2022 – A Year in Review

Whew- 2022 is coming to a rapid end. Does anyone else just feel like…where did this year go? It can’t just be me, honest it can’t. I feel like this year has just flown by. 

The New Year is funny as I celebrate the Jewish New Year and it’s always, historically been when I feel like it’s a new year…but then I celebrate and wrap up with the English calendar. So, most of my thoughts and goals have already been stated possibly, though I have a bit of a firmer attitude at this point. 

2022 was…notable and yet not notable. I learned some things about myself, my relationships, and others that really shaped my thoughts and life moving forward. I’ve alluded to this before, but there have been some real ups and downs over the past year. Nothing terrible, but just…reminding myself of lessons I’ve learned prior to this. 

I’ve learned that jealousy from others is a very real thing and that there is nothing that you can do about it- maybe even more so when it’s about aspects that you can’t really…help. I’ve learned that as much as you might love something, if it’s toxic you have to lesson your involvement. I’ve been reminded that once you remove certain people and situations from your life you remember what life is. 

I’ve had to relearn and remind myself what sticking firm to my boundaries looks like. I’ve had to remind myself that there are shades to boundaries (remember THIS post?). I’ve had to have conversations with my children that I hadn’t expected to have yet- and I’ve said, “this is a conversation we aren’t quite ready for, but if you have any questions, please ask them”, several times. 

But I’ve had so many good times in 2022. I’ve re discovered and reminded myself who I am, the beauty and excitement and magic of the little moments I’ve found joy, happiness, and magic in the little in between moments, in the mundane daily tasks, in the tiny touches nobody notices (until they do). We’ve traveled quite a bit- NYC, Niagara, Mackinac, Toronto, Montreal, North Creek for the Autumn Leaves, and Letchworth for our Camper Trip. Our older baby “graduated” Kindergarten ahead of grade level, and our youngest started Kindergarten strong ending 2022 with an award! 

When I sat down to figure out my word of the year back during Rosh Hashanah (post HERE), I really took the time to think about what I wanted to welcome in my life in the new year. It sounds ridiculous but I really want to choose a word wisely. I don’t know it’s just important to me, but it is and this year I kind of struggled. Eventually it just came to me…

Simcha – the Hebrew word for Joy. That’s what I wanted. That was all I wanted. Joy in everything. And to be honest, I think I’ve found it. It’s funny because I picked “Simcha” because that’s what I wanted, but it’s what I had been finding for several months. I had been reminding myself what joy in everything looked like. And I feel like I’ve brought it to life, both in myself and in my family. And I’m excited to see what is coming in 2023 and my Jewish New Year has already been going SO WELL. 

What else do I want in 2023? Well, not a whole lot. I think this year is the year that I don’t have a lot of goals- every year I’ve said that I want to complete a few personal projects, and this still stands, but I don’t have a timeline for those. I started back on my podcast, and I want to continue that, I want to take on a bit more volunteer work and do more within my community. But I also want to recognize that 2023 is going to be a toucher one for us and I want to be flexible to work around the year ahead. 

I hope that everyone has a wonderful start to the New Year! Let me know if you do a word of the year, if so, what is it? Do you have any goals for the new year? 

New Year, New Nothing – 2022

Listen, it’s 2022. I think that this year is not THE year (which is OK). But, even if it’s not THE year, that doesn’t mean that we can’t keep our heads up, our shoulders light (maybe), and carry forward doing our best (whatever that means for YOU). 

For me, what does 2022 look like? Well, I don’t really know to be honest. Right now, the world feels like it’s in a fragile place and I don’t just mean in terms of the Pandemic. There’s a lot of scary things happening from {what feels like} all around and I feel like we are going to have to weather quite a bit over this year and the next. I know what I hope for, and I know what I’m going to be doing, but beyond that is really out of my control. 

With that being said, I’m not really making any resolutions or intentions this year. This is partly because of how I want to approach the year, but also because I feel like this year is going to throw us for loop after loop after loop to be honest. And my almost type a personality needs to be able to plan to be flexible (the laughs to be had there). I have things that I would LIKE to accomplish this year- a book, growing both the blog and the podcast, a new podcast, some big traveling, seeing some family that I haven’t in far too long, volunteering more, seeing both kids starting school, etc.- but I also want to recognize that if this year goes any way like the couple past, I need to also have some grace in those goals. I will still be able to accomplish them, but maybe not in the timeline or way that I had planned. 

I do have a word of the year, and some basic changes that I’d like to initiate just for my overall mindset, but nothing super major. This is also stuff that I’ve touched on before at Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year), so you can read that post HERE to see…or just continue below haha. 

Ok, so we’ll start with the hard part, the word of the year. Back when I was working on Rosh Hashanah, I struggled to find a word that fit with what I wanted the new year to look like. The world right now is a bit of a scary place in so many ways and we’re in a dark spot, again, in so many ways. I’ve always felt like I wanted to be that light, that cheery spot in someone’s day, that person that can be the safe spot. Those are the moments/things that I cling to when I’m having an off/bad day, those are the moments/things I want to provide others with, and what I think makes all the difference. BUT I’ve never really found an English word that described that. So, I turned to Yiddish and/or Hebrew (this was in part because I couldn’t find an English word and in part because I really wanted to lean into this side of things a bit more). Enter: MECHAYEH or “that which gives life”, the idea of a thing or feeling that just makes your day (the example given was a cool glass of lemonade on a hot day).

That seems lofty, or like I’m putting myself on a pedestal, BUT I’m trying to think of it as more of an overall thought process, not like I am that exact word. 

Now, I already mentioned that I didn’t want to set full resolutions or intentions. I’ve mentioned some of the things that I would like to accomplish this year, but I’ve found that this year might be better to also focus on the little things in the day to day that can help me accomplish those bigger things. So, one of those things (something I’ve already been working on” is getting out of bed when my alarm goes off. We all do it, we all wait till the last minute, hit the snooze button as many times as we can, or just lay around on our phone until something else calls to our attention. When I don’t do this, I have a mile’s better day, feel clear headed, and don’t spend nearly as much time on my phone. So, that is my little promise to myself to do every morning. Get out of bed with my first alarm and get on with my day, instead of procrastinating until the last minute. 

And that’s really it. That’s my one full resolution for 2022. I’m hoping that doing that will help me accomplish those other bigger goals. This may seem like a “cop out” in so many ways, but if the past two years have taught me anything at all, it’s that the littlest of things make the biggest difference. 

What else do I want to note about 2022? Nothing really. I know we are all a bit wary going into this new year, and with just cause. It feels like such a dark and draining time for so many, but it’s also full of so much light and joy. We just need to find our balance between advocating change for the dark/painful parts and recognizing the joy of our life and world. 

2021 Wrap Up

Well…2021…the year that was. I don’t know if it’s my frame of my mind while I’m writing this or if it’s just the general…meh ness of this past year, but I’m just not feeling a wrap up. We had a lot of good, some not so good, and a whole bunch lumped in together to end the year out (which if I’m honest, is probably what’s making this wrap up feel meh). However, this end of year reflection is kind of becoming a tradition and it’s one that I want to keep going. I feel like reflecting on a time allows us to learn lessons and continue to grow as long as it’s done from a place of honesty (as in- recognize if you are viewing it through rose colored glasses – which is fine but should be noted- and don’t change the bad stuff around to suit your current status or feelings). 

So, 2021…

Our year started with a big move, from Germany to the US. We said a very sad, very fond, very long (seriously- our flight was delayed for two days) farewell to our German adventure. It was a kicking and screaming moment as we really loved our home, our neighborhood, and the friends we made there. There was a bit of culture shock once we got back to the States, namely a) you can get anything, anytime, b) the cost of…well everything, and c) the general “busy, busy, busy” lifestyle read about it: LEAVING GERMANY, ADJUSTING TO AMERICA, DIFFERENCES). 

We ended the first quarter of 2021 making a new home, a new community in upstate New York. We’ve settled in really nicely into our new house, creating a imperfectly perfect space with what we’ve got and I’m really in love with how it all has come together. I’ve still got some décor bits and bobs I’m working to find, but I’m trying to be slow and mindful with those purchases. We’ve settled into a new community, jumping into a new school, some new volunteer opportunities, and new friends all around. It’s been a real blessing how everything here has seemingly clicked into place. 

We spent spring exploring some of our area (ALEXANDRIA BAY, LAKE ONTARIO/WELLESLY ISLAND), and summer exploring a part of the East Coast we hadn’t gotten to see (PLYMOUTH, BOSTON, BOSTON PT 2, SALEM, PORTLAND). Then Summer started to turn to Autumn, and we went a final couple of places on our list (ALBANY, FINGER LAKES, LAKE PLACID). I feel grateful for the amount of traveling that we have been able to do this year and for the truly incredible places we’ve seen. We fell in love with a couple new places, solidified what’s important to us when traveling, and maybe how we want to do a couple trips differently in the future. 

The boys have settled in remarkably well, reminding me just how resilient our children truly are. They’ve fallen right into the swing of things with Colton properly starting Kindergarten this year and Andrew…well, being Andrew. We’ve had a couple of struggles that come with the changing years as they grow, and we’ve had a couple of trips to the hospital (remember when I said everything bad seemed to come at the end of the year all at once?), but throughout it all, the boys weathered with a smile on their face and excitement in their eyes. Well, the excitement might have been a troublemaker’s gleam, but we’ll go with excitement. 

As a family, I think we are in the strongest shape we’ve ever been in. We just continue to grow individually and as a unit and I’m just so happy and at peace with life. That feels so good to say. Robert and I celebrated 10 years together and hit 7 years married. Safe to say, we’ve come so far and have so far to go. 

Finally, have I changed? Grown? Experienced something new this past year? Yes and no. I feel like I’ve really started to learn how to use my voice, what I want to use my voice for, solidified some boundaries, and learned how to “manage” certain things. I don’t think that we’re meant to learn something every year or grow massively or experience great things. Some years we are just meant to carry on and I feel like that has really been my sole focus of 2021. Carry on, move forward, and see the light. That I feel like I accomplished. 

2021 – Word of the Year, Intentions, And Other Notes

Man, what a year 2020 was. If 2020 taught me only one thing, it would be that sometimes our goals/resolutions/intentions/whatever fly out the window in the face of drastic changes. I set out for a year of growth, of travel, of living life and was greeted with a year of learning how to be still, how to be at home, how to teach and adapt to the never-ending changes. I was greeted with the travel that meant doing everything last minute just in case things changed, of booking only nonrefundable and saying no to some things instead of yet. 

So, what does that mean as we go into 2021? It means I don’t really have any goals/intentions/resolutions/whatever else. This year I want to really focus on two things…establishing “home” and everything that entails and allowing things to come and go as they may. One thing I’m good at, one thing I’m not so good at. 

2021 starts off with a massive shift for us as we move back to the USA. I’ve talked about this, I feel like, ad nauseum, but in reality, probably not. This is not a move that I was super excited about, but it’s one that I am approaching with wary positivity. I am choosing to look at it as simply another adventure in our life, another page of our book, and that helps with the sadness of leaving (don’t worry- a whole post just about leaving Germany is coming where I sort through all the feelings). I feel like with that comes a period of uncertainty. What will life in New York look like? What will our home look like? What will our day to day look like? My husband is going into a new phase of his career and so his schedule will change (somewhat drastically), our older son will be starting Kindergarten in the fall (whatever that will look like), and my youngest will be doing a preschool program in our home (with me- so that will be fun). And of course, all of this is among the global pandemic that is still on going, which simply throws another wrench into everything. 

I want to try and get settled and really get that “home” feeling as soon as we get our home. I want to get back into a bit of a daily routine (as that has really fallen off as 2020 has come closer and closer to an end). I want to get back into daily yoga and walks. I want to feel a bit more…not in the funk that was the second half of this past year. I think that is the best first step to setting up the rest of the year for success. So, that is one of my primary things I am focusing on for 2021. That’s the thing that I am good at. Home. Community. Settled. 

I want to be better at allowing things/trips/places/whatever to come and go as they do. This year showed me that I CAN go with the flow and just up and travel with very little time to plan. I want to be open to doing more of that. One of my biggest pet peeves about myself is how…plan/routine I can be. But in 2020 I kind of just had to throw it all out the window (every single trip we took was planned at a max of 4 days prior to departure). I want to continue that “momentum” into 2021 as it looks like that is going to continue to be a situation. 

With all of that being said, I don’t have a word for the year 2021 yet. I usually always do the whole “one word 365” thing every year (the past two years have been adventure) because I love the idea of not having resolutions for each year (because oof let’s talk about setting yourself up for failure in so many different ways), but instead this one word that you want to shape how your year shakes out. Normally this is fairly easy for me to pick, I haven’t settled on a word for 2021 yet. There are a fair number of things that I want out of this year, things that are different enough and to put all of that in to one word is a bit difficult. I combed and combed through words, writing down anything that resonated, even a little bit for me. And then it hit me. One of the things that I really want to hold on to, something I learned while being here in Europe, was how to LIVE. Again, I’ll talk about this in my leaving Germany post, but I really learned about what it feels like/looks like to live your life, rather than plod through it and that is something that I want to hold on to and remember as we turn the page on this chapter. So, my word for 2021 is LIVE or the hebrew of Chai (life).

So, there we go, a whole bunch of my rambly thoughts for 2021. Let me know what your plans are for 2021 (if you have any!) 

Looking Forward Into 2019

2019 is going to be a BIG year for us. We are moving out of the country, into a new environment, new culture, new job, new schedule to work with. As exciting as this time is ( I am seriously bubbling over with excitement if that makes sense), I also know that we will have quite the adjustment to make with all of the changes.

I’ve spoken before about I don’t really make true resolutions. I feel like resolutions are just made to be broken and that rather than approaching a new year with a list of resolutions that will probably not be kept (no matter how hard we try), I would rather set what is commonly called intentions. For me, these are things that I would like to make sure I am either doing or open to doing in the New Year.

Let’s be honest for a minute and realize that who we are, what we think, what we want to do, isn’t going to magically change just because it is 2019. Rather we have to make distinctive goals and efforts to make changes that we want to see. If you want to lose weight in 2019, rather than setting a resolution, set yourself up with a couple of reasonable goals for throughout the year.

I usually set one big “phrase” of the year. Something that I hope to keep strong throughout the year and how I would like to approach the New Year. Then I’ll set a couple other little intentions for how I want my mindset to be, or if there is something I specifically would like to address in the new year.

This year my big phrase is: “Be Open”.

It may sound a little strange when it is just one incomplete sentence, but I just want to be open to whatever this year is going to bring us. I’ve mentioned (maybe a time or two before…or too many times before haha) what a big change this year is going to be. I just want to keep an open mind to everything and kind of just run with it. To just set out without anything really in mind and let the cookies fall where they fall.

This seeps into all of my other smaller intentions which honestly can be summed up into this: “You can’t plan everything”. I am an over planner, over thinker, and while I can “go with the flow” it is not my strong suit. This year I want to get better at just letting go of some of the planning that I do. I think that our move is the perfect chance for me to experience some of that letting go. I’ve also cut out some of the things that required such planning and routines, so that will also make it easier to make this change for the year.

Beyond just setting intentions, I also like to do the whole one word year. I like to pick one word at the start of a year for the year. What I want my focus to center on and what I would like to bring more into our lives. It doesn’t “govern” anything, but rather is a guide for what I want to focus on.

This year my word is: “Explore”.

I really just want to get better at getting out and exploring our area. The cultures, the experiences, the nature of where we are going to be. I feel like sometimes when we go to a new place we can fall into a trap of still sticking to what we know, where we are comfortable at. This year I really want to make sure that I am pushing all of us out to truly explore. To reach out of our comfort zones and experience new things.

I do have a couple of “smaller” goals that I want to accomplish throughout the year, and while I am not going to share them right here, if all goes the way I foresee I’ll be sharing all the details very soon!

Tell me, do you do resolutions, intentions, one word, something different, nothing at all? What do you do to prepare for the New Year?

I can feel it in my bones- this year is going to be incredible!!

Real Talk: Holiday Stress

Oh the Holidays. The most wonderful time of year. Maybe.

I like to think that there are three categories of people around this time of year.

Category A) The Grinch. The one’s who enjoy making a mockery or being in a sullen mood this time of year. This DOES NOT include folks that are actually depressed this time of year or who take the holidays especially hard due to family loss or personal loss. I could not even begin to empathize with that and if you are someone who has a tough time with holidays, I am so incredibly sorry. This are those people who are just grinches in good form. My husband is a member of this category (although he is getting better now that we have children).

Category B) The jolly go with the flow-er (think Cindy Lou Who’s dad). This category is for those who just go with what the holiday season brings. They want everything to be perfect, but know that it will be perfect because that is just what it is. They don’t stress over decorations, over baking, over making everything perfect and just enjoy the holiday season for what it is.

Category C) The Mayor of Who-Ville. This is the category that I think a fair amount of people fall into. The one’s who stress about having everything just so, who want to be able to have all the cookies, who want to buy everyone the perfect gifts, who want to capture all the smiles on camera. Those who want Christmas dinner to taste beyond amazing.

I think most of us fall somewhere in between Category B and Category C (with maybe a few more in the Stressful Category C). The holidays can be stressful and they coincide with the end of the year, which depending on what you do can be stressful in itself. The idea of getting all of the gifts, everything wrapped and hidden from prying eyes, making sure that everyone gets their Christmas cards, that everything is planned for Christmas eating and THEN to go back and plan a whole bunch more for New Years can set anyone’s head spinning.

I am here today to tell you to STOP.

This whole trap of making everything perfect during the Holidays is a dangerous one that can leave us forgetting the whole point of the Holidays. Setting aside any religious aspects, the whole point of the Holidays (at least for me) is being with family. Seeing and being with family trumps anything else that can happen. The whole idea of being present in the moments when my children see the Christmas tree light up for the first time that year. Or seeing their faces Christmas morning when they come out to sugary treats (usually Cinnamon Rolls, Pancakes, or Waffles) and the excitement of a present or two for them to open.

If we spend our time stressing about gifts, wrapping, cooking, etc, we lose sight of the important moments. Honestly, your children will not care if the tree is absolutely perfect, they will not care if you do not make every type of cookie that you wanted. What they will remember and care is that Mommy or Daddy were not there. They weren’t smiling and laughing with them. If you are working yourself into stress, or panic over getting everything accomplished, let something go. It will not ruin your overall Holiday.

So, if you are heading into the next couple of months stressing, let it go. Let whatever is going on go and remember what the Holidays are really about.

 

Looking Forward Into 2018

I’ve always loved beginnings and endings. I know that the bulk of a story can be wonderful, but there is something truly special to me about beginnings and endings. The beginning of a new year is a special time for many. It gives a chance to have a “fresh start” a new chance to have the best time. This year is no different. In fact it seems like this year is special because so many people seem hopeful for a good year, a better start.

For me, every year I set my one word and in the past year, I’ve set a motto for how I want my year to go- how I want to approach life. I also give myself a challenge for the year. I don’t typically share any of these, but I figured this year it might be nice.

My motto for 2018 is:

“Every day is a new day, treat it that way. Get Up, Dress Up, Show Up.”

I really want to be better about approaching everyday with fresh eyes. I don’t want to bring the negativity of a previous day into a fresh new day. It just prolongs the bad and you miss out on the good of a new day.

As a rule, I don’t set resolutions. I set guidelines and intentions for what I want to accomplish in the new year. I find that resolutions end up being so final and a full year can ebb and flow as it goes. I also find that setting a “resolution” is like begging for failure. If you set something slightly different, it allows you a little more freedom, doesn’t feel as rigid, and is much easier to achieve/less likely for failure.

My biggest challenge that I want to work on this year is an overall of just being a better person. I have noticed this past year, I have had a lot more moments of being petty and judgmental and just an ugliness that I don’t like. It is not a normal for me and something that I really want to focus on eradicating from my life.

What are your intentions or guidelines for 2018?