I know New Year's Day was last Thursday (though details are blurry), but for working adults and parents of school-aged children alike, today really seemed to me like the fresh start. Maybe it's because we snuck in a few more days of celebration and debauchery right up until the evening of January 4, and maybe it's because this morning found me throwing out all the treats in the house and buying great quantities of citrus fruit, kale, and sparkling water while the kids straggled back to school and the work emails began coming in fast and furious, but I'm going to say today's still legit as far as fresh starts and resolutions go.
Other than the aforementioned scaling things waaaaay back in the food and drink department at the start of a new year (this month is formally known in our house as "No-Treat January" -- ask my kids about it; they love it (sarcasm)), I tend to make very few formal resolutions. One year I resolved publicly to do a triathlon, which I did, but other than that I can't remember any big proclamations. I do try to sit down and jot down a few ideas, habits, or little goals. They're small shifts, usually -- course corrections, I like to call them. Here's what I wrote at the close of last year:
Last January, I also made a simple "More/Less" list, which, shockingly, did not disappear completely in the scary piles of paper that live on my desk. It's sitting right next to me just this minute; here, I'll tell you. In the "more" category I wrote: DSLR photography (fail); scheduled one-on-one time with each kid (meh, sort of); vegetables (nope); yoga (yep); church (yes!); time with siblings/parents/cousins (yes again); creative writing (see this very page); new friends (hmm, a few); and service (working on it). In the "less" column, I wrote: Instagram (nope; totally addicted); wasted weekends (doing pretty well); meat (probably not); lazy workouts (what did I even mean by this? sheesh); procrastination (lifelong habit, getting better); and living in "the bubble" (excellent progress there).
I know this is probably interesting to nobody else but me, but I bring it up here to say that, even though I haven't looked at this list every day, I have referred to it here and there, and just the act of reflecting and writing a few things down ended up changing the course of my year in ways I couldn't have imagined back in January of 2014. I hadn't even dreamed up Reclaiming Sunday Supper yet, we hadn't yet found the church we'd end up joining, and I hadn't even applied -- much less been accepted -- into the leadership program I've been a part of since September. Looking back on 2014, those three things have easily contributed to me achieving about half of my little goals for the year.
Which brings me to today, January 5, my self-declared New Year's Day for work-at-home moms everywhere. I haven't made a list or written down any small ideas, but I have recommitted to focusing my energy here a bit more, though other things constantly clamor for my attention. Just as our family has found we never regret making time for Sunday supper with family or friends, I never regret parking myself at my laptop for half an hour with a glass of wine (or, in January, sparkling water with lemon). I miss it when I'm not here, the way we missed the one Sunday we had to cancel Sunday supper because Jemma had the flu. And even as the event itself becomes more casual (I could barely imagine changing out of my sweatpants when our friends came yesterday, so I just didn't) and it comes to feel like more of our regular Sabbath routine than something novel we're trying on, I keep finding tidbits in the world everywhere I look, reminding me why resolving to spend more time resting and connecting around the table with people you love is always a good thing.
One of my Leadership Grand Rapids classmates shared this quote with our group in December, and it's echoed in my head ever since. It's from Thomas Merton, and I think it's worth considering if you're still mulling over your own goals and resolutions for 2015.
So in that "less" column: less frenzy, less activism, less overwork, less commitment, less contemporary violence. And, if I may humbly suggest, more good conversation around the table, more Sabbath in your life, more permission to rest, more imperfection, more radical empathy. I'll just be looking forward to more Sundays around our big farm table, and to quietly showing up here to tell you about it.
Happy New Year.