It's unbelievable how quickly we went from writing 2015 on the letterhead to 2016 now. Not that any of us hand write much anymore, but do you remember when you would return to the first day of school and inadvertently get the date wrong for a few days? Well, one of my new year's resolutions is that I would like to to hand write more. Or colour... Mostly because I love the big shiny tin boxes of Faber Castell colouring pens and have grown quite enamoured with some of those new colouring books for adults such as the Enchanted Forest.
Which brings me to my other goal: meditating more. I often describe my running as moving meditation, some say colouring is the new meditation. However, sitting still for 15 minutes, I get into the habit of and then I fall out of it. I have good runs of a few weeks and then I slack. My husband, who meditates every day for at least one hour, keeps telling me to treat it like my runs, get up and go. It's as much discipline in the beginning until you embrace it and it becomes something you "crave".
I crave clarity, patterns, schedules, security. For the past 2 weeks, I have been embracing not having much clarity or a schedule. Initially I loved it. I could run whenever, indulge, stay up later, celebrate Christmas and New Year until it got to a point where my body both physically and mentally said: "eh, what exactly are we doing here?" So of all places, we chose Sydney as a point to live "like the locals do". We shopped for the next 3-4 days, cooked nice nutritious meals at home, Chris went back to Powerliving Yoga that we had frequented 2 years ago, I went for runs and even did St Peter's parkrun, and we watched some Netflix in the evening. And we loved it! So much so, that we started behaving like real New Yorkers, scoffing at the tourists at Circular Quay and going to that little Gelateria Messina up the road in Bondi rather than staying on Campbell Parade to go to Ben and Jerry's.
Now that we only have two days left in Australia, I found the time to sit down and think back at 2015 and the time spent here, and putting it into words what I would like of 2016.
Maybe these five aspirations of mine are things you could embrace too:
- Be more present. I had to put my foot down when we came to Australia to not overbook our time with too many things. One part was that I get "peopled out" in my work if I don't safeguard my time, and I find that if I give my full attention to spending time with friends (and obviously with clients), it takes energy that needs to be preserved so that I can actually do that. We got it right this time, which has led to a feeling of days stretching out very long which is wonderful. In NYC, we are so rushed, that by the time Thursday comes around, I don't know what date it is in the calendar let alone remember what I did on Monday. I feel like we've been gone for at least a month and that's a wonderful mental break.
- Be more courageous. See above about clarity and security. When I was a budding athlete, my sport was the most structured thing in my life, day in and day out, I knew which disciplines to train on which day and my coach was there for 90% of the workouts. Outside of that, it was the time that my father passed away which was traumatic, unexpected and threw me a big curveball. I developed a stutter at school and became very timid about speaking publicly. But professional sport doesn't allow for this so I was put in nerve wracking situations over and over again. I plan to put myself in these situations more in 2016 as I have felt more of that timid side in me lately and there's only one way out, which is forward.
- Laugh more belly laughs. I recently read in Elle Australia that we should lower the laugh bar and silence our inner killjoy. Looking for opportunities to laugh, finding ways to think about laughter (lowers your adrenaline levels by up to 70%) and laughing from the belly can all contribute to more happiness, lessen stress and laughter is incredibly contagious.
- Do the little things. In running this means, warming up before I run and stretching or doing more yoga afterwards and in between. Keeping a strength routine going and sticking to it as well as strides and drills. In relationships it means, making time for skype dates or facetime with friends even if it's just for 15 minutes and making sure that I'm fully present for them. I know how happy I am when I talk to friends but many things come first especially when friends live abroad. But it's like an energy injection, a midday pick-me-up or power nap. Even better: meeting my NY friends in person whenever time allows for it. And finally I want to make sure, not to lead parallel lives with my better half and a routine of wash, rinse, repeat, bickering about chores (well, one can dream) and making sure that we discuss other things than work from time to time.
- Take better care of me. I always use finances as the reason why I don't treat myself to the occasional massage, facial or other nice treat. Maybe I'll start a "me" jar. One that I will put one dollar in per day or five (instead of that latte) and then treat myself at the end of 2 or 4 weeks. How does that sound? After all, I'm officially a grown woman now as my godmother reminded me, so my 20s routine may not suffice anymore. Plus, as I said, I like routine, so I'm sure I'll fully embrace a new beauty routine.
There you have it. Some goals and aspirations for 2016 that I feel don't sound like resolutions but ways to improve myself, my life and my connection with others. I hope you have started the year well and I promise to blog more, too :)