Last year was all about taking risks. And that was good. I needed to stop operating on autopilot and shake up certain parts of my life. But I have a different goal for 2013.
This year, my word is simple.
"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler." - Albert Einstein
I love this quote because it speaks to the bigger picture. Identify where you find meaning and commit yourself to those things. On the flip side, realize what keeps you away from those things and cut them out as much as you can.
Own that you are not powerless over your life, that the busy trap is not inevitable. Fight for your inner calm. No excuses.
(There is a small chance I have hijacked Albie's quote.)
This year, I'm aiming to drown out the noise. More often than not, I'm going to trade easy distractions for long-term joy.
Here's what I want simple to look like in 2013. Warning: you will not be impressed. It isn't rocket science, you know?
MAKE FEWER COMMITMENTS. Free time is precious and not something I'll offer up on a silver platter. I need to stay active in networking, but I don't have to go to every event in town just because "it's good for my career." I'll give myself permission to skip a family birthday party because it's on a school night or I have a big meeting the next day. I will NOT pick up a new TV show even though the Fringe finale freed up a time slot and The Following looks really, really good.
WRITE. I'll do more head-banging against the keyboard, pushing through creative paralysis because I love getting words on a page. Being published would be great, and it's still a goal, but right now it's secondary.
READ. I want to devour more books this year. I'll pick ones that speak to where I am as a working mother of small children with a short attention span and ignore the inner voice that says to go for something more enlightened. If I'm not feeling it, I'll put it down and move on.
HELP OTHERS. Leave people and places in better condition than I find them. Luke and I have credit card debt, but the monthly check we write to our church is money well spent. Volunteering in the nursery every third Sunday isn't the same as taking a mission trip to Africa, but it means something to parents who want to hear a sermon baby-free. Send care packages to the soldiers in my life. Hold my tongue rather than put someone in their place. Not every gesture has to be big. At the same time, there will be times I need to play hard or go home, even when it's inconvenient. I'll know them when I see them.
PRAY. I want prayer to be more intuitive. I'm good at thanking God, but not daily. I've mastered the ugly cry, but I don't know always know what kind of help to ask for. I want to read the Bible and not be intimidated by it.
WANT LESS. "You don't need to go to Harvard to get into Heaven," my pastor once said. Swap out "Harvard" with "401k" or "529" or "property retail value" - same thing. These things are important, but just like publication takes a back seat to writing, so do material things have a proper place. My house doesn't have to be bigger (though I still want a different one). I don't need to be a VP of anything. I don't have to kill myself to avoid college debt for my kids.
Along those same lines, I won't go after something just because I can, whether it's a door buster, committee seat or promotion. Understand the price I'll pay to have X and ask myself if it's worth it.
LET GO MORE. Avoid power struggles. I can do my best, but I can't control someone else's opinion of me. I can regret a mistake, but I can own it and shrug it off instead of wearing it like a rock in my backpack. Not everyone will like me or agree with my choices, even if they're the right choices. People will get the wrong impression of me. That's okay. Only a few precious things are really worth fighting over.
When I'm at a crossroads this year on how to spend money, time or energy, I will come back to this list and realize there is no spoon crossroads. Life isn't supposed to be easy, but it can be easier, yes?
Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.
Here's to simple.