Making a grand return for 2016

There’s nothing quite like the end of another year to cajole one into revisiting  a lost art. Or, at least, a seemingly defunct blog.

12295462_979561608752927_2711349751519951770_n2015 has been a fantastic year in many ways [pictured on left: the 2016 YNPN Triangle NC Board of Directors – FREAKING AWESOME PEOPLE!). First time kayaking. Vacations to Michigan, New Mexico, Disneyworld, Austin, to name a few. Marathon in Knoxville. Family visits. Hosting parties.

Outside of my own narrow slice of life, it has also been horrific, inspiring, and fiercely unapologetic.

With the goal of doing more reflection in not just the new year but in the years ahead, I won’t view writing in this blog as a “must do” but rather a “want to do.” I hope this mind over matter attitude will prove to be a healthier, more sustainable approach to this desired outlet.

As it is that time in the calendar, I have made a list of eight resolutions/goals/pursuits for 2016. Some offer more specific, tangible results. Others are reminders of what is truly important in my life and to continue prioritizing those above meaningless tasks.

1. Eat fewer meals in front of screens. I’ve developed the bad habit of eating both my breakfast and lunch, during the work week, in front of my computer. Then, I come home, cook dinner, and eat in front of the TV. Food is such an integral part of life; how can I enjoy it in all of its glory if I’m treating it as a transaction? I want to be more present during this special part of the days.

2. Mail 365 cards.  I can hear you adding up the cost of postage already. Handwritten cards are, in my opinion, one of the greatest gifts we can send or receive. There are too rare in today’s society. Additionally, I have lost touch with many important people from various aspects of my life – previous jobs, schools, etc. I want to use this goal as a mechanism to reach out and at least let them know that I think of them (and a little more impactful than simply another Facebook wall message).

3. Do an unassisted pull-up. Friends, I have dreamed, since the days of elementary school physical education, to complete an unassisted pull-up. No band. No bar. No help. This will be my year.

4. Use more natural cleaners. To continue removing toxins from our home, I have already begun doing my homework into utilizing more natural, green cleaning agents. Castile soap. Vinegar. Lemon. I am committed to eliminating the dozen cleaning products currently under the kitchen sink and creating homemade, safer agents to freshen our clothes and our shower.

5. Listen more, speak less. A critical component of leadership. I still struggle with being a fully active listener, whether I’m already contemplating a response in my head or finding distraction with some other external force (MY PHONE IS BLINKING. MUST LOOK NOW.) I am also committed to stepping back more, and being more thoughtful in when I pursue that step forward to ensure all voices have an opportunity to share.

6. Read. Read. Read. I seem to go in spurts in the reading realm. Reading can help replace that screen time at meal time space, at least at the workplace. I’ve recently been struck with a desire to learn more about both Southwestern history, particularly around indigenous and native tribes, and East Indian history. The library card will get a workout in 2016.

12019902_10104262292348862_2436860455958088394_n7. Adventures with Aaron. Of course, it seems obvious to note that I want to spend more time with my partner. But, I know that I can push Aaron-time to the back burner (“I need to get this done, babe…”). There will always be work. But the time to travel, to explore, to be with one another is so limited. Our journeys may take us 10 minutes away from home or 1,000 miles. Aaron is so good about creating plans to take those ventures. I want to follow in his pursuits and discover ones for us to take in 2016 as well.

10155330_10104454329963942_9101770707478824613_n8. Make time to laugh. There are days that go by that I’m not sure if I actually laughed. Isn’t that sad? I think so. Whether it’s a pause to watch a YouTube video, to listen to someone share a story, or to play with the cats, I need to ensure laughter is a part of each and every day.

I also refuse to be constrained by the number of items on the list. I really wanted to have 10. But, you know what, I think eight is enough for now.

What are your goals for 2016? Or for life? Or for today?  I’m looking forward to trying my first cauliflower pizza crust tonight and being at home, with Aaron, embracing the craziness that is college football playoffs.

8 thoughts on “Making a grand return for 2016

  1. “I want to write.” may become “It is my pleasure to write.” Everything here is amazing. More than I will achieve. But I did go back to Tai Chi this morning. I guess that was my pull up but I still need assistance! Happy New Year!

    • I certainly hope it does, Connie. I love that phrase: “It is my pleasure.” So powerful and heartfelt. Happy New Year to you & Bob! Hey, it never hurts to have assistance, right? 🙂

  2. Welcome back to blogging, Katie! I can relate to a lot of your goals, especially regarding adventures. I spent so much time working in 2015, which I loved, but I’ve realized I need to balance work time with fun time.

    In 2016 I want to be able to celebrate accomplishments in a more meaningful way. (Not just work/professional accomplishments!) I’m not sure what form that will take yet, but I’ve started by buying a planner that has space for this type of reflection.

    Happy New Year!

    • Thanks Liza! Ah, the inevitable life/work balance. Have you read the articles about work-life integration? It seems apropos for how our generation approaches those aspects: not as two distinct entities but a continuation of one into the other, a blending, if you will.

      I celebrate your goal of celebrating accomplishments more! Kim, one of the life coaches at the national YNPN conference, shared with me that was one of her goals in 2016. She would write them down on a Post-It note and reflect on them before immediately rushing on to the next project. I hope that you will also share these accomplishments out in the world so we can join you in celebration.

      Happy New Year to you as well!

      • Just saw your comment, Katie! I’ve definitely seen articles on blending work and life. One I saw referred to “intentional imbalance,” where things may be out of balance for a time, but it’s purposeful. That resonated with me.

    • It’s amazingly tough! I would eat mine in front of my computer so I could use that time to read articles. But, I would quickly come to the end of my bowl without really registering that I had eaten. Two days in, and it’s not easy to do.

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