Friday, December 30, 2016

The Annual New Year's Blog

This year marks two distinct changes in the bi-annual entry for this blog as well as my entry into the new year.

Change #1: My eyebrows will not be waxed and my legs will not be shaved.

Change #2: My hair is showing distinct bits of grey.

While this may not seem significant to casual readers of this blog (and why would it? This blog is only intermittently utilized lately, which makes the whole endeavor seem casual in and of itself. But I digress.), it is, in fact, a pretty big change.

Since entering adulthod, I have never entered the new year with grey hair or ungroomed eyebrows. This ritual grooming has been grounding and constant, no matter where I am, who I am with, what I am doing, or what the state of my life is in.

So as I sit down to reflect a bit on 2016 and offer up some resolutions, I find myself a bit at loose ends.

It may be the fact that we have been traveling for a week, visiting family, and now have houseguests and are getting ready to drive two hours to visit more family.

I have tried, generally successfully, to avoid the rush and bustle of the holidays, choosing commitments carefully and intentionally, but this year things just lined up one after the other, like planes on a runway.

While all of our activities have been warm and loving, they have still been activities at a time when I prefer to hunker down under a thick blanket with a big bowl of popcorn and a good book or tons of movies. Since I now have a particular friend, this is an especially appealing way to wile away a season.

Regardless, shaved body parts and waxed eyebrows or no, it is now and has always been my routine to look at the year behind on the eve of the year ahead.

As I do so, several things spring to mind.

1. I need to unplug more.

The best times I have had this year have not been online, and the most frustrating moments have been as a result of conversations or interactions on social media. Those moments when checking in or updating my status is not an option have been the best.

2. I need to work more.

Losing my steady, lucrative writing gig halfway through the year was an eye-opener for me. While I have been able to replace much of the income that I lost, the work I am doing is neither steady nor location independent. This has been on my mind lately. I work less so that I have more freedom, but if the work requires me to be in a certain place daily, that's not freedom. Still, I need to work more on things that will eventually become more freeing.

3. I need to continue to focus on engaging with humans.

People suck. Full stop. Nothing illustrated this more than the debacle that was the 2016 election and its aftermath of moronic incidents and conversations (see #1 above: frustrating social media).

However, I have had the privilege of meeting some exceptional humans here in Baltimore, some IRL and some who are local but online (see #1 above: awesome social media). It's easy to focus on the assholes in the world because they are generally loud and easy to point out; I want to focus more on those people who are quietly amazing and worth meeting and engaging with.

4. I need to re-dedicate myself to my personal yoga practice.

After two straight years of yoga teacher training and an average of four classes a week, often with the same teachers, I feel burnt out and at a plateau in my personal yoga practice. On top of that, I am having a nagging little back pain that makes it hard for me to drag myself to the mat. Sure, I teach five times a week, but that's not taking a class. I have been seeking out new teachers at my studio and trying to focus on intention setting at the beginning of each class to try to get as much as I can out of the classes I am taking, but I feel like I need to seek out more rigorous, athletic styles to push past mental and physical blocks.

5. I need to continue to set boundaries and honor what works for me in my personal life (see #3: people suck).

A year of therapy with a really good therapist has helped me uncover some long-held beliefs and patterns that I just don't want to drag into the second half of my life. I is kind, I is smart, and I is important: this is what I need to continue to tell myself moving forward.

For this year, these are the things I want to work on. They are very personal in the sense that I am not trying to change the world, but 2017 seems like a year of pulling back a little; the election of Trump and the impending apocalypse that his neo-Nazi adminstration is facilitating means that it's time for a little prepping (like disaster prepping - canning water and the like). We have had two full years in Baltimore now, and it seems a good time to evaluate and recalibrate what needs changing.

This year,  I will be doing it with grey roots and hairy eyebrows. Seems fitting.

Are there routines that don't seem to apply to you this year? What are your resolutions for 2017?