2018 was the year I chose Enough to be my guiding word. I don’t think I have ever chosen quite so wisely before. A very important date on the calendar, becoming a family of five, was book ended at either side with a season of preparation and a season of transition. From the patience of a very long Winter, to the hopefulness of a slowly growing Spring, from the joy and exhaustion of a full Summer to the expected rhythms of a pace slowing Fall, I found myself forever humbled by Enough. In honor and practice of the word, I chose to opt out of goal setting this year in favor of letting whatever happened be exactly what it should be, Enough.
To revisit the definition…
1. Occurring in such quantity, quality, or scope as to fully meet demands, needs, or expectations.
The beauty of this choice revealed itself to me in my sitting down to reflect on the year. I will write about my process because I feel it could be helpful to others. But the general picture is that by leaning into just being Enough, I discovered a year of abundant wins and valuable lessons. There was both quality and quantity in fully meeting my needs. This is how I created my Reverse Bucket List, a concept you have heard me talk about before. I tried narrowing it down to one of the trending Best Nine photos, and I just couldn’t do it. So in answer to this, I decided two sets of Best Nine would be more fitting, Nine Wins and Nine Lessons. How convenient that Nine and Nine makes Eighteen for the year 2018.
To begin on a light hearted note, lets start with Nine Wins in 2018…
1. Celebrate my 36th Birthday. And celebrate I did. Nothing about this birthday was what I might wish for an April birthday, from the blizzard in mid April to the solo parenting. But I can’t help but look back on this day with a big grin on my face. It will always be an unforgettable birthday, one I learned to delight in, in the midst of it all.
2. Go to the Beach. A Lot. From the ice covered lake explorations, to the late afternoon summer swims, there is no doubt that we made our local beach our second home. It brought relief from the exhaustion of late pregnancy and peace during the dark days of new motherhood. Its the place where new friendships began and where we went to just be a family. I am forever grateful for this little place in our lives.
3. Explore neighborhood joints, even with the kids. Gone are the days when we are up to date on the latest foodie hot spots, but ask us about the local breweries and we can point you in the right direction. How can this be, you might ask? What about a brewery sounds family friendly? Here is where the magic lies…you can bring your own food. For us, this meant we could pack up our kids favorite dinner, snack dinner, let them eat at their own pace, without the obnoxious cost of a kids meal they won’t actually finish, and enjoy ourselves a beverage or two in a relaxed space. Many of our favorites breweries even up the ante by providing toys and a space to play. Brilliant. When babysitters are scarce, but we are all craving a new environment, brewery hopping saved the day.
4. Seek Adventure in our own Backyard. Adventures will always be an important value. But we found ourselves in a place in life where money and energy levels were low. The big adventures seemed out of reach, so we set our sights smaller and discovered there are adventures to be had in our own neighborhood, city, and state. From exploring neighborhood playgrounds, to staycations in a hotel for indoor swimming in the middle of winter, to discovering only a few hours away lies one of nature’s greatest treasures in the North Shore, winter and summer. We found there is adventure just beyond our doors and for this stage of life, it is exactly what we need.
5. Take the train more. Being close to public transportation is not only a delight to the train loving three year old, it is also a value to our family in making use of public infrastructure. The best gift of all was my discovery in a new Trader Joe’s that opened right off our train line. Our Monday adventures on the train to load up on a week’s worth of groceries is rewarding in so many ways. It’s good for the environment, great for the community, and killer use of my exercise energy when I have to push a week’s worth of groceries along with 50 pounds of kids.
6. Build a playhouse, and a new backyard. This may be slightly cheating as most of the physical work of this project is due to my mother the gardener and my husband the carpenter. But I take great pride in myself as the project manager in creating a backyard as an extension of our home for our family. This will need to be it’s own post, maybe when the ground thaws and I can get some better pictures. But the process of watching a vision come to life, and seeing the possibilities it holds for the future, I am very inspired and proud.
7. Make the best of the Fourth Trimester. Thanks to an employer that understands the needs of a family, our journey into parenting three during the fourth trimester was as successful as I think it could be. Mike had six weeks to be with our family and walk through that transition with me. That meant six weeks of figuring it out together and making the best of our time as a family. Despite the exhaustion that is inevitable at this time, I look back at all we were able to do together as a family and I am overjoyed.
8. Read as a family. Reading has always been a goal and favorite pastime of mine. But this year, I discovered the joy of reading as a family. Mike and I sat more together on the couch in the morning and evening getting lost in our books. I started a new adventure in reading chapter books with Caroline, more on this in another post soon. And most importantly, I got to watch my child become a reader, for herself, but also to her younger brothers. That memory is forever etched in my mind and heart.
9. Find a new source for stretching my creativity. While social media has its flaws, I discovered it also offered a new space for my creativity this year. And that was in my exploration of Instastories. Is it a time suck? Yes, it most definitely can be. But if I treated it in a healthy manner, it allowed for a great place for me to explore my love of both writing and art. It was a creative outlet that I had so much fun exploring, as well as learning through other’s art in that space. Learning to balance my time is definitely an area for improvement, but I also see the value in playing with creativity in the ways that are most convenient for me at this time.
And speaking of creativity, tomorrow I’ll share how this exploration in writing and art invited space for learning personal lessons about myself and being Enough.