I have to admit that while 2016 was rough on a global-scale (can you say "orange president"?), my 2016 was actually really good personally. I traveled a lot and knocked a few things off my bucket list (Lisbon! Southern Portugal! Honduras! Belize!), while still taking some of my travel time to relax and unwind (instead of always needing a vacation when I come back from my vacation because I've run myself ragged). My daughter is such a superstar, and she had a great year - and when your kids are doing well, you do well. She started middle school, in all very challenging honors classes, without a hitch. She made so many new friends, auditioned for and got a major part in the school play, and has a bright and busy social life. She is happy and that makes me happy. My husband and I are in just such a great place, too. We are enjoying the time we spend together, laughing, having fun, and being best friends. My parents are happy and (mostly) healthy, and we have had some pretty good times with them over the year as well. I have shed some friends who were better left in the past, and made some new ones who brighten my outlook...and have even caused me to leave some of the my cynicism behind.
(Ok, not all of it. I'm still cynical and sarcastic and that won't ever change. But I do realize that the negativity was weighing me down and making me less happy. And I've reduced that, and I feel good about it.)
So, here we are in 2017. I don't really believe in the whole "new year, new you" thing. Like, the change of a calendar doesn't mean a change in you. But I do think the end of another year gives you the opportunity to look at yourself closely and figure out what has been working for you and what hasn't.
What's working for me? My travel goals are nearly perfect. I love how I'm able to travel often and to unique and interesting places. I wish I could travel more, but with 4 weeks of vacation from work, I do the best I can. This year will be a little different because we are going to Cuba, which costs an arm and a leg, so our other trips will have to be scaled back. No Budapest or Scotland or Istanbul, as I had hoped. It looks like it'll be Cuba, Toronto, Captiva Island, and maybe Chicago or Vermont. I hate the idea of only one new place this year, but Cuba will make it all worthwhile. What makes me a little sad is that for 2018, we will be doing a big anniversary trip to Hawaii, so that will make the rest of our trips small again next year. I know, poor me.
What else is working? My approach to motherhood is working. I couldn't have a better, smarter, cooler kid and I know that while some of that is just in her genes, some is my influence. And now that she's 13, my influence may seem to wane as her friends grow in importance...but I know she is still listening. I have to keep on momming the way I am now, because it's working. And I can keep on wife-ing the way I am now, as well...while putting in a little more effort, perhaps. He spoils me so much (not just with material things, but with all the "stuff" he does) and I need to figure out how to spoil him back a little more.
And what isn't working? While I don't set the whole "lose 10 pounds" goals at the beginning of the year, I am setting health goals. I need my ass up off the couch more. I need to fuel my body in healthier ways. And while I love my craft beer more'n my luggage, I need to drink less of it. I want to start hiking again, and maybe kickboxing and yoga. I got so lazy this year, and I miss the endorphins of a good workout and the feelings of strength that follow.
What else isn't working? I want to stop letting negativity influence me. I let that happen too much in 2016. If something is bringing me down, stop doing it. This can apply to my obsession with politics (which has definitely lessened since the election - it is too depressing, so I've minimized my exposure) or to friends who focus on complaining about the bad parts of life, or even to social media (where I have been mostly absent because frankly, I'm bored of it). I want to focus on the fun and joyous parts of life - and truly, I am so lucky to say that my life is full of joy and that I have more fun than should be allowed by law. There is so much good to focus on, and I want to seek out those moments and be present in those moments and simply revel in how good life can be.
Slightly off topic (but not really) - I planned a get-together in NYC for my extended family to meet up with our visiting family from Scotland. A bunch of us went in early - with the "adults" concerned about timing and about how we would fill our time until we had to meet, and with some just sourpussing it through the whole day. We went to see the Rock Center tree (so nice after the holiday crowds have gone!) and then walked to the Plaza, where I had the idea to get some fancy cocktails and pretend to be fancy people for an hour or so. We did just that, and it was such a nice little break in the day - impromptu and totally fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants - and it was fantastic. We then met our Scotland fam (after a small walk across town that left some sourpusses complaining, again), and had an amazing time. Now don't get me wrong - it took a lot of effort to get this whole thing planned, with more pushback than help from the rest of the family. But the effort was so worth it, and it was such a memorable day. This weekend we are headed back to NYC to see an art exhibit and my parents are coming with us. I'm excited about planning a fun day for them and trying some new things while we are there. THAT is what the new year feels like to me - make the effort, take some chances, reap the fun rewards.
In all, 2017 is probably going to globally suck. Our Cheeto President is going to mess up the world and the Republicans will cheer it and the Democrats will do nothing to stop it. But I have realized that there is little I can do about that (yes, I call my representatives to express my concerns, yes, I vote in every single election no matter how small, yes, I stay educated on global and local politics) and I have come to terms with the fact that I am mostly powerless and it is futile to think otherwise). But 2017 for me, personally, has all the potential in the world to be a great year and I am approaching it as such.