UGH! Can we all just take a minute to wish 2020 a not-so-fond farewell?!?! As one of my favorite relatives used to say "Don't let the door hit ya, where the Good Lord split ya!" Last year was a hot mess. It set such a low bar, the expectations for this year can't get much easier, 2021 basically just has to show up and not be horrible lol.
In all seriousness, 2020 was amazingly difficult for many. It was hard to not feel overwhelmed with the doom and gloom of another disaster around every corner. But life is never one dimensional. Even in the darkest of times, we can choose to seek out light, choose to look for the happiness, choose to be grateful. I'm starting my New Year off choosing to be grateful, choosing to find the happiness.
I'm not gonna lie, I'm not great at it. I have a husband who is an ICU nurse so every weekend is like being on a gameshow where the prizes are either toothpaste or an angry cobra. Sometimes I have to push myself to get out of my anxiety/panic haze and remember that I have things to be grateful for. So today, I'm going to share with you not only the things from 2020 that were absolutely incredible, I'll share a few things I plan to do in order to cultivate happiness. My plan to become a Honeybee looking for the sweetness of life, if you will.
In 2020 (in no particular order, and by no means all of the good things): my cousin stepped up and took on becoming a small business owner AND had a baby, I gained sister-in-law and the cutest little chubby cheeked nephew there ever was! I finished an internship and an AS degree. My kid went from little kid to pre-teen in the blink of an eye.
I also managed half a school year of homeschooling, WHILE also taking 4 bachelors classes online myself.
Y'all that was a lot! :)
This year feels like a big giant question mark. There are so many things still up in the air. I still have to home school, still have a Bachelors degree to finish, still have a husband who has to care for the sickest patients out there, still have anxiety, still ...still....still...
You know what is at the top of my list? "Take A Breather". That's right. Give myself permission to take a day off. Give my self the ok to say "it can wait". Are there going to be a lot of those? Probably not, but here's how I plan on making it work:
Take time for me - this isn't some new age craziness. I have one kid and a husband who is gone most of the week. Don't even get me started on my awe for single mothers or people with a bunch of kids, or military families! We do school at home (me and her), I run errands, I cook almost every night.... groceries... dinner... dishes... laundry...the list can feel endless. And this isn't me grumbling. This is just to say, there are plenty of times where I don't feel like I can put things off and take a break. My list doesn't exactly feel flexible. I have deadlines to scan in her assignments and they don't always match up with the projects I have on my to-do list, so I juggle and squeeze and squash everything in. There are times where all I want is to take a nap but then I think "oh but I have to do X, Y, AND Z still". But here's the thing I learned after a full fledged mental meltdown courtesy of 2020.... I can't pour from an empty cup. My anxiety bleeds over into my child. My stress strains my marriage. I lose sight of what I have to be grateful for. I forget to be appreciative. I stop wanting to try. I become bitter and resentful, and eventually all I can focus on is what I'm putting out and how "no one" is putting in as much as meeeee. And even IF that were true (not likely, but even IF) - it all comes back to me. Can I control what's happening? Did I create this situation by taking on too much? Is my attitude about the situation making it worse? Can I change it? Can I alter it? If yes, get on it. If no, figure out what I can do to make the situation better for me/my family and then give it to God. Sometimes that is all you can do. Sometimes we're in that place for a reason. And sometimes you just need to lie in the grass, look up at the clear blue sky, put on some Bob Marley, and remind yourself that tomorrow is another day.
Look for Positive - did you know that negativity and pain stimulate the same reward centers in your brain as pleasure and happiness? You can literally rewire your brain to become dependent on negativity. And in the world we live in, the tools are plentiful! This year I'm going to push myself to think of the why, even when I'm staring down the worst of the worst. Giant piles of laundry? I have a machine that washes them for me and I don't have to take them to the river and beat them on rocks. Sink overflowing with dishes? I have a beautiful and healthy family that ate that food....and... I had food. Remote learning sucks? If I make a C, I make a C. I still passed and no one cares that I made a C (or maybe even an F) on one assignment, still gonna get a degree.
Be Grateful - how often do we really tell those around us how much we appreciate them? How often do we stop grumbling and remind ourselves that at some point we prayed for the things we have today? This year I'm going to remind myself over and over, every time I start to grumble, of the blessings in my life. The things no one is required to give me. The things that I could lose in an instant and what my heart might feel like if that were to happen. Then I'm going to take those thoughts and shove them out to the world...tell people I love them, tell people how much they made a difference, show my appreciation and gratitude...and stop grumbling!
Do nice things just because - I tend to do this because I really just love to see people smile, love to make people happy. But I tend to want to do it with gifts. There's nothing wrong with that at all, but I'm gonna mix in a little old fashioned kindness too. Texts, phone calls, and letters just to say "Hi" and "I love you". Holding the door. A simple compliment. Making an effort to see the human behind the frazzled emotion that may be in front of me. Saying please and thank you...every time, and tossing in a "I hope you have a great day"(and really meaning it) with a mega watt smile for added omph!
Change my attitude - this kind of falls hand in hand with Be Grateful, but have you ever watched Pirates of the Caribbean? Jack Sparrow comments at one point "The problem is not the problem, the problem is your attitude about the problem". Lord do I need to have this tattooed on my forehead. I will probably fail miserably, I will probably still find a way to be a big, grumpy baby about many many things. But this year, I will push myself to look inward when things get tough, before I look outward.
That's my list for now. Do you have one? What's on yours?
I promise the next post will be about food lol
Happy New Year, y'all!