Despite the fact that I still have a few gifts left to buy, I find myself feeling pretty stress-free this week. It could be that I’m in Florida – my “happy place” as I like to call it. And not much stresses me out in my happy place. I also find myself becoming a little reflective – thinking about all that has transpired this past year and looking ahead to 2016.
This was a year of change and transition for me. In March, we let go of our nanny of six and a half years. I was still working, but the kids had become pretty self-sufficient and I wanted to be more involved in their day-to-day lives. I scaled back my work commitments to facilitate school drop-offs and pick-ups and the multitude of after-school activities. I was expecting the transition to be hard on the kids as they adored our nanny. And while they certainly miss her, I think they were equally ready for me to be more present in their lives.
I left my job in June, a decision that I agonized over for months and months. Some people might see this as an easy move. For me, it was possibly the hardest decision that I have ever made – leaving “work” in a traditional sense. So much of my self-image and self-worth were wrapped up in my job. But it felt like the time had finally come.
This transition hasn’t exactly been seamless… There are days when I desperately miss work. Mostly, I miss the people and the feeling of being challenged on a daily basis. But I have found a new “normal” and have been surprised by how busy and fulfilled I actually feel.
I am embarking on a very different path – embracing my creative side and following a dream. My great ambition is to write a fiction novel. I took a writing course this Fall and learned a ton. Now it is just a matter of putting in the time to get it done (a trivial task, really!!). I am terrified by what this next year will bring and plagued by self-doubt – but also exhilarated by the challenge.
By far and away, the biggest change that I made this year was to start consciously living in the moment. In the past, my attempts to balance work and home often meant that I was just going through the motions. I tried repeatedly to remind myself to soak it all in when I was with the kids – but, truth be told, part of my brain was always focused on my “to do” list. Nowadays, I often catch myself just staring at the kids, marvelling at what incredible little human beings they are becoming.
Life unfolds in the here and now. But so often, we let the present slip away, allowing time to rush by. I know that I, for one, was guilty of squandering my precious time with the kids as I worried about clients and deadlines. I am nervous that I will fall into old habits once I dive headlong into writing. At the same time, I am hopeful that this newfound mindfulness will persist.
I am not big on New Year’s resolutions, but I have a lot that I want to accomplish in 2016. So this might be the year to make some commitments. In the meantime, I wish you all a very happy holiday. I hope you are able to enjoy some mindful time with family and friends!