Older and wiser? I’m working on it

Categories: The Juggle, Working? Living?


I had a birthday recently. And I don’t feel a day over 40! Which is great, except for the fact that I turned 36.

A few years ago, I gave up writing my New Year’s Resolutions on New Year’s Eve and began writing them on my birthday instead. (Sound familiar? Nataly does something similar on her birthday. Could this introspection be a key to success as a working mother? I’d like to think so.)

When I was a kid, my New Year’s Resolutions were all about the things I thought I was supposed to be doing — practicing my violin every day, getting As in school, being nice to my brothers, etc. As I grew older, the resolutions changed, but the idea behind them didn’t; they were still about the things I thought I was supposed to be doing. Each year, I’d vow to lose weight (why did I want to do this? I had a killer body back then, and no idea what to do with it), ace my performance reviews at work (the same as getting As at school, really), learn how to be less of a control freak (about 10 years ago I decided that you can’t be a control freak if you can’t control yourself, and I set to work on that instead).

New Year’s Resolutions are supposed to be about bettering yourself, yes? Well now, firmly in my mid-30s, I’ve decided to make mine about bettering my life. So, here’s what I’m going to do, I hope, in the next 12 months:

1.) Learn to put myself first, sometimes. I am terrible at this. I’d give you an example, but every one that I can think of makes me cringe a little. The point is that I realized recently that if I am last on my own list, then I’m allowing myself to be last on everyone else’s lists, too, and I deserve better than that.

2.) Take better care of myself, emotionally and physically. Our 10-year-old looked at me this morning and said, “I think you still have a bit of makeup on from last night, around your eyes.” Except I didn’t — I just had enormous dark circles from being way too tired. I laughed it off, then wondered where the tipping point is — you know, the one where you stop wearing makeup to look older and start wearing it to look younger — and then decided I’d be getting myself a little of that Benefit Eye Bright Kristin raves about. It’s just time. I’m also going to start scheduling those regular massages I used to treat myself to before I decided that I wasn’t worth spending $75 on every month. They kept me sane, and relaxed, and centered — all of which gave made it easier for me to handle my daily juggle.

3.) Stop being afraid to ask for what I want. Our oldest girls — ages 12 and 14 — are in the throes of adolescence, and were complaining of their impending death by boredom. I tried to explain that if they’d only tell me what they wanted to do, I could try to figure out a way to make it happen, and that they’re much more likely to get what they want in life if they can find a way to articulate it. And then I left the room and smacked myself because, hell, I’m 36 and I find myself reluctant to ask for what I want all the time. So, I’m going to stop being a hypocrite and practice what I preach. If I want something, I need to find a way to articulate it in order to get it. That includes asking for help when I’m overwhelmed.

4.) Set new goals. I had bunches of goals when I was in my mid-20s, and I am lucky to have been able to achieve most of them, 10 years later. Time to set some new ones.

5.) Count my blessings. Yes, the economy is awful and yes, I’m the primary breadwinner in our household and yes, that does stress me out a little. OK, a lot. But blessings abound. And I have been very lucky. Sometimes, remembering to be grateful for what you have can make it easier to differentiate between what you need to work for and what you just want.

What about you? What are your resolutions?

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5 comments so far...

  • Good points, all of them. I finally got vocal with my family about one of my pet peeves instead of getting grumpy about it every morning. They’re coming around, and that made it worthwhile.

    Daisy  |  July 7th, 2008 at 11:08 am

  • Happy Birthday, Lylah! Resolutions? Right now I’m keeping life simple with a short list: number 1 is just try to chill out and enjoy life.

    Diane  |  July 7th, 2008 at 9:10 pm

  • I too started making resolutions on my birthday, but it’s followed by a whole day spent by myself in order to reflect on these ideas.

    I have a purple notepad that I carry with me everywhere. I’ve written my list of resolutions on the front page, then divided the book in sections to correspond with my list (i.e: eat healthier goes under “Health”). Then I devise a 3 step action plan to break up the resolution into manageable goals (i.e: Action 1- increase fish to 2x per week, Action 2- increase water intake; use fruits for flavor, Action 3- use wheat flour). This helps me devise a reasonable action plan that is more attainable.

    P.S. Happy Birthday Lylah!

    Kat  |  July 8th, 2008 at 12:01 pm

  • Happy Birthday! Those are all really good and I wish you success in achieving! I’m a little older (ahem!) than you, but one thing I’ve learned is that life is constantly changing. Cherish what you love…. time goes by so fast. The things that you may not be too keen on will end soon as well - just be patient. :-)

    BlapherMJ  |  July 8th, 2008 at 8:38 pm

  • Daisy: That’s really something I need to work on… I’m glad it’s working for you!

    Diane: Thank you! And I think I’m going to add your resolution to my list!

    Kat: Oooh, I like the idea of a day of reflection. And thanks for the birthday wishes…

    BlapherMJ: Thanks — and thank you for the advice and encouragement, too!

    Lylah  |  July 9th, 2008 at 12:13 pm