A New Year of Daily Intentions

Spending New Year’s Eve sick was the best dose of reality. New year’s day was not the day I would begin my marathon training; it was not the day I would sort through my closet and minimize; it was not the day I would begin writing ten pages a day. It was the day I took care of myself, so that I could heal faster.

The best advice I read for the new year was to set daily intentions instead of one overarching resolution. On a given day I may intend to create a new lecture, clean out the fridge, write a blog, or rest and drink lots of liquids. It means taking a moment to read the day, consider my obligations, and gauge my own personal needs. Some days I genuinely need to work out, not to meet a dictating resolution for the year, but to clear my head and balance my emotions.

In my field of composition and rhetoric, I have learned that timing is key. A writer crafts his response to fit a particular moment. The action is co-determined by the setting, the current conversation, and audience. Likewise, my everyday actions are also determined by multiple factors. Perhaps it would be different if my life did not involve children and a job that has varying demands day by day. All I can do is make the best decisions in the moment. This is what I can cook and eat with the available ingredients and the allotted time. I have had write this blog post in pieces because sometimes a six year old appears on my lap or the noise level in the house escalates beyond the point at which I can concentrate. In those moments, I move on to a different intention, which doesn’t require the same cognitive labor or better serves the needs of my household.

My goal is not to set myself up for disappointment or agitation but to still have expectations. I have discovered when I have set up unsustainable goals, such as I am going to write 500 words a day, when I fail, I quit. A daily intention is not about a streak of behaviors that can be broken. It’s not a diet you can fail. It’s about waking up each morning and planning what you have to do and what you want to do. Today is the last day of my children’s winter break. My intention is to remove the holiday decorations, visit with my parents, let my children dictate some fun activities, and prepare for a work day tomorrow.

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Bath Bombing the New Year

Even though my Christmas card declared this year the best year yet, featuring a collage of happy moments, 2016 was a tough one politically, professionally, and personally. On the whole, the world seems a bit crueler and more mismanaged. In my little social media filter bubble, the past year is being blamed for celebrity deaths and misfortunes. It has become the embodiment of the shock and horror many feel about the election of our next president. While I cannot control the rebel forces in Syria, prevent more beloved celebrities from dying of heart disease, or even make my five year old like school, I can control my own well-being, actions, and environment.

I always find that time in between Christmas and New Year’s to be emotionally hard. It is one of those in-between times, where you are suspended in limbo between events and life changes. As an early riser with two small children, I no longer look forward to the ball drop or use the night as an excuse to consume a bottle of champagne. Instead, I solidify my old fart status by remarking on the swift passage of time, “How can it be 2017? Wasn’t it just 1997? Where did the time go?” My feelings on New Years being such, I see no reason to wait to begin new projects, adventures, and musings.

One of my greatest joys is buying craft supplies and thrift store potential makeovers, organizing them, and imagining the possibilities. Rarely, though, do the possibilities become reality. This holiday break I finally forced myself to play. Instead of simply compiling Pinterest pins and reading reviews, I bought some essential oils and began creating my own diffuser sets and bath bombs. Over my nearly four decades of existence, I have discovered there are two ways I work: relentless research with prolonged indecision and flying by the seat of my pants. Honestly, the second is much more fun and yields much more memorable lessons.

Here is the bath bomb recipe I tried: https://brightnest.com/posts/little-luxuries-how-to-make-the-perfect-bath-bomb. What I learned: two teaspoons is an excessive amount of essential oil, you need pack your stainless steal balls hard, and wear gloves. In other words, I need to tweak a few things, but I still ended the night in a fizzy bath. I would have missed this scientific bathing wonder if I had simply sat on the couch scrolling through social media.

Lesson: make things in the New Year.

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