Thursday, December 31, 2015

The Last Day of 2015: Assessment and Goals

In an hour, I will walk to the beach.  As the sun rises over the ocean, I'll spend some time letting go of 2015.  I'll think about the aspects of the year that I'd like to wash away from me.  And throughout today and tomorrow, I'll spend time thinking about what I'd like to see more of in 2016.

Let me just capture some thoughts here.  I've already written a post about my spiritual aspirations (preview: encouraging light over dark and building community) at my theology blog this morning.  Tomorrow on this blog, I'll spend time thinking about my creative accomplishments and goals.

So, onward:

My biggest achievement, perhaps:

This was the year of motorcycles, which presented me many opportunities for facing fear and moving through it.  I was terrified to ride on the bike behind my spouse and terrified to learn to operate a bike.  I was terrified when we rode by ourselves and terrified to ride in a group.

This process made me realize how rarely I move outside of my comfort zone.  When I try something new--whether it be food, exercise, a creative activity, a spiritual experience--it's usually not very far away from what's familiar.

I saw one of those pithy Facebook posts that encourages us to do something that terrifies us once a day. 

Really?  Am I the only one who has to work 45-55 hours a week?  That doesn't leave a lot of time to be terrified.

But I should make time to move outside of my comfort zone more often.  And once in awhile, I should move way far outside of my comfort zone.


I have done a decent job of keeping up with basic eating and exercise goals.  Most weeks, I do a vigorous work out (think spin class) 4-6 days a week.  I almost always have 3 vigorous work outs a week.  In between, I also walk and swim.  I usually eat a diet full of fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins, and most of what I eat is made at home.  I floss every day.

Where I could improve:  My dental hygienist was blunt--I need to brush my teeth more often.  So my goal will be to brush my teeth when I come home from work or when I take my contact lenses out.  If I wait for the traditional time of before bed, I might miss that tooth brushing, since I tend to nod off while watching TV at night. 

I used to think I nodded off because TV is so boring, and that's partly true.  I also need to be more intentional about my wine consumption.  The first glass is fine--but I need to drink the second glass, if there is one, closer to the time I intend to fall asleep, so that I'm not fighting the urge to sleep much too early.

I'd like to do more in the evenings than watch TV.  This goal ties in to my goal of being present.

I would also like to eat more fruits and veggies, and to drink V8 that has extra antioxidants.  That's my ongoing goal.

I should do more strength training.  When I arrive early at spin class, I'd like to go ahead and pick up the weights that are in the spin room now.  If I could do that 2-3 days a week, that would be enough for this year.  Likewise with stretching--I'd like to do some simple stretching throughout the day.  I don't have time to go to yoga classes or to add time-consuming strength routines to my week.  But I can do a smidge more each day.

I plan to spend more time in the pool.  I will swim a bit, stretch a bit, work against the resistance of the water.  I want to do this every day, but if I do this 4-5 days a week, I'll be happy.


I continue to wish that I had time to read more--but I spend a lot of time online, and some of that is reading time, but a lot of that time could be better spent reading books.

This year, I'm going to make a list of every book I read.  If I read 2 books a month, that's 24 books by the end of the year.  I used to read 24 books a month.  But let me not get lost in what used to be.  I will read 2 books a month, plus one volume of poetry each month.  That's at least 3 books a month.  That's my goal.

Being Present:

I've gotten better at looking away from the computer screen when someone sits down in front of me in the office.  Now I need to work on being present to others outside of my office.

I've done a good job of adding breaks into my work day to actually talk to people, usually over meals or tea.  Now I need to do that outside of work.

I want to continue meeting with my quilting group of friends I've had for a long time--we've done a fairly good job through 2015 meeting every 4-6 weeks.  I want to continue.

I want to do more with friends from church.  I'm not sure what I want that to look like at this point, but I've enjoyed having groups over periodically.  Perhaps I don't want to do more, so much as I want to keep making that effort.  It would be good to see church friends socially (by which I mean outside of Sunday morning) at least once a month.

And I have similar goals for my other friends.  I am slowly making peace with the fact that my friendships won't be the intense, daily friendships of my college and grad school years.  But I'd like to see people who make me happy at least once a month.

I've spent parts of this past year feeling disconnected:  from people, from activities that once brought me joy, from essential parts of myself.  Part of my disconnection was job-related:  we've had new bosses and new expectations, and it's been a difficult year when it comes to work.  Part of my disconnection is in my head:  I start to believe that no one would notice if I didn't exist, and thus, I start to feel a bit more like I don't exist.

I want 2016 to be the year of reconnecting.  I began to feel a bit more reconnected as this year came to an end, and I want to build on that.

My overall goal:

To remember all the ways my life is important--I am living a life in sync with my values--at least most days I am, and to take another Christmas lesson forward, from It's a Wonderful Life, other people's lives are diminished when one of us is gone.  I may wish I could do more to make this world a place of peace and justice--but in my small ways, in my immediate periphery, I am doing just this.

I want to be more committed to peace than justice.  Justice-minded Kristin can be a bit harsh and legalistic.  We have quite enough of that quality in the world. 

I want to be one of the light-bringers, the light protectors.  I want to be part of the tribe of encouragement.

I want to keep the Christmas message in my head all year.  I want to remember that although we live in a land of deep darkness, the darkness will not overcome the light.

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