Monday, January 8, 2018

A Good Look Around: 2017


 
Do you make resolutions?  I actually can’t even remember the last time I made one.  But that’s not to say I don’t take a good assessment at the end of a year and think about what I did well — and what I could definitely do better.  

What a year it’s been.  I started it out pretty low, still trying to figure out life in a vastly different country after having to deal with lots of illness for our first four months here.  But I think I learned a lot.  I didn’t do everything I wanted to (hello, still-mostly-unwritten book), but in other ways I did more than I expected to.  I sent my first baby off to college and survived my first three months of having my heart not just living outside my body but across a vast ocean.  I explored more of this beautiful country, even if it wasn’t as easy as I’d hoped.  I stretched a lot as a mother, I think, in ways that are way too complicated to write in this post.

But, if you’re curious, read on as I take a look around, looking back to see what I did well in 2017, admitting what I didn’t do well, and what I’m thinking for 2018.

Let’s get the low parts out first. 

— I did not learn much Korean.  I’ve tried so many methods now.  It’s a tough language, and I’m not the only one who thinks so.  But I did learn some!  (And learned more about how to communicate beyond language — ha!). Seriously, the Hangeul letters I can read (which is to say, not that many) (and when I do read them, there is an excellent chance I don’t know what the words mean) feel like a HUGE victory.  Every time I can pick a word or two out of what I hear I around me, I want to happy dance.  

Goals for 2018: learn more Korean.  My friend recently told me about her niece that just visited.  This girl (granted, a high schooler who does not have five kids) taught herself Korean in 5 months using the internet and a Korean dictionary!  Until I’m on a plane leaving this country for good, I will try to learn Korean.

— I did not do as well as I planned with this blog.  I had hoped to write at least twice as many blog posts as last year, and I think I wrote, actually, fewer posts.  There are a lot of reasons for this, and many of them are good.  But most had to do with just not making writing a priority.  Everything else comes first.  I think that’s probably right for this point in my life and what I want for my family, but honestly, it’s also too easy to use what free time I do have to just space out with social media.  And also honestly (to the point that I’m squirming as I write this), writing is this weird thing.  There are things I want to say, and conversations I want to have through writing, but I still and always will wrestle with if I should say them.  I know I’ve talked about this before, but I write more than I post.  I question whether it’s stupid, or too embarrassing, etc., and then I just completely freeze up. And you don’t hear from me for months.

Sooooo... in 2018, I really want to push past that.  I don’t typically think of myself as a timid person.  When I’m talking to my kids about confidence, I sound like the most confident person in the world, the one with alllllll the answers.  And truly, I’m just as scared as they are.  But I want to try harder not to talk myself out of the things that scare me. 

— One thing I think I did pretty well this year: I read. In fact, I read 25 books just for myself, as well as reading 7 chapter books to my kids.  I wish the latter number was higher, but darn it, if my kids would just listen better when I said, “Time for bed!”!!!!  I do read picture books to the little ones every night.  But one of my goals for 2018 is to get the kids to bed earlier so I can read more chapter books to them. And to read more myself! I'm shooting for 30 books for myself this year and 10 kids' chapter books.

 — Healthwise, I also think I did well.  I managed to work out five times a week every week this year, even when we were traveling last summer.  I did a variety of workouts and a couple personal  fitness challenges.  I feel strong and healthy, even if I could probably do better cutting out sweets.

Still, my health goals for 2018 are to do just that (healthier snacking, etc.) and also to start working out earlier in the morning, so I can free up my day a little more.

— Here's the bottom line: I want 2018 to be a year that I spend wisely.  I want to make better choices about the way I spend money and time.  I read this great essay about prayer that inspired me in many ways.  I love the three words, “Make It Count”.  I think that sums up my thoughts for this year and every year.  I want what I do to count, the good and the bad times.  The things that I want and the things that I’m never going to get.  The moments I have to spend with my family and friends.  The conversations I have here on my blog (even if they're a little silly/ lighthearted) and in person. This is my biggest goal for the year, to make it count.

How about you? What are you working toward?  What are your goals for the year?  What fears are you fighting? What are you doing well?  I would love to hear from you in the comments!