Now that we are wrapping up another wonderful year, it's that fun time again where we all re-evaluate our lives. We wait for one day, which is creeping up..to say what we are going to change about ourselves to improve our quality of life. I can't say I'm a fan of making resolutions, but I am a fan of setting obtainable personal and business goals. Read on for my take on improving quality of life for this coming year and enjoy some photos from our beach vacation :)
1. Soak it up.
All of it. The sun, the breeze, the laughter of my children, the beauty of this life. "Drink the wild air" That's right, breath it into your bones and let it rejuvenate your soul. Watch how the sun dances across water, listen to soothing rain drops and allow yourself a moment of quiet. Feel a tug from your child and turn to them with a smile. Enjoy the aroma of morning coffee, a newly opened book, a bonfire, blooming flowers. Live, and I mean really live. These experiences are the ones that will one day become distant memories. Make every.single.moment count...soak it up.
2. Go on more adventures.
Wether it be to a playground we've never visited, woods we have yet to hike, lakes we'd love to swim in, or trips and vacations. I just want to allow my kids the experience of being totally free to explore the world around them. There is no greater peace than being surrounded by nature. Get dirty. Ok, we do dirty really well. "At the end of the day your hair should be messy, feet dirty and eyes shining" or, something like that :)
3. Live in Simplicity.
This is a big one for me this year. It's really stressful to be surrounded by stuff. Wether it's clothing no one is wearing, items and objects that just get moved around without much use, toys galore, papers, excessing bedding/towels and so on. It's time to do a major purge around here! My kids are so much happier at camp skipping stones, digging in dirt or sand, playing in the snow and rain than they are with 64 thousand toys. It's time to make a change so that we can work on appreciating what we have and do that little thing called saving money on un unnecessary purchases.
4. Be Present. Be Early to Everything.
When it comes to spending time with family and friends I really avoid using my cell phone, answering texts and going online. I find it highly offensive and rude to be staring at a phone or keeping relationships through social media only so that is something I like to say I'm pretty good at. BUT when it comes to my own family I am totally guilty of telling the kids to wait while I answer an email, umm..pinterest (enough said), and totally get lost in all the readily available info on the web. I have recently cut my data plan way down to 1/3 of what I previously had (hello $30 savings) and do not plan to be using my cell phone for internet leisure at all, emails will be answered from the office and anything work related will wait until business hours . I feel very disrespectful toward the 3 most important people in my life. My children are 6 and 4, I feel like I've missed out on seemingly small moments that may have become wonderful memories by saying "wait, hold on, in a second" way too many times. After bed time is usually when I feel the guilt over this the most. I always get emotional when I sneak in their room and think "I should have paid attention to you more today". Is it everyday? No. It is often enough to know I need to show my own little family the same respect I show others. Another one, being late. In all honesty I am rarely late, and if I am it is literally 5-10 minutes because of traffic which still isn't an excuse. I've recently read an article someone posted on Facebook and it was so true (read it here : http://www.huffingtonpost.com/greg-savage/lateness_b_4169441.html ) . Not only will I be on time, I will be early. It is extremely selfish to make others waste their time, waiting for you. There are some instances where it is absolutely out of our control, such as life threatening emergencies..but that's about it :)
Being present and respectful will not only improve our well being and self worth but those around us will appreciate it.
5. Regain Control Over Your Happiness and Health.
There was a quote that I came across the other night on pinterest (shocker, lol) but it really put this into perspective for me. "Happiness is an inside job, don't assign anyone else that much power over your life" Eye opener. It is totally up to ME to make ME happy. Doing what I love regardless of what others think makes me happy. Watching my kids play in dirt makes me happy. Enjoying a beer with family around a bonfire after fishing, hiking, quad riding and exploring makes me happy. Having gorgeous photos of my kids that will last me my whole lifetime and one day be in the hands of my great great grandchildren makes me happy. Reading corny yet inspirational quotes makes me happy. Laughing really, really hard makes me happy. Pretty words that are used rarely make me happy ( i.e. metanoia :(n.) the journey of changing one's mind, heart, self, or way of life ) Drinking coffee makes me happy. My happiness may be a lot different than someone else's happiness and that's ok. I do not have to give up the things that make my life worthwhile in order to impress, compete, try to be better than ANYONE. If you're competitive, compete with yourself. Do not expect others to walk around you dropping glitter and sunshine in your path to light up your day. Make your own sunshine. If sunshine makes you happy, that is :)
Health is something that is always a major problem with me. I do not have an excuse because ...i'm in control (see above, healthy = happy). I am really awesome at eating healthy in the spring/summer because farmers markets are also something that makes me happy. During the winter I feel my mood shift (again, see above, this girl needs sunshine) and my eating habits follow. Since I am missing the joy I get from the outdoors (and I'm not a huge fan of cold) I tend to find happiness in food, if you'd call it that, usually late at night after I've barely eaten all day, meaning my only source of energy is coming from the wrong carbs, bad fats, and processed yuckiness. Not to mention I can crush a whole coffee mate creamer in a day because coffee is basically all I drink. I know for a fact I feel so much better when I'm drinking water, eating wholesome and nutritious foods and exercising, even if it's a short run on the treadmill. It is something I plan to make part of my lifestyle, everyday (and I won't be waiting until the 1st to start, there is no better day than today!) I'm skipping the diets, I'm skipping the "have to do this workout on this day" I'm just going to eat right and move more. The best thing about a mother taking control of her health is that she is setting an example for her children...and likely prepares the meals, and does the shopping so the man has no choice but to follow suit ;)
6. Lower your expectations..
Just because you'd do certain things for certain people does not mean they will do them for you. It also does not mean they love you less. They just love differently. No one is obligated to help me or be a s significant part of my children's life (it's their loss). These are somethings that used to contribute to a lot of hurt and pain for me. I spent a lot of time doing for others thinking that in the future, maybe if I needed a bit of help they'd be there. Not only is this untrue, but having expectations hurts us internally (not the other person) because we open ourselves up to being disappointed. When we expect nothing from anyone (again, who is in control of MY happiness?) then anything they offer to you is appreciated! How amazing it is that changing the way we look at small things can make such a significant impact on our well being? I do spend a lot of my free time doing work or favors for family/friends, but that is because it makes ME feel good. Not ever because I'm expecting something in return. Yes my time is valuable, and I do need to decrease my yes's, not many people are willing to go to "work" for free, but when I am not as busy or have some time I love making others happy. It's kind of my thing. I'm proud of myself that I am a giver. That is a personality trait I am glad to have. Lowering expectations, or not having them, at all (unless you are that persons mother or significant other) opens up a whole new world , I promise. I plan to carry this out even more so in the coming year.
7. Stay organized, plan ahead, be productive, be proud.
This is in addition to the living simply. If you all seen my office right now you would be in total shock, I'm sure. I have never been good at keeping things in order as far as business goes, and a lot of times I have to make a to do list, to do the things I need to do, and that in itself is counterproductive. I have a busy, hectic life, but there is a way to keep it organized if I stick to a schedule. This is hard for me because I'm such a laid back/go with the flow kind of person. My days normally consist of picking my little brother up, walking he and my son to school from my moms (one block), waiting 1/2 hour, taking noelle to preschool, coming home to pay bills for an hour or something I need to do, head back to pick Noelle up from preschool, come home with her and get her lunch, set up with coloring or a movie or she brings her dolls into my office and I get some work done, then it's back to get Camden and my brother, drop him off and come home to prepare dinner , do homework, baths and bedtime then it's back to work again for me. Some days I will have my mom grab my son from school just to lengthen my time in between trips to complete a task. These are just my "everyday" normal tasks, but somedays I also have to take the kids to a sitter, come back home and remove car seats to load the car with my props, drive to work (sometimes an hour or more) shoot and drive home to unload my car, put car seats in and head back to get the kids from the sitter (usually is a 6 hour job to do a 1-2 hour shoot) . This is NOT by any means an easy thing. I am told often that I'm lucky that I get to work from home, but it's not ideal having to get my kids "set up" to occupy themselves, never having enough consecutive hours to fully complete things, running back and forth, and being solely responsible for them, while managing a full time job while Joe works long hours. BUT it absolutely can be more manageable since I have about 4 months of trial and error under my belt. Some days I get everything done and feel like superwoman, and some days I'm in tears thinking I can't do this another day. And here we go again, who is responsible for this all? I am. And I take pride in my work especially more so since I also do not depend on anyone else to care for my children. So really, I am superwoman. I got this. I've done this for 4 years, it gets harder at time and easier at times. I have been working on a plan, a new work schedule, a household care schedule, a child schedule, a bedtime schedule, a life schedule and I have a good feeling about it, and that's enough for me right now. Organization is crucial to keeping a strict schedule. I am going at it alone but hiring a professional is something I've considered as well , and this may also be the year that I hire a housekeeper to come through once a month and do a deep clean because something that I absolutely do NOT want to fit into my schedule, hehe! In the end, you can't dwell on it, you just have to be proud that you are still standing and working toward order, look at yourself in the mirror at night and say good job! We all have the same 24 hours a day, end excuses and make time for what is truly important. Tell Beyonce you "don't have time" ;) ( and yes, my daughter enjoys hand me down boys undies, lol)
8. It's never too late to start.
Start something new, do something you've always wanted to do wether it's escaping to a log cabin in the middle of no where (that's so me) or shopping in NYC. It's never to late to follow your heart, your dreams and your destiny. There are so many things I want to be when I grow up, and the future..it's so bright!
Do you have any resolutions to improve the quality of life, or have a suggestion for something you'd like to see on the blog ? Feel free to share below or email suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org