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It's a new year and most people spend this time reflecting on their past year and trying to decide what they are going to do better or differently in the new year. Most folks call this their "New Year's Resolution." They RESOLVE that they will make a change, that from that moment on they will lose weight, or exercise more, or stop smoking ... they make a statement. I don't believe in Resolutions. I think they are a lot of talk and no action. I can sit on my comfy couch and announce to the world that I will be thin, healthy, and athletic, but until I get up and DO something, I am just blowing hot air.
That's why this year I have instituted what I am calling my "New Year's Initiative." An initiative is a little different from a resolution because it requires more than just the first step, it is more than just making a statement or decision, it involves the second step ... actual follow-through. So, instead of resolving to do something, I've gone ahead and just did it.
In a little over 20 weeks (give or take) our baby will be here. It will be new and different and exciting ... but it will also be scary. The baby will demand more time of me than I have to offer, and I will have to oblige, because the baby comes first. So, this year I am taking steps to be more efficient, by carving out my time very carefully. I love my job, but when the choice comes between working or going home to be with my husband, I will choose home. I realize that I will not always have a choice, sometimes work can be like that, but on the days when I make the decision to stay or go ... I go. This applies to school too. I am not taking any courses that aren't required of me, even though I want to take the Technology and Ministry course because I know it will be super easy and it will pad my GPA (I have to make a blog as my final project ... um, yeah). I will not sign up for it, because that's wasted time away from my family. So what if I won't have an amazing GPA when I graduate, I'll have a pretty decent one (still Cum Laude I hope) and would have spent more time with my husband perfecting our marriage, which seems a little more important to me than the sticker on my degree.
Finally, I'm doing more things for me. I will visit the library once a week (and have been) and check out at least two or three cheesy quick read novels or intense nonfiction book to read. I can usually get through one of those in a night or two, and it's important for me to read. I love to read, and I deserve to read more than just my homework books. Carving time out for me will make me a better wife and mother, and I need to do a good job of teaching myself that now. I will not work myself into the ground and then come home and try to be superwoman. If there is anything that being pregnant has taught me it's that I can't "do it all." What's surprising is that I'm okay with that. I know there are plenty of feminists out there shaking their fist and declaring me a traitor for that statement, but really what woman do you know who truly does it all? I still plan to work full-time, I still plan to be a mother to my child, I still plan to be ordained and become a "woman preacher." I think I'm okay with the feminist movement here, but what I'm saying is that I have a choice of where I set my boundaries, and at the end of the day my choice will always be with my family. My husband, my child, my health, comes before anything else on my agenda, and that will be my focus for not only 2010, but for the rest of my life.
I am not ashamed to say that I have stepped back and evaluated and have decided that my needs and my family's needs come before everything else. It's a growth process, and I had to learn how much I could give, before I could learn how much I could take back. So, that's my initiative, to evaluate each circumstance and ask myself, "who benefits from this decision, and what are the pros/cons of making this choice?"
I hope that each one of you will have a prosperous new year and will also take a look at your own lives. What can you cut back, move around, make better so that you can give your time and energy to whatever it is that makes you the most happy?
Will Baby Downey give us a peep show? Find out on 1/18/09!
The Love Dare — Martin and I received it as a gift. I have my opinions on it already but I'm trying to give it a fair shake for the sake of the great friend who got it for us!