I’m always a fan of dreaming and scheming, but the clean slate of a brand new year seems to offer an even more magical time for plotting what’s next.
As much as I like to plan my possibilities, I’m not much for New Years Resolutions though.
I do enjoy a healthy self-imposed challenge, but full on winter just doesn’t seem like a very good time to start something that requires a lot of effort.
I mean, come on….it’s the coldest and darkest season of the whole year.
After all the celebrations and excess of the holidays, my body and mind would rather be curled up in a cozy cocoon and recovering after all the weeks of gluttony.
All these ads are telling me it’s time to be a skinnier, healthier, more productive, all improved New Me, but honestly, I just don’t have the desire or fortitude to go barreling full force towards some lofty fitness or lifestyle goals right now.
It just doesn’t seem natural for me to go high speed in winter. So, I'm not.
If you’re not feeling like taking on extreme sports style resolutions either, but you still want to get in on the New Year energy, consider joining me in a little season of relaxed dream incubating.
You don’t need to go as far as to shut yourself in a cave for months to hibernate, but it is nice to go with the flow of nature and get under some blankets with a cup of tea, light a candle and go inward to think about what you really want and need (not necessarily what’s being sold to you).
Before the planning starts, I always like to do some reflection~ you know, looking back before looking ahead.
I had all intentions of doing this on December 31st with my SweetHeart so we’d start the New Year ready.
But, as life would have it, I got sidetracked all day and used up all of my available brain space on other tasks. Then, by the time we were ready to get around to it, I didn’t have the energy or mental capacity to do it anymore.
So, when I woke up on New Years Day without having done any reflecting or planning or anything towards moving ahead, I started to get really bummed at myself for “being behind” already when the new year just started (New Year, Same Old Me, indeed)
But then it occurred to me that the whole calendar thing is just a man made invention and it really didn’t matter to me exactly what day these things happened on~ as long as they actually happened.
So, when a few days later I found myself feeling rather ill and needing to be in bed, which as I indicated, happens to be a perfect place for contemplating. And, when I found myself bored in between shivers and pains and bouts of nausea, that’s exactly what I did.
I started looking back and contemplating.
2018 was honestly a really hard year for a lot of people around me. We had some of the worst wildfires in the history of California and my area of the state quite frankly got its arse kicked.
I would have thought a person might meet one family who’s had their house burn down in the course of a lifetime, but within a few days, at least 9 families we know personally lost their homes due to fire. There were also thousands we don’t know left homeless.
Then more fires came, bringing even more devastation and loss.
While my family and home were safe, and I’m grateful for that, it was a lot of tragedy to take in.
Aside from Mother Nature’s fury, there were also some very unpleasant political situations and a rather terrifying health crisis in a close family member.
But the big thing I noticed, was that as awful and sucky as all that was, still, 2018 was overall a pretty great year for me.
There were lots of trips and adventures, growth in personal and professional endeavors and milestones for the offspring.
By far, the strangest thing that has happened to me, not just in the last year, but since I began the parenting journey 21 years ago happened this year in that ALL of the kids we had living at home spread their wings and flew out into the world.
Within a few months, we went from 3 kids living here to none.
And with that, in the blink of an eye, I said goodbye to momming on the daily.
What world even is this?
My in and out everyday role for the last 21 years suddenly shifted to a super part-time, telecommuting consultant gig on an as needed basis.
The full-sized humans that I raised and love to offer helpful advice to aren’t here to try to pretend they don’t hear it.
It’s the kind of thing that requires waaaay more than I can say sum up this moment, but obviously, it’s a game changer.
For now, I’ll just say that it’s quiet, and there’s so much food and did I mention that it’s really, really weird?
But it’s also wonderful and really feels expansive. And I’m really freaking proud.
To be honest, we’ve actually had various assortments of our offspring and their friends visiting and staying for a good deal of the time since everyone flew the coop, so it hasn’t exactly been empty full time, but it has given me and my SweetHeart a lot more space and time to think.
The day after my sick in bed day, my SweetHeart was home. It was raining and cold and I was on the mend, but still recovering. It was also a new moon and we decided that all of those things were good reasons for an all-day lounge fest.
We stayed in PJs, gathered the biggest pile of fuzzy blankets (which are still everywhere from kids being home for the holidays) on the couch and made a cozy fire with the help of Netflix. We made tea and lit candles and dreamed and schemed all day.
We shared our reflections of 2018~ wins and losses, what worked, what didn’t and lessons learned.
Over the course of the day, between reading and writing and random things online, we talked about what we want more of and less of in life, what we want to take forward into the New Year and what we want to leave behind.
We both scribbled lists in various notebooks and discussed possibilities. We bounced around ideas and options for where we each might want to go in life.
Such big-picture scheming is the kind of thing I’ve always done by myself or sometimes with my kids, but usually based on a specific thing like a trip or adventure or an area of education, rather than all-out life.
Doing this type of widespread overview of curating the future with my partner felt really grounding and supportive.
Despite the fact that I’m a strong-willed woman with equally strong opinions and voice, who sometimes gets excited and has trouble remembering to take turns when speaking, it was actually a relaxing and positive day for us both.
Maybe the fact that I was recovering from a near vomiting illness, not really drinking coffee and moving a good deal more slowly than usual helped?
Either way, we both shared our thoughts and hopes and encouraged each other as friends and partners. No, we don’t have our whole year or even this whole month all lined out, but we have shared goals together and individuals goals that we shared.
Most of all, we ended the day feeling positive and pointed in the same direction.
And that’s what a partnership is all about.
If you’ve got someone that you’re going through life or even just a certain project with, it just makes good sense to spend some time reflecting, dreaming and scheming together.
As for us, we’re in a whole new season where parenting isn’t on the forefront of our every day, and that’s an exciting time to plan.
In respect of the rhythm of winter and sanity, I’m not plowing full speed ahead but will be taking baby steps and doing research. Some ideas need to germinate and get evaluated while new questions arise and we find answers.
It may not have the pizzazz of a big shiny resolution, but I think that using the season to plan and map out will increase the likelihood that we’ll actually find the paths to where we want to be.
Warmly saying my goodbyes to 2018 and enthusiastically welcoming in 2019 with my cozy yoga pants and an assortment of journals and colored pens ~ that feels exactly like where I need to be right now.
How about you? How do you like to dream and scheme for the New Year?
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Happy New Year!
Writer, Artist, Empowered Living Advocate, Wanna-be Organic Gardening Foodie, Travel Loving Life Explorer, FunSchooling Facilitator / Former Goat-Herding HeadMistress for our Mostly Happy Homeschool, Semi-Crazy Chicken Lady and Mamacita Extraordinaire to a couple of Cage Free Kids.