Sunday, January 10, 2016

2016 - The Year of Kindness

Well hello!  Just under the three month mark - yikes!

Upside of a warm Thanksgiving in Jersey
Appropriate that my last pose was at the end of October, considering Halloween always ushers in the period of absolute madness.  Everyone's lives get more rushed and busy around the holidays, but with my family, we also have birthdays and milestones and just...madness.  From my sister's birthday, Marc's and my dating anniversary, to sweet Caleb's birthday, and Thanksgiving all in November, we then move to December for both of our birthdays and Christmas and New Year's.

This cutie pie turned 1 in November!
This year, we added another thrilling milestone to celebrate every December - our third beautiful nephew, my sister's third beautiful baby and second son, and our FOURTH niece/nephew overall (in under 17 months!!!) - Kai Arthur Arel was born on December 2nd, 2015.  He was a whopping 10 lbs and absolutely beautiful, looking like an combination of Jeremy, Jeremy's dad, and my sister.  So in addition to regular holiday travel, I left for South Carolina to meet this big chunk of love the day after my birthday - after nearly a week of celebrating my birthday by welcoming one of my all-time best friends ever from California, the incomparable Katie Parker, to stay with us.

Needless to say, 2015 went out with a bang, a full heart, and so much celebratory food and drink.  I'm so thrilled to say that I'm on Day 9 of my second Whole30 and it's going really well so far.  Marc's not around to be my accountability man this time as he's in Philly, but I have two close friends who are also doing it, which means girl dinner dates!

Zoe's in heaven (we were too)
More than that, I read and just finished this morning another fantastic book by the author of The Happiness Project, Gretchen Rubin, called Better than Before.  I definitely plan to write a "book report" post about that, so stay tuned if you're an absolute self improvement/habit nerd like I am.  Between the natural New Year's motivation to have good habits, the book, and Whole30, I've been feeling very virtuous and like 2016 has gotten off to a great start.

Every year I also choose a word or a phrase to strive toward or use as an overarching guide for how I want to think or feel or act.  I've been doing this since 2009 (which holy crap is seven years ago now) and some themes stick better than others, but I keep the practice up anyway.  More often than not, it's something geared more toward living happier, living healthier, being more disciplined - but it's always inward focused.  It's always about me.  This makes sense, as most people's New Year's Resolutions are about how they want to live their own lives.

My hair is delicious
I got to thinking, though, that there's a big danger of isolationism (for an introvert like me) or just plain narcissism in relentless attention to self improvement with nothing to balance it out.  So, I settled on a word that benefits me by helping me to treat myself better and be the kind of person I want to be, and more importantly, benefits others at the same time - and that word is Kindness.  Toward others, toward myself; in action or just in thoughts (for instance, not automatically spewing mental impatience and silent insults toward slow walkers...that one will take some serious practice!), I want more kindness.

Lord knows the entire world could use more of it, in its current fraught state, and since the only thing I can control is me - there you go.  There is a tendency for some in my family and in my city to be judgmental, to focus on the negative, and to complain, and that's not the kind of person I want to be.  That's not the example I want to set for my future children - or the kids I work with now, or my niece and nephews.  I believe even though I have that side of my nature, I also have an incurable optimist's nature as well.

Through reading Rubin's book, there were many other words and phrases that leapt out at me that would be great words, but I'm sticking to my guns (so to speak) and trusting that using the idea of Kindness - even if it means one tiny change in how I might think or speak a day - is what I need for this year.

Finally, before I close, I want to say how absolutely beyond grateful I am for sweet baby Kai's health, for my sister and her husband being spectacular parents, and for my mom and Jeremy's parents being such loving parents & grandparents.  I am so deeply, deeply grateful to my husband, his family, and my friends for their support and prayers past week when we had a big scare with Kai's health.  I've never been more frightened in my life than I was this past Wednesday, and never more relieved than I was yesterday.  Life is so precious and ridiculously fragile, and it's too damn short not to be kind.

Sweet Super-Kai, feeling strong.

2 comments:

  1. I love the idea of a powerful word that brings intention to the new year! :)

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  2. I love everything about this ❤️❤️❤️ Kindness is so invaluable!

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