Instead of a new year’s resolution, my husband and I chose a motto for 2019. Yes, we want to tighten up the diet and solidify an exercise routine, but we’re striving for more. And that “more” isn’t simply more reps, more water, more sleep. We want to expand how we think about caring for our selves. We want to step back, see our lives in a bigger picture, and shift our perspectives. We want to find balance.
2019 motto: Self Care
I’m busy in new and wonderful ways this year. For starters, there’s kindergarten and career growth, which is more then enough so I’ll stop there. Raising children is a teeter-totter inside a Gravitron. (You say seesaw, I say teeter-totter.) Career growth is climbing an oil-slick ladder on a trampoline. It’s all just walking through a dark room and stepping on tiny Lego pieces. (I could go on…)
There are also many things that I love to do and many more that I want to accomplish. Skills I want to learn, causes I want to be more involved with, and a backyard I hope to transform. Each want and responsibility stands before me, waiting for action. How do I do it all? Can I do it all?
Self Care reminds me: Slow down. Step back. See the whole forest. It’s difficult to maintain balance when I focus solely on the trees.
I’m 44 now. My forest has a lot of trees. When I step back I see them all in their varying stages of growth. I also see hills and valleys, flowers and thorns, rivers and rocks. Self Care is remembering that I’ve had balance in my life, that the feeling of “too much of this” and “not enough of that” is fleeting. Sure, I need to re-balance, shift things around, and let go. But it takes time. Imbalance isn’t permanent. But it is important. Taking the time to realign personal goals–reassess where I’ve been, appreciate where I am, and define where I want to go–provides clarity. And clarity is a solid reset button.
There’s also the foundation to the forest. The morals and beliefs I have cultivated over the years, that I live by every day. The ones that hold my feet to the fire and keep me strong. It’s imperative to make certain I’m aligning my growing and changing life with my founding principles.
Self Care is complicated. It’s messy. And it’s fun. I find it helpful to plant sapling seeds as soon as I have them. I do my best to tend the seeds as they grow, making sure the soil is rich with nutrients. Self Care is not being afraid to look inside myself, to know who I am and what I need. Embrace the strengths and surrender to the weaknesses. To not just be okay with my voice but proud of it.
Here’s a list I have on my desk for this year. It’s a reminder to nurture all aspects of my life. I didn’t come up with it but it speaks to my most basic needs:
Water, rest, repeat.– from Chani Nicholas
Laundry, poetry, repeat.
Love, long-walks, repeat.
Do you have a Self Care list? If not, what would you put on it? What does your soil–your foundation–require in order to keep your forest thriving?
Self Care Inspiration
2019’s motto is inspired by rap artist, Mac Miller’s song, “Self Care.” His life and death impacted my eldest son, T, and therefore, impacted my husband and me.
Miller’s music was raw and personal. He didn’t shy away from addressing his struggle with addiction and depression. When he released, Swimming, his latest (and last) album in Aug. 2018, a month before he overdosed, T heard self-reflection, reconciliation, and even, hope. T wanted nothing more than for Miller to prevail, to be a strong voice, to continue helping him (and others) in life and in his own music. It’s been a hard blow. But, we do what we can in times like these: we listen and we learn.
If you have a few minutes (or seventeen), watch Miller’s Tiny Desk Concert on NPR Music. It’s a beautiful glimpse of his kind and boyish personality, and how his music does what art does best, tell the deeper story.