As an unabashed idealist often plagued by (too-) high expectations, New Year’s is basically a holiday tailor-made for me—or invented to make me crazy. Every January 1st, the fantasy returns of ALL THE THINGS I’m going to do and ALL THE WAYS I’m going to become my best self ever.
On January 1, the world sheds the cozy reflectiveness that Christmas—or winter, if you’re pagan ;)—brings. Life is suddenly starker and plainer, as the days start stretching out, second by precious second, toward spring. Routine and order return.
A friend shared an article the other day, on the beauty of not knowing. “Life is all about not knowing, and then doing something anyway. All of life is like this. All of it.” For some reason, that struck me as applicable to resolutions. This year I’m trying to approach my list as less of a plan and more as a hope. Maybe that’s wishy-washy, but it also leaves room for mistakes and mess—the stuff of transformation.
OK, this could be my problem right here: I’ve written three paragraphs about the issue and still haven’t written anything down. (Also why most of my badass fellow bloggers have gotten to this week’s “assignment” before I have. Read their posts: Christine, Liz, Erin, Hailey, Elizabeth, Laurel, and Caitlin.) So without further blabbing, below are 7 specific and tangible things (OK, maybe not the last one) that are inspiring me at the moment. Some are big and scary, others small and comfortable. Variety, right?
1. run sub 4 hours in an Ironman. I really really want this. For some reason, it means more to me than qualifying for Kona or standing on the podium. I have stated it before, and I will state it again. I have failed before, and very well might fail again, but this is the scary goal that’s going to motivate me to choose, more often, not to have that second beer, or to get my run in before my 7 am conference call. Doing this on legs trashed from the climb back to Whistler from Pemberton at Ironman Canada might be difficult, but that’s not going to stop me from trying. I know how to fight on the swim and bike; this year I need to learn how to really want that run.
2. make soup in jars every weekend in January, hopefully extending into February. I’m starting with this list (thanks, mom!) I lament on a regular basis how I don’t read/cook/etc as much as used to, or want to. In the last year I have become even more of a perpetual snacker: Sardines, avo-and-egg-on-toast, salads, omelets, and smoothies make up the bulk of my diet. My coach said there’s nothing wrong with owning the fact that I’m not an aspiring home cook anymore. I have new priorities. But I loved the little mason jars I saw lined up in my mom’s fridge over the break. (She just “seals” them hot off the stove until they pop, and stores them for weeks! And she’s not dead yet so it must be safe.)
3. do my first ultra. A new-found love of trail running this year gave me my first ever inklings to run anything over a marathon. Watching my friend Katya run a 50-mile last month, and witnessing another friend’s new love of ultras has me scheming. (Taking suggestions now, preferably in the fall.)
4. remember birthdays. Every time my own birthday comes around I am reminded how just plain nice it is to get that card, text, email, or Facebook message that says “hey! You matter! Someone loves you!” I am going to make a point of upping my birthday jam this year, starting by putting some key dates in the calendar.
5. be a bit more spendy. When I went home this Christmas and saw the 40-year-old cross country skis THAT MY PARENTS ARE STILL USING I was grateful for the frugal spirit they’ve instilled in me. I’ve always been a saver, regardless of what I made. However, this has lead to somewhat of a thrifty, “buy too much cheap crap” approach over the years. I’m not saying I’m suddenly rich, but I’ve worked HARD to get where I am, and because of that, this year I’d like to a) loosen up a bit more financially—whether that means donating more, treating friends more, taking an extra race trip, or investing in some key pieces of good-quality clothing and furniture, and b) become more intentional about/tuned into what expenditures and possessions bring me real joy, not just a newness rush. (ie: last year I discovered that getting coached was one of the things on the “worth it” list.)
6. get out. Sure, I may have gotten out for some day hikes last summer (my first here in this beautiful province!), climbed Grouse and the Chief, swam at Kits beach and climbed Mt. Baker on my bike, but this summer I want to plan a trip that involves a night or two in a tent. I live in the best place possible to delve back into my outdoorsy, pre-triathlon self. So if anyone out there is looking for a hiking/trekking/camping partner, hit me up!
7. be kinder to myself. I am not good at this. I put pressure on myself daily to work harder, speed up, slim down, and just generally be a happier, more well-read, informed, and interesting person. This year I am going to try to balance those intentions (however noble) wth celebrating and accepting who I am—today, not tomorrow. I’m not exactly sure what this looks like, but maybe I’ll start by throwing away my San Diego skinny jeans and buying some that actually fit this new Northern bod. And re-reading my favorite Oatmeal comic on the perils of obsessing about one’s own happiness. Wish me luck!