This year our family has decided to document each month with a portrait and our latest and greatest. It will be a fun way to look back on the year and know exactly what we were going through and how we grew and evolved. Olive also changes SO much SO quickly. I think I will appreciate capturing more of her little stages.
Instead of listing a whole bunch of resolutions at the beginning of the year, we decided to take them one month at a time. I am hoping it enables us to regroup as a family more often so that we truly can get more out of the year… TOGETHER. I will also be including thoughts from our monthly mantra and/or goal(s).
JP: discovered that taking hot tea to work with him at 4:30 in the morning makes it feel like he actually gets to have a slow and relaxing morning
Lexi: desperately needs her hair cut and shaped but just cannot quite decide on a style, thus it has been in a top knot more than 90% of the month.
Olive: started school and is thriving and also picked up a few, not so nice sounding words for a toddler (guilty) from her momma but is working on it 😉
Our focus as a family this month was “Choose to be Happy.” JP was the one that came up with this. At the beginning of the year he said, “You know what? I am going to be happy. I am just going to choose to be happy.” He couldn’t have timed it better. We were in a weird funk where it felt like life weighed a bazillion pounds and there didn’t seem to be any sort of relief in the near future. I was feeling so bitter and angry at the time and we were both just absolutely drained.
JP’s resident schedule paired with my online schooling feels almost impossible to maintain more days than I would like to admit. It is HARD to choose to be happy when life is really overwhelming….like really hard. However, I noticed that on the days where I really really tried to focus on being happy, I was able to connect better with Olive and JP. I realized that the reason why I often felt so low and desperate was because I was lonely and consumed in trying to maintain a certain level of being able to do it all. I know that I can’t actually do it all, but for some reason I still try and do it anyway only to find that I am very dissatisfied and drained of all and any kind of energy.
Choosing to be happy was hard but it also wasn’t when I put my mind to it. There were three noticeable things that I learned that helped me find a greater sense of happiness.
- Instead of waking up already beat and exhausted , I made it a goal to smile every morning and spend a couple of minutes looking outside to see what the weather was doing. This was such a little thing but had a huge impact on the start of my day! I took note to how a simple smile affected my attitude, mood, and perspective throughout the day and was so amazed by the positive impact it had on me. It somehow sort of felt like smiling gave me power over all of my stressors no matter how big or small. Yes, they were obviously still there, but they weren’t going to have control over my sanity and that alone felt absolutely amazing!
- Smiling proved itself useful and helped center my mind, however, sometimes a girl (or anyone) just needs to cry. If I felt very frustrated to the point of crying, I let myself cry. I usually bottle up my feelings and then explode into a crazy mess later, but allowing myself to pay attention to what I was feeling and release those frustrations and/or negative feelings felt really good. I could then identify exactly what was making me feel sad, angry, frustrated, defeated, etc. and face it or move on.
- Loneliness IS a thing, and I think that feeling lonely is actually hard to self identify. I am not sure why it took me so long to figure out, but after realizing that I needed something more from JP and Olive than help with chores or giving me space to get MY stuff accomplished, I started focusing on my relationships with them and those feelings of loneliness were way less intense and felt much more manageable. Personal interactions that were genuine is what really brought me the most happiness this past month and it meant that I either was letting the house stay messier or not trying to be as picky with my school work. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to add more hours to my days and accomplish it all with a feeling of satisfaction, but switching out more of my busy time even time that is considered good and productive (school) was so worth my sanity and so worth developing a better relationship with my loves. Having more meaningful relationships this past month has helped me to fill more fulfilled in what I am doing even if the house isn’t picture perfect or my school projects aren’t EXACTLY like I had originally envisioned them. I am so grateful that JP insisted on the both of us choosing to be happy because I learned so much more about my limitations, needs, and what sources really do bring me satisfaction and happiness. Watch out, February! January will be hard to beat:).