This morning, my dad texted me and asked about my “2018 highlights”, as he was writing the family’s, yearly, Christmas Letter. I love my parents, and I love the idea of a Christmas Letter; being able to keep tabs on your closest friends and family. However typically, these letters are more used as an excuse to brag about whose family is doing what. And braggy holiday letters are great, on the years you’re really rocking it, but what about the years that are just ordinary? How do your “highlights” reflect those years?
I thought about this, this morning, because 2018, for me, has just been one of those ordinary years. AND ORDINARY ISN’T BAD! But as I began to think about all of the things I hadn’t done - the trips I didn’t take, the money I didn’t save, the prospective jobs I didn’t get, I got sad and then as I got sad, I got irritated with myself. Why do we have this constant drive to be superior to everyone else?
Instead of moping about it more, I decided to take action, and come up with my own version of 2018 Highlights (feel free to use these in the Christmas letter, Dad)! lol
I’ve listened to my body. In the last year, I’ve become much more in tune with my body; I’ve switched up routines, rested (when my body asked for it), and included (and excluded) foods, based on what my body was asking for. Don’t be mislead though; I’ve also pigged out on food and booze, on occasion. Each time, my body has reminded me why that’s not always the best option. You live and you learn. Just remember that your body always does let you know how it’s feeling, and you can learn from it, if you decide to listen.
I joined an awesome Pilates community. Exercise is daunting, I know! Especially getting started. But instead of letting those feelings of concern wash over me (which tend to deter you from working out at all), I continued to focus on WHY I wanted to exercise, and join a new community. REGARDLESS of the why, it helped motivate me to start. I went, for the first time, with a couple of friends, and the accountability helped. SWITCH UP YOUR EXERCISE! It’s fun, and if you’re like me, you’ll get the opportunity to make some awesome, new friends by doing so.
I didn’t save any money, but I didn’t make many frivolous purchases either. Instead, I’d ask myself about the reason behind that purchase. Was it good for my body? Would it help me feel better? Which leads me to Number #4…
I’m working on changing my money mindset. At 28, sometimes it’s easy to question how you’re doing life (especially when comparing yourself to others your age, who seem to have it all, and are doing it all). Trust me. We’re all in debt, or have been in debt. It’s hard to make it on your own, and your wealth doesn’t determine your worth! Money comes and goes, and will continue to do so, the rest of your life. Instead of constantly worrying about not having enough (or putting more on your credit card), be thankful for the money you DO have, and the opportunities you DO have.
Ryan and I have had a wonderful year together. For as many times as I like to give him a hard time about not getting engaged yet, I honestly couldn’t be happier in my relationship. Ryan and I have been through a lot, this past year, but we’ve done it all together. Each day, he does things that remind me of why I’m with him, and each day, I thank God for bringing him into my life. But FYI: We’re getting engaged, next year, so stop asking in the meantime! lol
We’ve begun to turn our house into a home. This has been the year of house projects, as we originally planned to sell our house, this fall, which turned into next spring, which has now turned into longer. But it’s okay! With the economy the way it is, and not knowing about the future, we figured we’d save some money, and live here for longer. The pups love the house, Mona loves the house, and now that it’s being fixed up, we love the house! As new carpet was installed, and we hung pictures on the walls, I realized just how homey this place feels! Sometimes, it’s important to sit back and realize just what you DO have; a warm, cozy house, filled with love and cute pets is just where I want to be!
I get to work from home. My job definitely has its days, but really, whose doesn’t? Whenever I find myself getting irritated about something, I have to come back to the positives: No commute (especially in the winter), no real pants, slippers and the ability to help people become healthier. Two years ago, I told myself I’d be happy if I could get a full-time health coaching job, with benefits. That’s now been my reality for the past two years. Sometimes, it isn’t about what’s NOT happening, but about what HAS happened.
I’ve met some amazing humans. This year, especially, has been wonderful for making new friends. A lot from work, pilates and more! It’s amazing how close you can become to someone, just by sharing some common interests (even if that initial interest is how much you’re loathing your job, that current day)! lol
I spent most of my PTO days in Iowa. A few days earlier this year, and an upcoming week, for Christmas. I haven’t stayed in any hotels, or flown on any planes, this year, but that’s okay. I got to enjoy more than one Iowa, summer (week)night - grilling brats, drinking beverages, and spending hours laughing and talking. And in a week, I’ll get to enjoy time with my family and friends, baking cookies, catching up and taking time - no rush. To me, those are the most-precious times.
I started this blog. And I mean, hey - that’s pretty cool! Here’s to another year of blog posts!
So, if you’re reading this, I challenge you to one of two things, this holiday season:
Stay away from “the brag”. Are you beefing up your holiday letter so it sounds better? Or are you legitimately proud, or excited about sharing something? If you were reading that same letter, coming from someone else, how would you respond?
Find beauty in the ordinary. Maybe you didn’t think your past year was anything special; maybe you don’t feel like anything great happened. Look deeper, and don’t try to compare yourself to others.
Bottom line: each year we’re here, on this planet, is bragging enough! Let’s all take a bit more time to appreciate the little things we have, and appreciate the company in which we’re connecting with.