I can’t live through another year like 2016. I don’t subscribe to a type of thinking where if you will good luck into existence, it will come. Positives attitudes don’t stop war or famine or poverty or injustice. But, not recognizing how good I’ve really got it is foolish, and my own negative attitude has made it difficult to appreciate everything that actually went well in 2016.
2017 may not be better than 2016 (and all signs point to it being worse for the world, certainly), but I don’t have to look at it with the same side eye that I did all of 2016.
One thing that really helped me in 2014 and 2015 was participating in Ali Edward’s One Little Word workshop. There are lots of ways to focus on good intentions for the coming year, but I find her approach of choosing a word and then reflecting on it every month in a structured way to be helpful to keeping me on course.
My 2017 word is JOY. I need to do a better job of finding and recognizing the good in life, and do a better job of accepting the bad and moving on from it. I am expert at wallowing in self-pity, and I need to break that habit.
Things that worked in 2016
Slow Friday nights and slow Saturdays. I fucking love Shabbat. There. I said it. I’m not Jewish, and have never practiced the Christian Sabbath, but I really like the fact that West Jerusalem shuts down on Friday night and doesn’t open up again until after sundown on Saturday. It’s forced us to take weekends slower, plan ahead for groceries and meals, and spend quiet time as a family.
Grocery delivery. I am never going to a grocery store again. Ever.
Traveling with the kids. This year we finally figured out how to do day and weekend trips with the kids, and it’s been marvelous.
Limiting our consumption. We only really got a handle on how much shit we were buying and consuming at the end of 2016, won what we spend our hard earned money on. I like that our house is no longer filling up withhen a car accident and resulting insurance fiasco forced us to sit back and really reflect cheap junk, and that we’re spending money on experiences instead.
Changes for 2017
I have some goals. Some resolutions. Some “shit I’m gonna do” if you will.
Staying in contact with my friends and family brings me joy. Facebook does not. So every week, my kids and I are going to make a card and write a letter to a friend. Want to stay in touch? Get in touch? Move from blog reader to penpal? Drop me your address via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Facebook.
Good health brings me joy. Eating like shit brings me short term happiness and long term misery. So I’m going back to paleo because fuck wheat products and aching joints. Bread is delicious, but the long term effect on my body isn’t worth the short term pleasure of eating crap every day. I also love running. I’m going to do a January Whole30 (as always), then keep plugging away at that goal to run a 10k.
Memory keeping brings me joy. And it brings my kids joy. And my husband (secretly) loves it. This year I’m back to scrapbooking in a serious way, including participating in Kristin’s amazing Awesome Ladies Project as a member of her creative team.
Blogging brings me joy. I discovered in 2016 that I am not going to be able to turn this blog into a soulless travel blog, no matter how much I want the page views and Internet head pats. I’m not sure what 2017 is going to bring for content, but I know that I love writing and I love community and I love how this blog keeps me in touch with so many people.
Going to church brings my spouse joy. I don’t go often because I am inevitably the one who misses the entire service because the kids won’t behave. I’d rather just stay home with the kids and let Bertrand go. But it makes him incredibly happy when we all pile into the car and go together so … we Sondjos are going to become regular church goers in 2017.
Filling our house with people brings all of us joy. Bertrand and the girls are people people. I am less so, but I know that I will always be able to find quiet to to recharge after our guests leave. We won’t, however, be able to welcome everyone we meet in our travels back into our lives once we depart Jerusalem. So we’re going to have more people over more often.
What are you going to do to make 2017 better than 2016?