The Gifts of January.
I thought a lot about this post: whether it’d be a list of what’s working and what’s not, perhaps a reflection on what’s saving my life this winter, or maybe one of those classic “What I Learned” posts I was good at doing until, well, April. I have three drafted posts with January 2019 dates, because I set myself a lowball goal of blogging once a month, but still never know what to write about - but writing about all the gifts a month held feels beautiful to me. Especially because this January held a lot of special gifts.
So here! We! Go!
NO WEEKEND PLANS :: After Dave and I got married, we entered a really full season, where we worked on weekends, had travel plans on weekends, or just had a lot of things to do on the weekends. Which was fine - for that season. But one of the greatest gifts of January was having very little to do on our weekends. We rested, hard. We ran errands we needed to, in a leisurely fashion. We watched TV and I read books and Dave played games and hockey, and it was really, truly a gift.
DOING SOMETHING I’M NOT THE BEST AT :: I signed up for an early morning yoga challenge at a studio near my house. My body does not relax well, I am not the most coordinated, and I don’t put a lot of thought into the details of my body (or the details of, well, anything). I also do not like to do things where I’m not going to be the best. But yoga is a hard thing to be competitive at, and it says a lot more about my emotional health if I’m trying to make it competitive. (Hannah, you don’t need to be the best at stretching! Just accept it!) I will never be the best at yoga - and that’s a real gift. Also, breathing deeply and moving my body first thing in the morning were gifts too.
THE HOPEWRITERS CHALLENGE :: I sort of took part in a 12 day writing challenge on Instagram with Hope*Writers. Each day held a different prompt, and I loved how it got me back into thinking like a writer. Often, it’s easy for me to numb writing thoughts (ignore writing thoughts?!) in favour of busy thoughts. “I’ll think about writing that piece or feeling that feeling after, once I’ve done other things.” It was nice to have to sit with the thought, prompt, or feeling for a little bit, until I could write about it. And having that sort of brain shift? Big ole gift.
PAUSING SOCIAL MEDIA :: One of my 52 in 52 goals for the year was to practice social media free weekends, a la Andrea Lucado. I played with this idea in the summer of 2017, and really loved it, so I’ve challenged myself to finish 52 social media free weekends. It has been clarifying, restful, engaging - and it has CHANGED MY READING LIFE, because now all I can do on weekends is read, instead of talking on Instagram about books I want to read. I’ve read 19 books in 2019 already - partly because of this social media, partly because I can see how many books my friend has read via Goodreads, and then I panic read. (Did I mention the competition being a not healthy aspect of my life? It bears repeating.) The gift of more time focus and less time scattered has been a delight in January.
A DUTCH STORE VISIT :: This isn’t a standard grocery store stop by any means, so when I did finally get myself out for a visit, it was really moving, in ways that are surprising and unexpected. And I’m talking moving in the sense that yes, I did almost cry. But it is also a nice gift to have chocolate sprinkles on my English muffins, and windmill cookies with my tea in the afternoon.
A LIL MORE CLARITY :: I entered this year thinking it would go one way. It hasn’t - not in dramatic ways, just in heart ways. But I think I know more of how this could go, sort of, and more of what I want, sort of, and more of what I don’t want, sort of, both in this year and maybe beyond. That’s why it’s the gift of a little more clarity - not a ton, just a little. And that’s okay. That’s all good.
So friends, tell me: what were the gifts in your month?