1/11/17

Reflections and Resolutions | 2016 to 2017

Stark Park
“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.”
Pablo Picasso


As I have been reflecting over this past year, I am striving to learn from the joys it brought our family and the struggles that we also experienced. No year is ever perfect, but each year is the perfect learning tool to reflect on how we can embrace change and growth from our experiences. One of my personal resolutions for 2017 is growth. As an individual I want to find depth and meaning to who I am, I want to grow spiritually; in mind, body, and soul. I want to break free of our day-to-day pattern of life that seems to take over every hour, every second.

Wake up, make breakfast, clean the house, workout, make lunch, clean up, pick up kids from school, homework, laundry, soccer, ballet, dinner, clean up, baths, books and bed.

That's the majority of our days, summed up in one ramble-on sentence. Of course we need routine, children need schedules, but how do I balance spontaneity with the tedious repetition of our routine? Certainly there must be a way. As a parent, I need to grow and reach beyond my boundaries of comfort. I need to learn to let go of the trivial moments of the day, the cleaning up and the laundry, and embrace the moments that truly count.

As I reflect on this past year, I realize that my oldest is almost twelve. Twelve! We are a step away from the teen years and as I type these words I can feel my heartbeat racing a bit faster and my mind surging with anxiety. The mom guilt begins to kick in. Did I do enough with him? Did we read enough books together? Did we cuddle in bed or did I rush out the door to do dishes? Did I ask him about his day, I mean genuinely ask and listen? Did we play enough nerve battles? Did I ever let him show me how to play video games? Did we build enough forts or play enough basketball games?

As I search for the depth and meaning to who I am, I can never forget the building blocks that embody my persona; I am a mother, a wife, a friend, a sister and a daughter. As I find growth within myself, I also believe the key to happiness is finding growth in these relationships. I look forward to growing my relationships with my children in 2017. As I step outside my comfort zone, I hope they will take me by the hand and welcome me into their creative worlds. I hope they will open my eyes to innocence and freedom and allow me to release the stresses we adults tend to carry around, the stress that leaves an everlasting impression on our minds. I look forward to growing my relationship with my husband. After fourteen years he remains my best friend and every year with him is an amazing journey, but it is easy to get stuck in that routine of life. I look forward to breaking the mold and going on more dates, seeing more shows and concerts, staying up a little too late and diving into good conversation. Conversation is good for the soul.

Over the past few years I have met so many amazing men and women, I look forward to growing those relationships. Since becoming a parent, there are times I have also become an introvert. Especially after Jonas was diagnosed with Crohn's disease, I felt the need to always be home and be close and I passed up many opportunities to be around my friends. This year I want to focus on doing more with friends, even if it's just a coffee date, a trip to the gym or a walk around the neighborhood. As Thomas Aquinas said, "There is nothing on this earth more to be prized than true friendship."

And lastly, there is family. Family is everything. I wouldn't be where I am today if it weren't for my parents. They have supported and encouraged my decisions and have helped me to grow into the independent woman that I feel I am. They have been there every day during our struggles with Jonas and his health and continue to provide unending support. Over this past year I have watched my children become closer to family. Soon, there will be a time when the kids would rather be with friends than family, but if I can enlighten them and show them the importance of family then hopefully they will always value that gift.

This new year is dedicated to the root of parenting and personal development; it is about finding balance. The mysterious concept that we all long for, the key to success, the fundamental concept that is thought to go hand-in-hand with happiness.

Balance.

It is all about balance. Balancing personal endeavors, family time, parenting, household responsibilities, work, healthy living, friends, social media and the list goes on.

I'll be the first to tell you, I have no idea how to find this balance, but I believe it is there. We just need to do some deep soul searching, cleansing of our lives and I believe it will surface.

"Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony."
Thomas Merton


Photo by Mallory + Justin for Stark Parks

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