In October, I tried to Have A Morning Routine.
I’m starting this post the Friday after Christmas, and it’s 3:36 in the morning. I’m writing on my phone with one hand, the other cradling my daughter in the glider, my phone screen set on the lowest brightness setting so that I don’t disturb her. She’s been having coughing fits for the past hour – I gave her some honey which didn’t help much. The next step is to take her into the bathroom and run a hot shower – the steam seems to help with her congestion, My wife has done that for her a few times. But for now, rocking seems to be working – the coughs are becoming less frequent, I think because she’s more upright. My wife is out of commission – her temperature has been fluctuating the past 12 hours, she’s had chills and sweats and we’ve agreed she’s going to urgent care in the morning. I’m trying to hold back a sneeze because my daughter seems to have finally nodded off. I’m just praying my other daughter doesn’t wake up because I really don’t know how I’d prioritize if she did. For now I’m just going to keep rocking, hoping to get an hour or so of sleep on the couch before everyone starts waking up. Probably more details than you’re interested in, but my point is this:
None of this was part of the morning routine I described in October.
Ok I’m back now – still writing in the glider, but I’m on my laptop, it’s Saturday and it’s naptime. My daughter is in her bed and I’m just standing guard until she falls asleep flipping through her books. Liz officially has the flu – we’re keeping it together, but my “perfect morning” – waking up early, working out, meditating, planning my day – doesn’t look like it’s going to happen today, tomorrow, or any time soon.
And that’s ok.
If I’m going to do better next year, I need to understand that some days I’m just not going to have the control that I want, in the morning or at any other time of day. Things happen – the important thing is to not get discouraged and, when conditions improve, get back in the game. Someday soon (hopefully) everyone will be healthy and sleeping through the night again, and when that time comes I’ll try to remember just how hard it was when everyone was sick, and take advantage of it rather than fall into lazy habits.
In November, I tried to Be More Mindful.
I learned that meditation takes many forms. Once I hit my 180 streak goal for using Headspace I started experimenting with other rituals – most recently I’ve started taking a five minute break a few times a day to read a short chapter from a book.
I also discovered that I like practicing meditation more than I like writing about it. I don’t know if it’s just that I’m too lazy to take the time to really articulate my thoughts, or if meditation is just one of those things where you tend to drift away from the experience the more you analyze and expound upon it (kind of like comedy).
If I’m going to do better next year, I need to figure out where meditation lands on my list of priorities, how much time I’m comfortable dedicating to it, and what the practice looks like to me. In short, I’m still lost – which seems odd considering it’s probably the Resolution I’ve dedicated the most time toward over the last few years.
In December, I tried Do Better Bext Year.
And here I am, writing the final post of 2019. I’m still processing that – it’s crazy to think about. Back-of-the-napkin, I’ve published over 35,000 words over the course of a year. In December, I wanted to take time to really think about what I did each month, and plan for the future. And it’s been fun to flip through the old posts.
But I’m also tired and sick – it’s a little disappointing because for months I’ve pictured myself writing this post and arriving at some big conclusion, some insight that I could pass on to my readers at the end of the year, a distilled version of everything I’ve written.
What did I learn?
I learned that sharing your thoughts is scary at first but gets easier, and that once you start genuinely sharing your thoughts people notice it and start genuinely sharing their thoughts back. I learned that taking a disciplined approach to something helps keep you going during the hard times, and that ideas never turn out exactly how you planned.
A lot of people have asked me what my New Year’s Resolution is going to be next year, and it’s going to be the same as it was this year: Do Better This Year. And now I have the data to do that in a measurable way. For the most part, my plan is to try and move the needle in the right direction in all aspects of my life, doing a little better than the year before. What more can I do?
I’m still working out what that looks like, but I know it’s going to need to include one thing, something so important that I can’t picture myself having any type of success without it:
In truth, the biggest thing I’ve learned is that I can’t do any of this stuff alone. Y’all have provided me with more love and support than I ever could have expected, and I’m very grateful. Next year, I’m going to try to be more engaged with my readers. I’ve got some ideas.
Thanks for everything, looking forward to 2020.