How many of you spend the end of the year fantasizing about the changes you are going to make in the new year? I absolutely do. I usually start my reflection around Thanksgiving. I put a little extra time and thought into my goals for 2018 because my birthday also happens to fall just five days after the new year. This year’s birthday was particularly special as it was my fortieth and it had me extra excited to plan as well as revel in the satisfaction of having closed some major chapters on some pretty hefty changes that were made relating to my mother’s care.
As soon as she was diagnosed with dementia and our whole world was turned upside down, I threw myself into getting her into a place where she was cared for and safe. Having put all my attention on this, I inadvertently neglected every single thing that mattered to me, including my nuclear family, all of the goings on within my four walls and, of course, the person we always throw to the wayside first: me. Since she has moved to her new home and her pair of caregivers/earth-angels have her thriving and her home running like a fine-oiled machine, I feel like I can breathe deeply for the first time in what seems like forever. Holy mutha-fucking-shit, those last couple of years were intense. I was probably flirting with a nervous breakdown or, as I say, a “breaker-breaker-one-two”. But, here I am. I survived and am stronger and more humbled than I could have ever imagined. I am starting a new year at the beginning of a new decade, both in terms of age and a giant responsibility completely under control. I have big plans for me this year.
This year, I am going to commit to anything and everything that has to do with Michelle, her family, and her home. These three things ARE written in order of importance and they are all in need of some serious tending. I had zero balance. My attention was on my mom’s state of affairs, her care and where she was going to live. I ditched many of the things we must prioritize to maintain good health in exchange for endless hours dedicated to setting that ship back on course. In return, my marriage suffered, my kid’s mom was rarely present and my home didn’t feel like a home. It was starting to feel cluttered and there were so many unfinished projects. It was time to make a change.
I needed a plan because there is a lot to accomplish. Lucky for me, I am surrounded by goal-setters and driven humans. One of my dearest friends/mom-mentor (the term I use for the moms I admire for their approach to parenting or who often have fantastic nuggets of wisdom) shared the idea of a vision board with me.
What is a vision board? Well, it is a tool to help you better clarify your personal goals. Whether this goal is something you want to be, do or have, you apply those goals to a visual that will serve as your reminder as you commence on your journey to get shit done. Items you need are a hard poster board, a glue stick, and old magazines. Grab your scissors and cut and paste away! When your collage of inspiration and motivation is complete, place it somewhere you can see it every day and begin to make changes, accomplish goals and manifest the future you desire.
These are the areas I am choosing to focus this year, the year of Michelle!
- take my vitamins like a big girl
- drink more water and less Miller Light
- drink more wine and tea
- get outside and into nature
- eat more green stuff
- crack more books
- blog every damn week
- ditch the device in bed and have more pillow talk
- say “thank you”
- check me, breathe, communicate
- get back to our weekly adult beverage and date night with Alexa (our robot radio, you creep)
- take a trip, just us
- actually, pause and listen when they talk to me
- ditch the knee-jerk reaction
- have more one-on-one time
- play more games
- give cooking lessons
- hang the damn pictures
- tackle the dining room
- turn my ‘catch-all’, I mean office into an office
- create my hygge outdoor dining space
- fill my bare flower beds with plants, flowers, and trees
- finish the twins bedrooms
- declutter and donate
I have already begun to tackle goals and have checked several things off of a very long to-do list. I plan to revisit my V-board and goals at the end of this year to review and celebrate the incredible year I know I am about to have. I can see a little of what my board will look like next year as I will have been so productive this year. I see a European vacation in my future.
I can speak from experience when I say this, and it can be applied to just about anything: the hardest step is the first one. Whether you have been procrastinating to pick up the phone to make that appointment with your therapist or you have some looming burden weighing over you, focus, write it down, act and move to the next thing. I already feel lighter. My surroundings are starting to take order, my relationships with the people I love most are my priority and I know they see and feel my newfound focus on them and I am spending more time in the present and less time worrying about all that I have to do. I am doing it! You can too!