Hello! Here I am! I could write about the last couple of weeks, and how much has happened, and everything about the book the book the book, but I think that we could all use a break from the book the book the book.
And I have a promise on which to make good.
On New Year’s Eve I wrote this post about what I’d learned in 2017 and I promised to share with you my 2018 New Year’s Resolutions.
Some of it was based on a post I had written for The Mother Co about “Saying Goodbye to Mom Guilt” in the new year.
Last year, my resolutions (and how I did with them) are here, but if you want a cheat sheet:
1. Make an effort to form deeper connections with my friends; fortify the village.
This. I have done this. As I have said many times, especially recently, the people who are in my life today are here for a reason. They are the good people. Many of them have seen me at my worst and they still love me (or, at least, accept me) and I have made an effort to reciprocate the kindness and care that they have shown to me.
I spend time with fewer people but I spend more time with my people. The equation works out perfectly.
2. Find awe. Look at the sky on a clear night. Swim in a natural body of water. Go Outside.
Check! I have, quite literally, stopped to smell the roses. My own roses! I have gotten my hands dirty. I magically turned into a gardener! And, most recently, I made snow angels with my kids and husband, staring up at the sky, and because I was wearing sunglasses I could keep my eyes open. This was the first time I’d ever done this. I was able to just look up at the white sky and watch the individual flakes as they fell down onto my face and the world around me. It was stunning.
3. Pamper myself. Whether it is by doing a face mask at home or being treated to a luxurious day at the spa, it feels good to feel good. For me, I like to splurge on manicures. I feel confident when my nails look pretty and I will never turn down those free back rubs.
Not only did I pamper myself (and yes, having nicely polished nails does make me feel good and perhaps that is a silly, vain thing to say, but it is also honest) but I got to do so with my best friends. I took a spa trip with just my girlfriends and we got luxurious treatments while drinking hot cocoa (after a few trips down an enormous waterslide). I also started to really take care of my skin. I made myself a priority.
4. Ask for help. Childcare, therapy, an extra hour of sleep…whatever works.
All of the above. It is still hard for me to ask for help, but I have done it. I have called friends and family members and said the words, “I need help.”
Because I made some big, yet attainable, resolutions last year I felt as though I had to do the same for 2018.
In fact, I want to up my game, if possible.
I want to still do all of the things that I learned to do in 2017 and then add things, to be a stronger Becca and a better human being, for myself, my family, my friends and anyone I whom I may meet along the way.
After a lot of self-reflection, thought and care, here is my list of New Year’s Resolutions for 2018:
1. Do more things that are hard for me.
At 32-years-old I have a general sense of the things I can do and, most likely, an even greater sense of the things that I believe that I cannot. As far as the latter, I want to shorten that list. Because so many of these things are things that I can do, I just find them to be hard, or new, or overwhelming or scary; or, I am scared of getting scared. I don’t want to miss out on opportunities or feel helpless just because I am either intimidated by a situation or because I am used to relying on the help of someone else (like Kenny or my parents). So, I want to do things like driving to unfamiliar locations (namely in the city; I rarely drive in the city). I want to try to troubleshoot problems (when the Wifi goes out, or I can’t figure out how to use the universal remote and there is a crucial play happening in a football game and I have just sat on said remote and suddenly a “Lifetime Movie” is playing on the screen but, somehow, I can still hear the football audio and I feel like I am going to get sick because I need to know what is happening with the game, or when I get locked out) before I outsource help. I want to learn how to play the guitar.
I will stand up for the things in which I believe. I will stand up when I see something that I know is not right.
I will speak up, even when my voice is shaking, and even when it feels so enormously scary.
I will push myself.
2. Stop apologizing.
Since my high school days I have been told that I apologize way too often. Someone once joked that “I apologize for the weather.” Do not get me wrong. I fully intend to take responsibility for things in 2018 and beyond (if I bump into someone, a quick, “Oh, I am so sorry!” will suffice; if I unintentionally hurt someone’s feelings I will apologize and make an effort to show that I care).
But, as it stands now, I apologize for everything. I will be falling off my feet, after a long day of working, parenting, being a wife/friend/ally and I will take too long to reply to a text message or reply in my head, meaning the person does not get a reply until they ping me to remind me. For these things I can apologize, but then I can leave it at that. When I am sick, or something comes up, and I have to cancel plans, I am going to try to explain the situation, apologize proportionately, and then move on. Now, if I ever inconvenience someone I go overboard with the sorries, as I feel so terribly guilty. I am sure that most of the time I feel so much worse than the person on whom I’ve cancelled. I will stop apologizing to the doctor for asking him/her to examine something that is worrying me. I will stop apologizing when someone else cancels plans on me, or changes them and then forgets, and then thinks we have plans, and then I am not available. Did that make any sense? In that case, I can say that I am sorry for the confusion, but I do not have to own that; I do not have to wear it; because it is not mine.
Last week, at a book signing event, I sat on the floor because my back was hurting me. I had a book to sign, and so I crouched on the ground for some support. But, I was also in the middle of a conversation, and so the other person had to crouch down along with me. When I realized this, minutes later, I felt horrible. It suddenly seemed so rude that I had just sat down, mid-convo, without any explanation. After the 20th time apologizing to her for my rudeness she told me that I apologize too much. And that is when this resolution was cemented for me.
3. Write more cards. Drop off more “just because” gifts. Follow through.
This New Year’s Resolution is actually an offshoot of my resolution from two years ago, and it definitely reflects progress. But, I want to improve even more.
Two years ago I decided that, despite the fact that I would so often see something that reminded me of someone, I would not often get it. I don’t know why, but I would think of people all day long, every day, but then that warm thought or feeling stayed on the store shelf. And so, after 2016 I decided to buy the journal/mug/lip gloss/throw pillow gifts and that felt wonderful. Except, I had a hard time actually following through in getting said gifts to their intended recipient. I do not know why, but it has been a challenge for me to get to the post office, or do a quick drop-off. So, I will continue to buy the “just because” gifts, but also make sure that they are handed out as intended. Because I think of so many of you all the time and you don’t even know it.
4. Get more rest.
This one is so salient and also so hard. By the time I put my kids to bed at night, when I can finally have time for myself or with Kenny, I sink my teeth in, so happy to be able to turn off my brain and turn on Grey’s Anatomy with a mug of hot cocoa. But, because I am so desperate for this time during the day (I really do not have any time for myself during the day), I end up staying up far too late, almost every night, just to soak it in. My brain, like everyone else’s functions so much better with more sleep. Not just in its sharpness, but also in terms of my mood. In 2018 I would like to have an earlier bedtime and stick to it. Yes, I might miss out on Grey’s or Pump Rules but that is why we have DVR.
In all, I have grown so much in the past few years. Not only do I know myself better than ever, but my behavior reflects that. When something does not feel right, I turn and walk in the other direction.
A perfect, easily accessible example is from the photo above (thank you to this fine photographer for capturing this candid on her cell phone). It involves my shirt. It is a simple black silky blouse that zips all the way down the front. As of 11am yesterday I was going to be wearing a completely different outfit to the book release party (it was pink and feathery and a dress) and my backup was its more summery, blue sister. Everyone loved the blush-colored dress. It was so Carrie Bradshaw. But do you know who it was not?
It was not me.
It was too precious, and not edgy. It is a beautiful dress, but I don’t wear dresses. At the 11th hour (literally) I called an audible. I decided to wear a shirt that my husband had found and picked out for me. I had wanted to wear WHITE to the book release, and, instead, wore a black, low-cut top with a zipper down the middle and these cool, cropped, velvet pants with flared, ruffled bottoms.
I finally felt like myself.
Despite the endorsements for the pink dress, I listened to my gut. I wore black silk and black velvet and a big zipper and I felt like the me I wanted to be.
I believe that if I work on the New Year’s Resolutions above, and do more hard things, and stop apologizing as much, and deliver more special surprises and get more rest it will make for a happier, healthier Becca and a happier, healthier village. My village is stronger now than ever, and I fully intend to keep it that way.
So. Tell me. What is your resolution?
With love, feathers AND a zipper, when necessary-