Thursday, January 3, 2013

how i want to live my life

A couple weeks ago I wrote about the Mayan calendar and the winter solstice. I mentioned that I would sit down that evening and writing my life resolutions for the new era: how I plan to contribute to a new world, in my home, in my community, and globally.

I have mulled over these resolutions for the past week and am still happy with my initial list, with one addition.
  1. Pay attention to my children
  2. Pay attention to my husband
  3. Talk to my children about kindness and love
  4. Schedule time for community service
  5. Consume responsibly
  6. Embrace, explore, and develop my faith
  7. Speak kindly about others
  8. Embrace the hard
If anyone cares to read on, I've written a bit about each of my life resolutions below so I can come back to this periodically.

Pay attention to my children
I do not love playing with my children. There. I said it. I love them fiercely, but I am not one who loves to play legos or playdoh or make-believe. I've never been that type (couldn't stand babysitting while I was growing up). Far too often I find myself spending their awake time cleaning my house and telling my children to wait so I can finish doing something I could easily leave until later. While I do have fun with my kids and hug and kiss them constantly, I recognize that it takes a conscious effort on my part to actually play with them. I will pay attention to my children.

Pay attention to my husband
His likes, his dislikes, his interests, what makes him laugh, what hurts him, what gives him hope, what troubles him, what he needs, what he wants. Christian can be quite the chatter box when you get him going, but much of the time he keeps his thoughts to himself. I can't know him if I don't pay close attention. And it's hard to have a happy home if you don't truly know that best friend who shares your room. I will pay attention to my husband.

Talk to my children about kindness and love
When Graham was born I started writing in the most endearing baby book. Under Mother's and Father's Ambitions for Baby I wrote, "We want you to be a good person. Be happy. Appreciate your life. Be kind to others. Say nice things about people. Love your family. Love us, please. We love you so much." I still don't feel the need to add anything to that short list. I want my children to know true kindness and love. It is up to us to teach them.

Schedule time for community service
I used to do a lot of community service in high school, everything from picking up trash on the side of the road to working at a food bank. Then life happened, and the only community service I do anymore is give blood. Some may say that spending upward of 14 hours a week preparing for and teaching early-morning seminary (scripture study class for teenagers) is community service. That's just everyday life for us. To me, community service means reaching out beyond your social circles to interact with and serve strangers. The opportunities are out there. I just need to get my foot back in that door.

Consume responsibly
A result of not having much money is that you spend less money. You get a keen sense of wants versus needs. It turns out most things in life are wants. We have very few needs. I have lost the desire to have lots of things. In the process I have really started to notice the waste all around us. I am being more selective about what I buy, looking at products for their environmental as well as social impact. I plan to blog more about this. This is my global contribution.

Embrace, explore, and develop my faith
Contrary to some peoples' belief, I am not in my religion merely because I was born into it. I have spent years thinking about my faith: what aspects of my religion I love, what aspects make me think, and what aspects make me cringe. I have made a conscious decision about my faith. I will continue to embrace, explore, and develop my faith--how it applies to my life and what I believe--but I want to do so with more intent.

Speak kindly about others
I give people the benefit of the doubt. I get along with almost everyone I meet, and I think I have the ability to understand people--what makes them do and think and say the things they do, even if it differs from how I act. However, there will always be those few whose opinions and actions I just cannot wrap my brain around. This is when I fall short of this resolution. Speaking ill of others brings no good. There is no benefit. I will work harder at this and be more aware when I find myself getting sucked in to such a conversation.

Embrace the hard
I added this to the list after reading today's post by Damaris over at Kitchen Corners. Things have been hard. Most of my life is wonderful, but there are parts that have been very hard in the last few years. Things I can't change. I am slowly learning how to embrace the hard that comes along with life, but it is always so difficult to embrace these things in the moment. There will always be hard things mixed into even the best life. It will do me a world of good if I can learn to embrace the hard.