Friday, January 2, 2009

It was a good year.

As I mentioned yesterday, New Years Eve and New Years day are my 2 favorite days of the year. Not only because it marks the end of a stressful time of year but because I find myself reflecting on the blessings in my life more on those two days than any other.

2008 was a great year for my family. Arguably our best year yet. I tend to overlook the events in my life as they're happening and it's not until the turning of the year that I'm able to look back on many of those events with wistfulness and gratitude.

The best moments of 2008:

Our trip to the Atlantis resort in February 2008. This was our family's first middle of the winter vacation. I've never felt so relaxed and care free on any other family vacation we've gone on. I'm getting much better at travelling calmly with my kids. Or maybe it's just getting easier because they are now older. Either's good.

The boys' taking home the Gold and Bronze medals at their State meet in March.

My annual girl's trip to Florida in April. An entire 4.5 days of stress free, child free, husband free mommy glee. I love my friends and I love spending alone therapeutic time with them.

My daughter's first dance recital.

Weekend scrapbooking slumber party with my gal pals.

Our annual 4th of July party.

Completing my 2nd marathon in Chicago.

Our week long annual trip in August with our friends to Higgins Lake.

And, of course, another New Years Eve party spent with those we love.

Other Note worthy 2008 happenings:

The books Happiness Now and Eat Pray Love have both collectively changed my life forever....and I do mean that in the corniest way possible. The way I view and live my life has been completely transformed in the year 2008.

I officially resigned from my job as an RN this past May.

I recently ran into a former co-worker at the gym I work out at. We were having a very pleasant "How have you been" reunion conversation until the tone took a drastic turn...

her: We've missed you. Where have you been?

me: I resigned in May and am a SAHM now.

her: Oh. How can you afford to do that with this economy? (yes, she actually said that)

me: Um. We're doing just fine.

her: Oh. Well, better you than me. I could never stay home. I'd be bored stiff. What do you do all day, *said with pitiful cringe on her face*. (yes, she actually said that)

I'm not a quick thinker. It usually takes me several minutes to realize that I've been insulted. I'm sure she didn't mean to be insulting but I was insulted non-the-less. My immediate reaction resembled a stunned, slack jawed, deer in headlights. I honestly can't even remember how I responded but I know I walked away pissed at myself for not having a quick snarky reply.

I am not bored because I choose to not be bored. I do not feel unfulfilled because I choose to find fulfillment in other ways. I have many interests and many hobbies and friends in my life that keep me plenty busy. I enjoy being at home and feel grateful and enormously lucky that I am able to stay at home. And I hate, hate, HATE, that I feel the need to justify my SAHM status to other people. I view my SAHM status as an enormous blessing. Not because I didn't enjoy my job as an RN but because I enjoy the lack of stress in my life even more. I like that I don't have to worry every day who will take my kids to their extracurriculars after school, who will get dinner on my table, who will get my laundry caught up & when will I find time to clean my house. I don't have to worry about working holidays and weekends. I don't have to feel guilty for not being able to help out in my kids' classrooms on those special holiday party days.

So there! :-P

This was also the first year that I really didn't stress out about all the holiday parties we hosted. I am finally able to simply enjoy gathering my family and friends together in my home for the sake of the gathering. Once upon a time I would become a basket case at the thought of hosting parties. I would lose sleep and stress over making everything perfect. Worried about what everyone was thinking of me and my family and my home. What will they say about the food? What will they think if my faucet is spotted with water and toothpaste. What will they think if there's clothes on the floor of my laundry room. I've gotten over it. I can feel a transformation taking place in me. Which, I think, is the result of something much bigger. I am finely, at the age of 36, comfortable in my own skin. Comfortable with who I am as a person. Happy with my life and less reliant on the approval of others. Of course love and approval is important in my life. It's important in everyone's life. But I no longer feel my happiness is reliant on it.

2008 was a great year. It'll be hard to top. But I am truly looking forward to seeing what the year 2009 has in store for us.

I'm not going to set New Years resolutions this year as my track record for keeping those resolutions is really quite depressing. I thought about using reverse psychology on myself...I figured a New Years resolution like...say...."I will gain 20 pounds by the month of May" a much more attainable goal. But I decided that just wasn't healthy....on so many levels. But I will say that there are a few things I'm going to try harder to improve in my life.

1. I am going to make this the year I become successful at quiting smoking. I'm not going to call this a New Years resolution because that's just too much pressure. But I'm going back on Chantix tomorrow and I'm going to look into hypnosis and/or acupuncture for help. I'm desperate. I'm not going to update you on my progress because, again, that's just too much pressure...and since I've said all this don't want to keep hearing about it.

2. I am going to work harder at maintaining a healthier lifestyle. ie. eating healthier, staying away from fast food, and continuing with my regular workouts.

3. This one has been made FOR me by my dear hen pecking friend who insists she is going to run the 1/2 marathon in 2 hours. She is my running partner and I need to keep up with her so by default I guess I'll have to do the same. =)

4. This one has also been made for me because that same hen pecking friend won't stop pecking at me until I it looks like I'll be attempting my first mini-triathlon before the end of the year. =) I'll try (almost) anything once.

5. I hope, by being successful at #s 2, 3, & 4, to drop 20 pounds before summer swim suit season hits.

6. Suzy Orman inspired this one: Suzy says you should have an 8 -12 month "rainy day fund" for emergencies. We don't have that. We have no debt (except our mortgage). We'll be set when we retire, and our children's college will be paid for but we have only a small emergency fund. If hubby loses his job tomorrow....we're screwed. We'd be OK for a few months but certainly not least not without digging into the retirement and college savings. And I take a lot of the blame for that...not all of it mind you....but most. I like to shop. That's no secret. That's going to change. I'm putting myself on a budget and we're going to start saving money for our emergency fund. My goal is to save $12,000 by the end of the year. I'm going to start clipping coupons again, I'm going to start bargain shopping again, I'm going to try harder to stay away from fast food and eating out, and I'm going to start meal planning again! No more vending machine diet cokes! Do you know that I spend almost $100.00 in vending machine Diet Cokes each month!? It's a sickness. I'm giving up Diet Coke.

7. One Random act of kindness each day.

And that's it for now. I may add on to this list in the future if I come up with something else.


April said...

Great resolutions.
What the woman was telling you was more about her than you. She's trying to convince herself that she's okay with working and all that.
You're very lucky to be able to stay home. If people can't be happy for you, that's their problem, NOT yours.

Dana said...

awesome resolutions!!may 2009 be an awesome year for you!!!

kelly said...

I could do anything but give up the DIET COKE!!!!

Weaselmomma said...

You did have a great year! Congrats on your SAHM status. No need to justify to people who won't get it anyway.

auntie said...

Sounds like you had a fabulous 2008, and plans for an even MORE fabulous 2009!

Tracey said...

2008 was a good year for you!

I believe that anyone who mocks being a SAHM is secretly jealous. Seriously. If they act condescending of my choice to be at home, I have to use ALL of my willpower to not be condescending BACK at their choice to be away from their family so much.

I have succeeded thus far.

Witty comebacks aren't needed. Simply say something like "Everyone has different needs, or every family is different." THEN walk away.

Kori said...

I hate Suze Oramn. I mean, I really hate her. But I am with you on the Chantix, I started (again) two days ago. So I will be fat, broke, but by god I wll be smoke free.

Colleen - Mommy Always Wins said...

Great list...I only wish I could stay home, too, but you know THAT...

Kate @ Life As I Live It said...

I'm with anyone could EVER be bored is beyond me. I have a zillion things always on my "Want to do/try" list, not to mention books to read, and various projects that are half-finished.

You did have a great year! Sure, there were bad things and low spots, but I love that you instead choose to focus on the good things and the blessings. You're my kind of gal. :) But you knew that already.

Happy 2009!