I don’t really like New Year’s resolutions. Yes, they can be useful, and people do make big life changes every year due to the declarations they made in January. But for me, resolutions have always had an air of inauthenticity to them. They’re lofty and unrealistic without a plan to complete them.
The other thing that bothers me about resolutions, is that mine don’t really change year to year. Abraham Lincoln said, “Whatever you do, be a good one.” Among many other things, I am a wife, mom, writer, and athlete. No matter what progress I made in any of those categories the year before, I will want to strive for more growth over the next year.
So, I’ll skip the resolutions. Lists, however, are different. Those that know me well know that I’m a list person. Lists are the smaller chunks of the bigger resolution. A few items from last years to do list, for example, were:
- Half Marathon PR [Done. 1:30:57 in the Rogue Run 1/2 Marathon in September.]
- Create a website [Done]
- Write a book [In progress, but just about done]
- Float the river with the baby [Done.]
- Travel to Europe in winter [Done. Brussels, Amsterdam, and London last December]
Sure, some of these we were going to do anyway. But the point is that by writing them down, you are more likely to keep improving and growing. Plus, you get to cross them off! Yes, I’m a planner, and I like to get things done. However, having kids has a way of derailing even the best-laid plans. I thought my dog’s hourly need for physical activity was intense, but it was nothing compared to what my crazy energetic son had in store for me.
The sweet little toddler boss roams around the house in wild abandon, undoing things I’ve already checked off and creating new tasks faster than I can write them down. He’s a great sleeper and overall a really easy kid, but man that kid can wreak havoc! By the end of the day, I’d be a frazzled mess, he’d still be crazy, and I would have completed maybe one thing off my long to-do list.
I eventually realized that our best days were the ones where I put his needs completely first. That meant getting outside and letting him run to the mailbox, in circles, or straight down the trail as fast as he could. Letting him climb up the steps and go down the big slide. Being ok with him digging in the dirt, picking up rocks, and jumping in puddles. Letting him yell and squeal and laugh like his tiny hyper body needs to do.
Once he gets that energy out, he’s a different guy. He’s content, constructive, and cooperative (at least most of the time). And you know what? I’m able to get a few things done because of that. I’m just like him, so it’s actually pretty pathetic that it took me so long to figure this all out.
Since Derek and I love being active outside, we’re actually already pretty good at making sure Rowan has plenty of time to just be a kid. I mean, he went on nearly 100 hikes with me last year! But that was one of my to-dos. Making his exercise and play a priority over my to-dos is where the difference lies. That’s why I’m changing my strategy this year. While I do have a big list of things that I hope to accomplish in 2016, my day and my to-do list are no longer all about me.
I want my kids to wake up every morning filled with joy and excitement about what the day will bring. I want them to love the outdoors and to feel alive when they’re in nature. I want them to seek adventure and always strive to be better. Those things will come with time. But for now, my biggest responsibility is to support his strengths by fostering a fun environment to him to just be a kid. So this year, I’m adding a couple more things to the list:
- Go to more parks around town
- Teach Rowan to ride a bike
- Visit High Desert Museum
- Splash around the alpine lakes
- Float the river more
- Build an activity table
- Let him walk when he wants to during our hikes
- Take Rowan camping
- Create a space in the backyard for him to dig and play
- Run through the sprinklers
- Visit the public pool
- Go to the coast
Etc, etc, etc. Hopefully I’ll keep adding and keep crossing off items here as we do more and more fun stuff throughout the year, until it just becomes habit. Having kids has a way of making even the most organized people feel like they’re constantly picking up the pieces. But it also has a way of putting everything in perspective. And for me, this year is taking on each day with the enthusiasm and adventurousness of a child.