At the end of each year, I normally reflect and write down my thoughts of thanksgiving, learning, and sometimes regret.  Although I rarely commit to resolutions, I generally use the turn of the year as a mental soft marking spot for me to check myself, see what needs to be adjusted, tweaked, or done away with in the new year.

By the end of 2020, I just felt numb and jaded.

I was at a loss for words and unable to really gather together a good reflection to write down.  It is no wonder – with the planet upended by a public health crisis and so suddenly, most of us felt sideswiped by change, isolation, sickness, loss of life, and liberties. Although I cannot change what has happened, I can certainly glean important things from this past hard year.

Here are a few things I hope to bring with me into this new year and beyond:

1. Stop rushing and learn to enjoy the process.

Too often, my life is running on “fast forward” or “speed up” mode. I generally dislike anything moving slow, but I now recognize that I have missed out on a lot of beauty by hurrying by.

2. Actively appreciate the people I encounter and tell them so whenever I can.

I have changed my language from saying, “I appreciate it” and now I say, “I appreciate YOU so much.” I receive some double-takes when I say that.  What a boost to someone’s sense of worth and value to hear that he or she is appreciated as a person.

3. Kiss and hug the kiddos while they let me do so, every single day.

They are starting to fight me on this, but I still find them coming to get the snuggles and love they need. When they ask if I can hug them,  I tell them, “Always.  And my hugs are free over here.”  I want them to remember me that way, to receive the love that I have for them, and to become dispensers of genuine love to those around them.

4. Intentionally plan for the future.

Although tomorrow is not mine to hold, I understand more than ever that my lack of proper planning can be deleterious to myself and my kids. Advance and medical directives, estate planning, rainy day savings are some critical matters I can address now, while I have my wits about me and this will help our family along later.

5. Take steps towards health, no matter how little.

I have been in survival mode for quite a few years following a hard separation and divorce. I have just tried to make it through each day and keep my kids and sanity alive.  Thankfully, things are settling more for us, and I can move towards getting back to the good health enjoyed years ago,  physically, spiritually, emotionally, and mentally.

6. Call my mom more often!

Yes, many of us understand and can agree with this. ‘Nuff said.

7. Rest and trust God for my life journey.

I tend to grab life by the horns and chart my own course. Some of that self-will and strong determination has landed me in trouble. My faith is of ultimate importance and I realize that I need to go back to the main things and reorient myself to the truths I know and hold dear.

8. Laugh and enjoy the funny things in life.

I love good, clean humor. I love to laugh. Laughter and joyfulness can lighten a heavy heart.  So, I will seek out gladness and enjoy the fun of life.

9. Look for the good in others and hard situations.

I think painful and disappointing life experiences have pushed my disposition towards cynicism or pessimism.  I tend to be skeptical of things, and unnecessarily wary of people. That needs to change, and fast!  If I look for the good, it can be found.

10. Visit more local scenic spots.

I have not been much of an international traveler in my adult years.  The good news is that I live in the beautiful interior West, full of iconic mountain peaks, winding trails, and cozy vacation towns.  I need to see these places.  I will aim to do that moving forward.  No time like the present.

What are some ways 2020 helped you reorient and focus? I would love to read about some adjustments are you aiming to make in the new year.

new year