Promises to Myself

Happy New YearI generally feel like the fall is much more of a fresh start than the end of the year, but I’m a sucker for lists and for soul-searches that end in epiphanies (or “epiphs” as my friend Ruth calls them when they aren’t quite grandiose enough to be called a full epiphany.) Here’s my list of things I’d like to do better/more of/less of in 2013:

1. Read.

When I went to grad school a few years ago, I stopped reading anything other than the books I needed to read for school. I worried that it would be too distracting and didn’t trust myself to read books about branding on my commute when the new David Sedaris was burning a hole in my bag. Good move, although in the years since I graduated I’ve found I don’t read as much as I used to. I miss reading a good story, that fear when you finally look up from a page and think you’ve missed your stop, that almost physical urge to stop at a coffee shop on the way in to work just to finish a chapter.

2. Spend less time in front of screens.

This ties in with #1. NJS and I spend way too much time looking at our phones when we’re having a quiet brunch just the two of us, when E is busy with his toys, after he’s gone to bed and we’re vegged out in front of the TV… I definitely dialed it back this past year, but it doesn’t do much for the winter blues and it certainly isn’t helpful in anyway to my relationships. Not to mention that E is OBSESSED with my phone and will lose his shit if he sees me with it and I don’t let him play with it for an hour.

3. Respect my body.

After many years of struggling between being unhappy about my weight but unwilling to dedicate any more of my time every day to focusing on it, I found having a baby to be helpful in shifting my focus to my overall health and how I was feeling and stop obsessing over the scale. I threw out my scale, in fact. I started running again – not often, but at least once or twice a week – and ran a 5 mile race because I promised myself when I was on bedrest in 2011 that I would. As my schedule gets busy, and the weather gets colder, I’m not as good about being good to my body and I can feel it. My body gets to be at the top of the priority list in 2013, not at the bottom anymore.

4. Spend face time with friends.

During the week, most of E’s waking hours are spent in daycare. Family time is scarce, so NJS and I are pretty protective of it when we get it. Add to that the average cost of a sitter (when they’re available) is $15-$20 and you’ve got two good reasons to either stay home or head to restaurants during kid-friendly hours. I’ve not given my friends enough credit for being cool with sticking around the house and eating dinner there, or being willing to hang out with my kid in order to spend time with me. More informal quality time with people I love in 2013.

5. Learn.

It’s been a long year learning how to find my way in my new life as a mom with a full time job outside the home (I really hate the term “working mom” because my mom friends who left the workforce work much harder than anyone I know) but I feel like I’m finally finding my groove. Now that I have a little more room to look around and see a bigger picture for myself, I’m making a list of things I want to do better or learn to do at all. I’ll be pulling together a network of mentors, people I know who I admire and who have skills or expertise I’d like to know more about, and making an education plan that consists of monthly action items and goals.

What will you do differently in 2013? What worked for you in 2012 that you’re keeping?

By Jennifer Spencer

I'm a storyteller, food lover, book collector, and a Southerner at heart. I love connecting people.