At the end of each year, I like to take an inventory of the past twelve months. I find myself at the end of 2017 filled with regret.
How did this happen? How did I let an entire year slip away, only to end up with regrets?! I have a few ideas of how this happened, but I also have a plan to make sure it doesn’t happen again in 2018.
I regret saying yes so much.
Being busy isn’t something to be proud of. We tend to pass around stories of how stressed we are like they’re some kind of trophy – and goodness, being overloaded is not a measure of success. This year, I found myself stretched too thin too many times. I found myself with six commitments in one Saturday when all I really wanted to do was curl up on the couch with a cup of coffee. This year, I am taking back the power of NO.
I regret that I expected so much from my child.
This has not been the easiest year with my daughter. As she gets older, her emotions get bigger and harder to manage. I find myself expecting her to be able to regulate her big feelings the way adults can – but she isn’t capable, and instead of understanding her, she frustrates me to no end. But she is only four. She has so much left to learn in this life, and I’m supposed to be her guide. I’m supposed to be her calm. I’ve failed her so many times in that sense – but there’s still time for me to change. I owe that to her.
I regret that I didn’t appreciate the little things.
That rascally four year old will become a 5 year old in 2018. She’ll start kindergarten. She needs me now – but she’ll need me less and less. I regret that I sometimes was too busy to play with her, or that I was looking at Instagram over her shoulder when I was supposed to be snuggling with her. I regret each and every “hurry up” and “stop that” and “WE DO NOT HAVE TIME TO PLAY IN THE MORNING GET YOUR SHOES ON NOWWWWW!” I regret not sneaking into her room every night to brush her hair out of her face while she sleeps.
I regret that another year has gone by in which I haven’t fully appreciated the gifts that I’ve been given.
I have so much to be thankful for. I have a home, I have food, I have a family who loves me. With those three things alone, I am richer than so many out there. And yet, I wasn’t thankful. I was angry when I had to cook. I was frustrated with the lack of storage space in my house and the stacks of mail and preschool artwork piling up. I have taken my family for granted, when truly, life can change in a heartbeat.
So I am making a promise to myself that 2018 will be filled with gratitude instead of regret.
I promise to say no. Like a wise woman once told me – “If it’s not a hell yes, it’s a no.” Focus on the hell yeses and forget the hesitations.
I promise to cultivate my child’s positive emotions – her limitless joy, her enthusiastic storytelling, her wild imagination. She loves big, and I promise to love her big right back.
I promise to savor the moments. Each and every hug, every kiss goodnight, every moment of wonder over little things I would have never noticed – but to her, they’re magical.
I promise to appreciate what I have. Y’all, there is so much good to be found, if you only look for it … so I promise to spend 2018 embracing all the good things. I hope you will do the same.