawing to a close? And yet, I feel like I’ve done so much this year, was it really only one year? Did I really live in California just four months ago? Have I really lived on the East Coast for four months already?

In lieu of a New Year’s Resolution (a practice which I adhered to even when I was a child), I decided to focus on the list of priorities I wrote down a few weeks ago.

It had been a truly terrible week. Midway through, I’d cried because there wasn't enough cocoa powder to make brownies, but a few days later I discovered an entire new container of cocoa powder that had escaped my notice during the meltdown. That anecdote sums up that awful week! Deeper than artificial concerns of cocoa, however, I felt that I didn't know where my life was headed. I felt lost, drifting along without purpose.

By the time I talked to my dad on the phone, I was starting to feel better, but he gave me an idea that really gave me perspective on how to pursue direction in my life. As soon as I hung up the phone, I made a list of six priorities, and well as goals for one year out, five years out, ten years out, and one to happen during my lifetime. Dad cautioned that my priorities and goals needed to be flexible; while it is fabulous to set high goals in the first draft, I needed to allow myself to be realistic about what could truly be accomplished in these time frames, and to give myself grace when I mixed up my priorities.

I've heard suggestions here and there to make lists of priorities and goals, but I didn't truly understand the impact of such a suggestion until I sat down and acted upon it. I found the act of writing down priorities to be very meaningful. Somehow that act made abstract aspirations seem more concrete and attainable. Suddenly life felt more meaningful, just with a few words on a page.

So that was about half a month ago, but my life has not magically changed. I have not suddenly achieved any new goals or discovered radical breakthroughs. Yet I haven’t been crying over cocoa either. So my idea for tapping into the freshness and vitality of a New Year is to review my priorities often, and make changes to reflect those priorities.

Here are my priorities for this upcoming year:

1. God – seeking Him in all that I do. While He should be my number 1 priority, I realized as I was making this list that far too often, I am my number 1 priority. I’d like that to change.

2. Aaron – growing our marriage, setting his needs above my own.

3. Family and friends – letting them know they are loved and appreciated.

4. Myself – while I shouldn't be the number 1 priority, I do need to take care of myself.

5. Writing and my current job – continue to grow my writing, and be intentional with my time at the preschool with the kids.

It’s far too easy to allow priorities to become skewed, but if I truly lived according to these priorities, I think the priorities would naturally guide the goals, and allow some of them to fall into place.

So here’s to 2014! I am traveling back to California for a visit, so I won’t be blogging for about two weeks, but I’m sure I will have lots of stories and ideas to post about when I come back. I hope you all enjoy a beautiful start to the New Year!

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