Sunday, January 3, 2016

The Beginning of New Habits

I'm sitting here, in my new office, with both a sinking feeling in my stomach and elation at the fresh new year stretching out before me. A year filled with lots of possibility, as well as a year in which anything could happen. And the anxiety I deal with on a daily basis tries to fill in the empty space with a lot of awful possibilities, but I'm pushing that back. Taking the year by the horns and all that.

2015 was filled with Big Things such as moving a thousand miles from home, having two out of four children diagnosed with autism (which was not a surprise, but still a rather Big Thing), job loss, health problems, husband gone most of the summer, going from a fully homeschooling family to a one-fourth homeschooling family, having two books published, etc, etc. Full of incredibly good things for my family and incredibly hard things. And lots and lots of blessings, because I don't see how we would have (and are still) getting through this without God's help and the love and support of those around us. Because we wouldn't be doing that well without it.

Last year is a book I'm glad to close. And I've been struggling with even more anxiety lately, so today I decided to take some time to sit down and write out my goals for the year. They seem like a lot, but if one of these things aren't functioning, everything tips out of balance. Sort of like in the movie Inside Out, where all the islands start crumbling and crashing down. Exactly like that. I've been pondering about how to do this for weeks, and have done some praying about it, and I think I finally have my answer.

I wrote on Facebook the other day about wanting to be more authentic. That was going to be my motto for 2016. But when I went to write it down on my sparkly notebook I'm finally using for its intended purpose, I kept wanting to say "Be Genuine" instead. So taking some inspiration from President Dieter F. Uchtdorf's talk "It Works Wonderfully!" I have as my motto: "Simplify. Work. Be Genuine."

"Simplify" seems easy enough. But there are so many areas of my life that need attention. Probably the biggest is my family life, because if I'm not in a good place physically, mentally, and spiritually, my entire family suffers. With my teen boys both having autism, and a strong possibility other children may as well, I like to quote Strongbad: "No two people are not on fire." Someone always needs water thrown on them, or to be snuffed out. (Goodness, that sounds ominous.)

(No, people being on fire isn't typically humorous. See the following video for context. My sister Karen introduced me to Strongbad and back when my children were small, so blame her.)

If you're still with me after that, suffice it to say that I needed to make a plan to help balance myself and the family. So that involves several areas: mental, physical, and spiritual health; writing, family, home organization, creativity, and social needs. I think that's all, but to check for sure I'd have to go up two short flights of stairs, and once I do that, I'm going to bed. So this will have to work for tonight.  

The plan is to focus on overall goals for the year, evaluate monthly, and plan weekly. And a combination of all three. So for this week, I'm working on the most simple, but most vital things.

1. I'm blogging once a week on Sundays now. It's a good thing for me to do to refocus every week, and while I might not have the cute stories I used to when all my kids were really small, I'll write what I feel I need to or want to. It's part of Be Genuine.

2. Alone time every day. My mental health desperately needs it. I used to look on it as a luxury, but I learned the hard way last year that my mental health isn't a luxury. If I don't take care of myself, it's a bad, bad thing. And no one else can do that but me. 

3. This is getting long, so I'm putting the rest of the list here: floss daily, pray in the morning (I forget in the mornings a lot), exercise at least three times this week, read at least a little scriptures daily, know what I'm making for dinner at least the night before (tomorrow it's beans and rice and chickpea curry, because my husband hates curry but loves beans and rice), watch a movie and knit, clean up my youngest's room and sort it, and write 4k each day to finish the rough draft of Captain Schnozzlebeard and the Curse of the Werechickens so I can get it going before its deadline (releasing March 29th!,) and get to bed by eleven p.m. on weeknights. This seems like an awful lot for the week, but it's the barest amount that can get done without sending everything into a tizzy. So wish me luck. Some of these things sound like a lot, but they don't take much time. 

See you next Sunday, and I wish you the best of luck with whatever goals (if you've made any) you're working on this year.


Kimberly VanderHorst said...

I just love you so much. And I love that you're going to be blogging regularly again! <3

She's in the kitchen! said...

I love the sound of your "new office". I'm sure that lots of good things will come from there. It will be a place of refuge, a quiet place to think, imagine, dream, and create. You need that. You deserve that. I love you and are happy in knowing you are taking steps to take care of you. Love, Mom ♥