One of the things I love the most about this week in between Christmas and New Year’s is reflecting on the past year, reevaluating, and figuring out what parts of my life I really want to make better.
And I am finding that the older I get, the more mindful I am of the quality of all aspects of my life.
Maybe it’s because my eyesight is starting to go. Maybe it’s because I’m dealing with some health issues (more on that later this week). Maybe it’s because I’m realizing how quickly the kids are growing up.
I suppose it’s a combination of all those things.
But what I do know for sure is that I am in the second act of my life. And I want to make the most of it.
I don’t want to overload it with too much stuff, but I also sure as hell don’t want to waste any time on stuff that doesn’t matter.
I want to be productive and efficient. I want to be fulfilled. I want to make a difference.
I want to teach my kids to be the best they can be and be productive and responsible members of society who have a strong sense of who they are.
And I want them to be happy.
I want to be as healthy as possible.
And I also want to be happy.
I want to find that perfect balance of focusing on and investing in myself while guiding my kids in the right direction.
That’s a tough one. To find that perfect balance.
And I think it’s especially tough for moms. It can be so easy to get wrapped up in our kids that we forget about ourselves. And we often don’t have that a-ha moment until we are in the middle of a major nervous breakdown.
We don’t realize that we are overwhelmed and exhausted and resentful and angry because we are not investing in ourselves.
YOU HAVE TO INVEST IN YOURSELF!
I came to this realization in the midst of a nervous breakdown about five years ago.
I would soon forget this lesson, though, and it would take another breakdown for me to really get it.
Quitting drinking six months ago has given me so much clarity. It has helped me to identify areas in my life where I was doing things that may have been fun in the moment, but which weren’t bringing me any happiness at all.
I’ve been thinking about what makes me happy for a while now. What things I do to increase my level of happiness, and things I do to decrease it.
And last week I was listening to my favorite podcast, Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations, and I listened to an episode with Shawn Anchor.
I had never heard of him before.
He’s a happiness researcher, author, and speaker.
And he said some things that really struck a chord with me.
First, he said in order to be happy, we need to diversify our meaning portfolio.
“Oftentimes we have on thing that we find meaningful. For some people it’s their child. Then their world shrinks down to there is only one place of meaning. Or for some people it’s a salesperson that’s just [focusing on] “getting my sales.” And they have other things in their life, but all they really kind of focus on is that one thing.
We find that if you have one thing that’s meaningful and that’s it, then you’re in a very fragile place. [Because if that one thing falls apart, then you don’t have anything else.] So the more meaning you have, actually the more you can see that there’s connections and when something’s not doing as well, you can actually be buoyed by those other part of your life to still feel meaning so you can keep moving forward, and you can use those meaningful points to work on that area that’s frustrating.
This is one of the biggest lessons I have learned since becoming a mother.
IT CANNOT BE ALL ABOUT YOUR KIDS.
Obviously they are a priority. But not at the expense of your health and happiness.
If you neglect your health, your marriage, and your happiness, if your entire life revolves around your kids, when you hit a really low point with them — AND YOU WILL HIT MORE THAN ONE LOW POINT WITH THEM — you need a life preserver. You need something to buoy you.
You need support. You need and outlet. You need your health. You need a healthy marriage.
You may not have all of those things, but if you wanna stay happy, you need at least one of them!!!
I know I want and need to diversify.
I’m not solely focused on my kids or just one other aspect of my life, but I know I need more meaningful aspects in my life.
I spend a lot of time on the pool deck coaching other people, but I don’t spend time in the water.
My body wants to get back into the water.
And the health issues I’m having are telling me that’s what I need.
My brain is telling me otherwise — you need a damn tan! it’s cold outside! you’ve gained a shit ton of weight — people will judge you! don’t let anyone see you in a bathing suit! you’re too out of swimming shape!!!
But right now, I need to listen to my body and tell my brain to shut the hell up.
So to increase the level of happiness in my life, one thing I’m doing (maybe even before 2018) is getting my butt back in the pool.
I know it will change the quality of more than one aspect of my life.
So as we move into a new year, here is my question to you:
How diversified is your meaning portfolio?
And if it’s not where you want it to be, what are you going to do about it?