A Look Forward to 2013

I have spent some time looking back at 2012 to see what worked and what didn’t. I’ve also given myself a few gifts: the gift of routine, the gift of fun and fitness, and the gift of forgiveness and do-overs, which I wrote about in Putting on My Oxygen Mask—Gifts for Myself in the New Year. Now it is time to take a deep breath and figure out my 2013 resolutions, which overlap heavily with the last year of my 50-by-50 project.

Last year, I determined six categories around which to build my resolutions, and these six categories are still valid foundations on which to build my 2013 resolutions. This means I really did figure out a way to focus my life. I thought about combining them somehow, or whittling them down a bit, which I could do…but I decided not to mess with success. Instead, I will tweak the specific actions I want to take within the same framework. The six things, in no particular order, are:

  1. Relationships
  2. Health
  3. Wealth
  4. Charity
  5. Career
  6. Writing

Continuing the tradition, I have come up with SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound) goals:

Relationships

  • Help my older daughter through her college selection process and her transition from high school to college.
  • Support my younger daughter’s insatiable appetite for activities. Attend her sporting events, plays, and Girl Scout ceremonies with a heart full of joy and appreciation for her youthful enthusiasm.
  • Help my son through his own special issues by providing just the right balance of support, advice, parenting, and freedom.
  • Spend time with my friends, old and new, and cultivate positive relationships.

Health

  • Continue along the path I’ve chosen to be more physically active. Achieve a 30 minute 5k. Build up to running a 5k. Take a fencing lessons with my younger daughter and really work on my skills.
  • Maintain a spiritual practice by regularly attending church services and leaving time for quiet reflection at least once a week.
  • Read books of a variety of genres and achieve my goal of 50 books from the start of this project to my 50th birthday.
  • Listen to music I love, whenever and wherever I can.

Wealth

  • Work with a financial planner to get an honest look at my financial situation and work on creating a realistic plan to get my kids through college, pay off my house, and retire comfortably.
  • Continue my priority to live within my means and not accumulate debt.

Charity

  • Use both corporate-sponsored volunteer days at work, choosing and planning one for my work group this year.
  • Continue on as a member of the finance committee of my favorite charity, having term-limited off of the board of directors and my Treasurer position.
  • Figure out my new role with my favorite charity as a contributing committee member to its expansion committee
  • Create a budget for charitable contributions based on family and personal values

Career

  • Put together SMART objectives for my work group by the end of January and cascade it to my direct reports.
  • Nail those objectives!

Writing

  • Continue to publish Laura’s 50 by 50 every other day
  • Finish my novel
  • Write outlines for the two sequels to my novel

Somehow, woven into all of these categories is another goal…one that is at once specific and incredibly ambiguous.  I wrote about it, recently, in Time to Lighten my Load. I need to de-clutter every aspect of my life, from possessions to relationships to my physical body. As one of my Facebook friends recently messaged me, “Life is a consistent journey of learning and becoming more of spirit than of body…”

Find the Joy in the Journey… and embrace the growth of your spirit!

Related Posts:

Time to Lighten My Load

Not Ready for Resolutions–Yet

Putting on My Oxygen Mask—Gifts to Myself for the New Year

A Look Back at 2012

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Your Life Reflects Your True Objectives

I feel a bit like groaning when I get to the end of each month and realize I need to take stock of where I am versus my objectives for the year…because I am not paying a whole lot of attention to them as I go through my daily life. It’s a necessary evil, however, and does get me charged up to get back on track or at least chart a new path to the same end.

Last month, I took a pass on measuring my progress, which I wrote about in How Do You Find The Forest When You Are Surrounded By Trees?  I knew then that May would be a month where I would be living in the moment and not necessarily progressing towards my objectives. It’s been a great month for nostalgia…

I returned to my college town for my nephew’s graduation from my Alma Mater, which I wrote about in Quick Trip To St. Louis. Home briefly, we celebrated our younger daughter’s 12th birthday and I wrote her a special piece, as I’d done with each of her older siblings, called I Knew I Loved You Before I Met You. Then, just two days later, we were off to my home town for my 30th high school reunion, which I’ll write about in my next post, Going Home Again—Yes You Can!

I’ve come to realize that life reflects your true objectives…and it’s my job to make sure that my true objectives reflect my true values rather than my short-term, lazy-day, lack -of- thoughtful objectives. What I’ve discovered is that just by having written objectives and thinking about them periodically, I unconsciously move towards my goals, but that they don’t always take the planned path.

I have six stretch objectives which I wrote about in Time To Get Stretchy!, and one is in sight…Plan and take an anniversary trip with my husband by the end of the year. Yes, I finally used my frequent flyer miles to book us coach tickets to…Ecuador! This just begs the question about why I can’t hit another stretch objective, Learn “tourist” Spanish by the end of July. Well, maybe I still can…it depends on the scope encompassed by the word, “tourist”. Meanwhile, I’ve gone back into my funk about whether I should really learn Spanish (head) or French (heart). My heart seems to win every battle, but the real loser is me as I’ve not learned either!

In my regular objectives for the year, which I outlined in A Look Forward To 2012, I had six areas to work on. I think I’ve made some progress in each:

Relationships: I’ve met with many family members this month including my mother, my father, both of my sisters, both of my nieces, both of my nephews, two of my aunts, two of my uncles, two of my cousins, and even three first cousins once removed, and a future niece-in-law! I’ve had many chats with my son, as he’s home at the moment. Last night I attended a middle school meeting with my younger daughter and we made great progress in her comfort-level with moving up to the much higher expectations of middle school. I’ve spent more time with my husband, but still struggling with staying connected when we are apart.

Health: not doing so well here, but since I had reading in this category, I pulled a rabbit out of the hat! I’ve read two books this month: Alan Mulally and the Fight to Save The Ford Motor Company: American Icon by Bryce G. Hoffman and “There Are Things I Want You To Know” About Steig Larsson and Me by Eva Gabrielsson. I know, these are both non-fiction, which I’m drawn to, but they were can’t-put-it-down page-turners!

Wealth: I am trying to pay tuition out of savings…but otherwise not a great month for investing in my house or watching spending.

Charity: Time spent helping my daughter get to her community service project which took way more out of me than I ever intended and I wrote about in Beware the Bermuda Triangle of the Roadways! Talent in holding a finance committee meeting and reporting out at the board meeting…working on next year’s budget for my favorite charity. Treasure, not up to my usual standard of giving this month.

Career: Working on those work objectives! It’s more of a struggle this year based on external factors, but I’m plugging away nevertheless.

Writing: This blog is my major outlet and I’m writing ahead so that I can continue my record of publishing every other day even if I am off the grid next month  when I travel to Ecuador.

Find the Joy in the Journey…and know that if you believe in your objectives and write them down, you will find that you work on them even when you are caught up in your day-to-day life!

Mix Tape Memories

I don’t actually recall the term “mix tape” or “mixed-tape” back in the 1980’s, but I know that the cassette tapes my fiancé sent me during our summers apart were romantic life-savers. We met Freshman year as next-door-neighbors in our dorm, Umrath. We fell in love and decided to get married right after our first separation…the “long” Thanksgiving weekend. Yes, we were smitten! The tapes were full of old-school romantic songs. Mostly they were Nat King Cole and Hoagy Carmichael…old-school long before the 80’s, but we were always off-beat and eclectic. Yes, I had the Eighty’s hair and had the classic shoulder pads…but when it came to romance, we were all 20’s and 30’s about it.

I remember that first summer apart…my fiancé and I wrote to each other every single day. He also sent me flowers on our “month-iversary”…but it was the tape that really made me feel special. I’d play it over and over thinking about how he’d carefully chosen each song. I must have that tape somewhere, but without a cassette player I’ve not listened to it in years. Whenever I hear Nat King Cole, Hoagy Carmichael, Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra, and other romantic singers…I…Just…Melt! Here is a perfect combination of Carmichael (who wrote the music, but not the lyrics) and Nat King Cole’s velvety-romantic voice in Stardust. In retrospect, the words of this song are a bit odd for a new couple to latch onto…maybe we were always looking at our life from a future retrospective…but at the time, we just reflected on the “we’re apart” bit:

And now the purple dusk of twilight time
Steals across the meadows of my heart
High up in the sky the little stars climb
Always reminding me that we’re apart

You wander down the lane and far away
Leaving me a song that will not die
Love is now the stardust of yesterday
The music of the years gone by

Sometimes I wonder why I spend
The lonely night dreaming of a song
The melody haunts my reverie
And I am once again with you
When our love was new
And each kiss an inspiration
But that was long ago
Now my consolation
Is in the stardust of a song

Beside a garden wall
When stars are bright
You are in my arms
The nightingale tells his fairy tale
of paradise where roses grew
Though I dream in vain
In my heart it always will remain
My stardust melody
The memory of love’s refrain

So, I have long left my “mix tape” days behind. The romance is seldom in evidence in our 30-year relationship, 26-year marriage…but it only takes hearing one of these old songs, or even the voice of one of these singers to bring me back to my 19 year old self…and then there was Mother’s Day.

My older daughter made me a mix tape…now I hesitated to call it that, but after googling it, found that even a mix of songs burned on a CD is still considered a mix tape, well that’s what it is. Here’s the playlist, eclectic, warm, loving, wonderful, surprising…and unique to our relationship:

  1. The Best Day—Taylor Swift
  2. Hero—Mariah Carey
  3. I Could Not Ask for More—Edwin McCain
  4. The Perfect Fan—Backstreet Boys
  5. I’ll Be—Reba McEntire
  6. Halo—Beyonce
  7. Butterfly Fly Away—Miley Cyrus and Billy Ray Cyrus
  8. When I’m 64—The Beatles
  9. Daughters—John Mayer
  10. Never Grow Up—Taylor Swift
  11. Like My Mother Does—Lauren Alaina
  12. Have I Told You Lately That I Love You—Rod Stewart
  13. In My Daughter’s Eyes—Martina McBride

She hit all of the decades of my life (well, maybe not the 70’s, but that is easily forgiven) and hit emotional notes of both our relationship and of my personal struggles. I know that my girl is an empath, but even so she still has ways of surprising me! Needless to say that in the hour I spent listening to these songs, some tears of Joy fell…

Find the Joy in the Journey…and don’t be afraid to share a mix-tape or two with your friends and loved ones!