Dear Starfish Diaries, Self Discovery

Here’s To Joy

I’ve always loved the idea of a New Year.  Any excuse to start fresh and to make a list has me written all over it.  Every year I have grand plans to save money, lose weight, and become a better person.  I’ve been known to make proclamations about working out every day, paying off x amount of debt in x amount of time, never letting negative self talk fall from my lips, and becoming a perfect wife, daughter, sister, and friend.

Well, I’m not writing from my beach house in size four skinny jeans playing my harp and sporting a halo, so clearly I’ve fallen short in one way or another.

However, as I sit here in my little apartment surrounded by sleeping animals, wearing ancient leggings from Target and sipping on hot lemon water, I’m surprisingly ok with it all.  Sure, running the marathon didn’t happen.  But I went for a nice long walk this morning.  Yeah, I had a (vegan) hot dog with a side of chips and salsa for breakfast.  But I also had a cup of blueberries.  Maybe my bank account isn’t where I want it to be, and my credit card number was hacked AGAIN.  But hey, bills are paid, I can afford to eat as healthy or junky as I please, and they’ll send me a new credit card.  And, silver lining, there wasn’t much on there to be stolen anyway, so TAKE THAT thievin jerks!

I’m definitely of the mindset that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.  And I ain’t broke.  Neither are you.  My friend Erica of the fabulous blog, Bring Your Own Kombucha recently wrote a post on setting intentions rather than resolutions for the New Year.  I love this sentiment, and love her process.  When I read it I had also begun making a list for 2018 that doesn’t exactly fit the “resolutions” mold.  I’m still not entirely sure how to categorize my list, but essentially it is comprised of activities and mindsets that will preserve and elevate the joy in my life.  Maybe I’ll call it my 2018 Joy List.

An incredibly helpful resource I used to create my Joy List came from Jordan Bach, who is as wise as he is handsome.  It’s super simple: write out what worked this year, what didn’t work, and how you’ll do more of what works and less of what didn’t in the New Year.  You can read his article and get a free worksheet from him by going here.  But finish reading this post first.  Pretty please.

And since you’re dying to know, I’ll clue you in on some of the highlights of my 2018 Joy List.

  • Go for early morning walks.
  • Do yoga when and where it feels good.
  • Write for me.  Ignore the stats.
  • Eat mindfully.  Forgive myself when I don’t.
  • Don’t over-schedule.
  • Go to coffee shops.
  • Get pedicures.
  • Go to bed early, and don’t apologize for it.
  • Buy books.  Share them with friends.

There’s more, but you get the idea.  When I look at this list, I feel really happy.  I’m excited to do those things.  I WANT to make room in my life for them.  I’m inspired, and I’m not intimidated.  Even the simplest things, like going to coffee shops, give me the warm tingly feelings.  Because I love going to coffee shops.  I always find a reason not to go- I don’t have the time, I don’t even DRINK coffee- but I am so happy in a coffee shop.  So I’m going to spend more time there.

And yoga.  Yoga is my favorite, and a big part of my life (and sanity).  But I have been known to set goals like #yogaeverydamnday, and beat myself up for taking a day off.  I’ve signed up for classes Monday through Friday and resentfully stomped off to the studio by Thursday evening, wishing I was home with a book and a cup of tea, cursing the universe that forced me to put on a sports bra.  (News flash: nobody was forcing me but me.)  Why must we make the fun things less fun by making them a requirement?

Hey self!  I see you are enjoying this thing!  Great!  You are now obligated to do said thing every day for the rest of your life even if you don’t want to, until you hate it!  And by the way, if at any point you need a break from thing for any reason, you get to feel anxious and guilty and filled with self loathing!  Enjoy!

Let’s not do that.  Let’s not ruin yoga, and reading books, and eating things that happen to be healthy but are also delicious.  I love avocado, but when I put it in every-freaking-thing it makes me want to throw all the avocados out the window and eat nothing but french fries and skittles for a week straight.  Is it just me?  No?  Good.

I have a really good feeling about 2018.  For humanity in general, 2017 set the bar pretty low, so if we all go into the New Year feeling positive and determined to improve, there’s not a whole lot we can do to screw it up.

I raise my mug of lemon water to you, and wish you a Happy New Year.  Here’s to not screwing it up.

Here’s to joy.

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