Tuesday, December 31, 2013

On NEW New Year's Resolutions

Most people my age have all but given up on new years resolutions. There is a certain degree of cynicism or sense of defeat. The belief that things are set in stone and barr someone who has the willpower of a saint,  we can’t change anymore, so what is the point of starting the year off by setting your self up for failure?

Recent research indicates that a) you can change and b) you are more likely to do so if you try on new years. For more on that  click here.

Further, other (probably not hugely scientific) research shows that the best way to make changes is in small steps, and past (personal) experience has shown that even small periods of change can have an impact. So why not give it a go?

I for one am unable to go the middle ground. It’s all or nothing, but  an indefinite “all” feels all  too daunting. So here is my proposal: write down those things you’ve been wanting to change. In my case that would be:

-       Eat healthy: no dairy, no gluten, no sugar (ouch)
     No alcohol
-       Exercise twice a week (ideally more, but trying to go for something realistic…)
-       Go to bed max 11:30 (if I can’t eat sweets that should be easier)

And your new New Years resolutions  will be to do this, ALL of this, the full monty, FOR ONE MONTH ONLY. I strongly believe that the one month goal line  is going to help, and we get to experience what being that perfect us would feel like. Worst case scenario we detox from the holidays. 

Personally, I’m going to start January 6th and carry on til February 6th , because we   all know that January 1st doesn’t count.  This means I am off the hook for valentines. 

and then, after a month, we'll see what happens...

join me?

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

December Challenge: 1,000 words

There's the old saying that a photo is worth 1,000 words.  Give us a photo with that impact. A photo  that sums up some significant event  of your 2013 … or  1,000 words about a pivotal moment in 2013.
this isn't a pivotal moment, but it was special. having just moved back to the us, as spring approached so did the fireflies. the year before I had told the princess there were fairies in the garden. She was 6 going on 15 so she gave me that "there are no such thing as fairies mom, what do you think I am, five?" look, but you can imagine her face  when  we went outside and these little flying things started to shine
- "are they really fairies mommy?"

the face was priceless. so as our second year here approached, I looked up from my desk to see the fairies were back. Kids were in bed but I thought this is just one of those moment. so I took them out from bed, we ran to the garden with a blanket to lie on the grass and look at the fairies.  of course, it quickly turned into a fairy hunt, as they ran around giggling and trying to catch them. 

these are the moments that make the routine and everything else worth it. These are the moments I know I will look back on in old age and say, "I'm glad I got them out of bed for that"

what "magic" photos and moments did you have this year?

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

DECEMBER CHALLENGE- revel in the senses

This is the window of the car in afterschool traffic, coming back from guitar recital.

We are constantly surrounded by magic, all it takes is a magic wand to see it, which I am giving you today. Your challenge,  at least til next tuesday, is to see the magic. use your camera phone to capture it, post it on the onSanity facebook page, or don't, but do it. be present, be aware, don't let it slip by you unnoticed.

capture the magic surrounds your every day...

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

December Challenge, keeping a sense of wonder

I hate the cold, but snow… snow is a different story. Snow is magical. It is beautiful and covers everything with a blanket of peace and quiet. Filled with giggling  children, also enchanted by this most ethereal and fleeting of toys.

It's been snowing all morning and I just can't stop looking out the window. It almost makes me think I might  see Santa's sled go by. I just can't get tired of it.

Monday, December 9, 2013

December challenge #3: be a fruitloop in a world of cheerios

I love this one. so, go on, your challenge today is to go out there, into the world, with something outside your comfort zone. make the colors brighter, the skirt shorter, the heels weirder, your hair purple... go on!

orange and red nails, at my age!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

December challenge: one word

Encapsulate the year 2013 in one word. Explain why you’re choosing that word. Now, imagine it’s one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2014 for you? (Gwen Bell)
This is one of the original challenge questions, and I've been asking it every year. For this challenge I decided to go back and look at what I’d written other years:

My word for 2010 would be “Busy”
I took on too much. Too many things and projects that I love, but I’ve come to realize that loving what you do is not enough. Apparently you can’t have everything, so next year I want my word to be “balance”. I hope next year I get it right.

To describe 2011, I have to go with love.  
Its been busy, there has been chaos and madness,  but the bottom line is that I am constantly and continuously surrounded by love.  My kids, my husband, my parents, my mother in law, my sisters, my brother, my grandma, my nephews, my cousins.... they were there for me, they are there for me, and that -as the Mastercard add puts it- is priceless.

My word for 2012 has to be "marathon."
It just felt like one constant run where I barely got a change to come up for air. There was just too much stuff going on. A lot of great stuff, some bad stuff too, but most of the time life looked out of focus, with the background sound being "pant, pant, pant". For 2013 the word I would choose is "transformation." I've reached a point where the status quo does not suit me anymore. I need change, I need to move on to the next step, a new step, a new layer.   It's time to rock things up. 

 * * *

See a pattern? I do, because before I went back to read what I wrote the years before, I definitely would have gone for “marathon” this year too. But then again, we did buy a house, do it up and move in, all the while continuing to hold down the job and run a family. Continuing to hold down the job seemed particularly easy this year. Work kept rolling in, which –when you are freelance- is quite an achievement. And having a house of our own, as nomads, has long been a dream of ours.

So for my 2013 word I am going to with “achieve” because I achieved two dreams on my list: to own a place to call my own, and to finally feel established in my own business.

For 2014 you ask? … I’m so tired I want to say “sleep” but maybe I should go with something more zen. I still want a transformation (which, although much slower than I would have liked, it does seem to be taking place) but I’m going to go with “calm”. This year I want to breath more, walk slower. Get places early. have more breaks between jobs to do homework and more afternoons where we can go have hot chocolate and discuss our lives.


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

December Challenge day 1: what was your favourite part?

Every day when the kids get home from school I ask them
“what was the best thing that happened today?”

when we go away for a holiday or have a special outing I ask them
“what was your favourite part?”

It’s a habit that is hard to loose. I do it automatically, without thinking,

Many moons ago I studied to be a psychologist. Around that time my hormones were a lot more disorganized, and so was the world and my place in it. Or so it seemed. One particularly hard summer I remember reading about a  tool that is used with depressed patients. They are asked to record at the end of every day three good things. They don’t have to be huge, or important, they just have to be good. The idea is that depression is addictive. When you are there you kind of want to stay there, even if you don’t. You wallow in the bad and forget about everything else. You keep digging downwards, and it keeps getting harder to get up. This mechanism makes you remember not everything was bad. So I started doing that myself.

To my surprise this was indeed the fact. Everyday I could easily find 3 good things to focus on. They were often not life changing, but then again, neither were the things that made me unhappy.  It just forced me to change my focus. It also forced me to be grateful for the things I had, instead of focusing on the meaning of life (or lack of) and other things outside my control. I regularly found myself smiling over things like an afternoon  coffee I’d had with someone, something I normally would  not have even given a second thought to, but thinking about it made me realize that -although it was in fact meaningless, it was also very special.  I had a friend, who cared. I’d had some good laughs.

Some days it was particularly hard, the good things I could find were really meanial, but they were there. They were always there, and remembering this helped.

So it kind of just  stayed with me. This little habit of thinking:
“what was the best part?”
“what did you enjoy most?”

and that is why I wanted to start this now mellower version of the December challenge with the same question: What was  your favourite part of 2013? What did you enjoy most, why?

For me, if I think about it, it has been a particularly hectic and somewhat stressful year. Mostly for good reasons but, never the less, it felt like a constant marathon. But you know what I think about when I look back? that through that marathon there was this inner  peace amidst the chaos. I was protected by this bubble we’ve created we call family which  embraces you, holds you up, keeps you going,  smiles back and giggles when you think you are at the end of your tether,  or just cooks  you a nice meal. They phone or text,  even when they know you are terrible on the phone, or pass you a ladder when you just can't reach. It's  much appreciated. 

what about you? what was your favorite part of 2013? what are 3 things that happened to you today or yesterday that are good, but you probably would not have given a second thought to if I hadn't asked?