Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Big Things: Focus


This year, more than any other, seems to carry focus. Not because of some determined resolution but 
because of a path that I have slowly, oh so slowly, been wearing down and creating.

But before I can press my feet into the dirt and continue, I need to take a little bit of time to reflect. A year has ended and a new one has shuffled into place. In reflecting on 2015, the year of balance, it took me a moment to recognize the year as it was. Most of the changes, with some serious exception, are small. A few are light, simple, and fun. But my reason for creating a list is to provide a reminder, context. And in this post of introspection, I realize that 2015 was the year in which this quote proved true:

We rang in 2015 at our house with some of my best college friends. It was wonderful!

A few weeks later, Nick, Emaline, and I flew to Sanibel, Florida with my parents. We rode bikes, collected shells, watched sunsets, drank jai-alai, and swam in the ocean.

While we were there we found out that my Nana Rice was very sick. We wondered if we needed to return home early, but the decision was made for us when a massive snowstorm shut down New England. When we were able to get back,we spent time with my Nana before she passed away.

Nick pulling Emaline through the backyard of the house where my Mom grew up.
My Uncle Paul doing something on the roof. My Nana watching us through the window. The last day we saw her.

On my birthday, we said goodbye to my last grandparent. I wrote about her here. We spent the next few months buried in snow.

When finally the last bit of white melted away, we broke the record for the snowiest winter in Boston's recorded history. And moving forward from that hibernation, I realize now, how many small changes happened then:
  • Started a number of house projects 
  • Tended the yard and gardens around our home
  • Discovered podcasts 
  • Continued to simplify, declutter, and slow my home
  • Began eating more fruits and veggies with a daily smoothie
  • Got myself to enjoy black coffee
  • Started wearing lipstick. (It only took me 32 years to decide that I liked the way it looked.) 
  • Learned to like cooking a bit more and picked up a few recipes
  • Took a painting class
  • Attended networking events
  • Found a workout class that I really enjoy and have stuck with it. Barre!

In May, we celebrated Emaline's second birthday with a big party at our house and got her a swing-set. A few weeks later, Nick had to go to Amsterdam for a work conference and I took the opportunity to join him. We left Emaline with my Mom and traveled Bruges and Amsterdam for six days. It was a great reminder how much Nick and I love to travel together and want that for our family in the years to come. We also:
  • Traveled to Minneapolis three times
  • Vacationed on the Cape
  • Visited the National Seashore
  • Hosted a number of family and friends
The day after we returned from Europe, the organization that I serve as a volunteer board member had our biggest event of the year! We shut down the main street in Portsmouth to host the Stiletto Sprint! A short race run in heels (men and women) to raise money for Big Brothers Big Sisters. It was an incredible event and I am so proud to be a part of it. In our last meeting, I agreed to take a higher position on the board for this coming year.

And at the end of the summer, I got an offer to join a long term writing project. An author who I love and respect is writing a historical fiction novel and has asked me to research and edit. I officially started on September 1st and it is the best!

In addition to this list, are the countless days I have spent with Emaline. Often we are in pajamas, playing hide and seek or babies or kitchen or coloring or singing or freeze dancing. I will admit that sometimes Emaline has to say "Mama, play with me!" before I decide that it is okay to stop what I am doing (this included) and be with her completely. But every night when I squeeze her in my arms before tucking her in, I know this is a time to cherish. And I do. She is no longer a baby but a little person. She is smart, funny, thoughtful, and curious. She counts, sings, knows her colors and letters, uses a high-pitched voice when we play pretend. Every day she does something that just pulls on my heart. This morning she hid stuffed animals in Nick's jacket pocket to surprise him when he went to work.

So 2016, I am ready for you. 2016 is the year of focus. Travel. Finances. Family. Friends. Writing.

Happy New Year!