Since July happens to be the start of my “new year,” summer has come to be a reflection point for me. As I reflect on the last year, I have to say as I get older I have gotten better at celebrating and being celebrated. I just finished a business book about cultivating teams and collaboration. One of the concepts that struck me was the idea that people need to reminded more than they need to be instructed (props to Patrick Lencioni).
I don’t feel much wiser than I was thirty or even 365 days ago (or that much older, for the record thankyouverymuch); but I do feel reminded of a few things that I may have lost sight of for a bit.
- Always let bygones be bygones–more often than not, they are due to a misunderstanding or miscommunication. If I get out of my own stubborn way I can be much happier.
- Things are not memories. It’s easy to confuse the two and get wrapped up in the sentiment of an object. They are nice to have, certainly, but if they are lost, misplaced, damaged or altered they do not mar or change that memory, that moment. That is mine.
- Don’t wait for the “right” time. It’s not coming (for most things). Whatever it is, something great or not so great. If I’m hedging for a proper moment, I’m most likely procrastinating. Just go for it.
- The most precious thing I can give or receive is time. I am a working mom, and like most parents who work out-of-the-home, I feel conflicted about the amount of time I am away from my family. What can temporarily quell this ache for me is spending quality time.
- *Quality time* is about purposeful interaction. I used to believe “quality time” was grand excursions and big itineraries. These are totally fun–in moderation. But when every free moment we have together is spent in this way we are all exhausted and it doesn’t feel special anymore. It’s just as meaningful to spend one-on-one time sitting with my daughter in her room asking about her day and listening to her talk; or letting my son show the new Snapchat filter (he loves the dogs, I’m partial to the flower crown); or making sure to have alone adult time when we get home to just talk about “boring grown-up stuff” (so we don’t do it at dinner).
- Making everyone “happy” doesn’t have to be my job, especially when it makes me miserable. This year I was living this lesson on a daily basis. I find I spend somewhere between 50-75% of my time (depending on the time of year) trying to appease or keep the peace, usually to my own misery. I also found that is a choice, and my doing so usually has no meaningful impact on the final outcome. What’s the conclusion then? I don’t have power over others (how disappointing) and I don’t have to continue to do this (how freeing)!
- Taking risks aren’t about the outcome, they are about taking the risk. I’m an introvert and took a risk this year, crept out of my shell and did something I had never done before. Ultimately it didn’t pan out the way I would have liked but that wasn’t point. I would have always wondered “What if” had I not, and I have some pride that I could summon the you-know-what to go beyond my comfort-zone and do something that I would not have done otherwise.
- Take stock of the things that what were once considered “risks” are now called “chances.” Adjacent to the above… when I do genuinely stretch myself, the next time a similar opportunity presents itself it won’t seem so daunting–it will seem more like a “chance”…not so much of a “risk.” I will literally have changed my view of the world–it doesn’t happen easily or often, but it has happened and it’s really cool.
So I’m ready for what this next year has in store for me and ready to be reminded once again because it’s almost a guarantee I’ll forget most of this before the leaves begin to fall…