Michele Minehart

words & yoga

Category: the list

Last year’s List review

I’ve posted my annual List and Review in backwards order because I’m slow this year. Also, I’m flying solo in the household with 4 children as JJ roots on the Buckeyes. But even as I move forward with making small changes for 2015, I need to give some review and commentary on the attempts of 2014list

1. Proofread. I could still do some work on that. I’ve seen small improvements, but just yesterday I sent an email draft to a client without going through looking for basic edits (like the “k” in “5k”) which makes me want to kick myself. Just pause, Michele. I’m no Speedy McDuck but apparently I think hitting Publish or Send is a race and I must win all the trophies.

2. Live Generously.  This addition to my life in 2014 became the richest gift to myself, and likely those around me. I don’t need to pay off anyone’s debt, but buying a drink or a book or a cast iron dutch oven was a good place to start. I (WE!) tithed relentlessly, even when I really didn’t want to. I worked in a “business” arrangement in trade, one in which we don’t keep score because both of us are enjoying the fruit of the other’s gifts, which requires trust and generosity and – allow me to say – because of that, it has been by far the best business partnership.

These practices have loosened my grip on things and, in turn, things – even money and the concern about it – have began to lose their grip on me.

3. Sing more, yell less. I have seen much improvement, discarding the last 60 hours. (After nearly 5 weeks of confinement, my kids and I are loosing our patience with each other.) But before that, I would give myself higher marks. I realized a considerable amount of time I yelled, it was because my kids actually couldn’t hear me, either because they were born that way or (and!) they were attuned to something else. I was raising my voice instead of raising my presence. And in all seriousness, singing helped. I could sing out their names, they would realize I needed their attention and then I could talk like a sane person, instead of ranting and raving.

I must also mention that I’ve seen notably less anger in my life outside the parenting realm. I’ll still waggle my arms about anything concerning, but somehow I’ve stumbled into a place where I begin with understanding and even sympathy before heaping blame. I start with the good before moving into the bad. Can I just say that this is a far better place to live? I’m no where near perfect (today’s naptime adventures will say just as much), but my strides have lengthened and I’m covering so much more ground now.  I have to recommend this practice to anyone.

4. Live honestly. Again, I scored an A+ to this. I had a particularly difficult end-of-summer/early fall which caused me to really come to terms with myself. I learned more about my core identity in 2014 then any other year of my life. Not only did I learn, but I accepted. (Kudos to Brene Brown and her book for accelerating the process. Two thumbs up on this read – a must for any organization or anyone involved in groups of people, families included.) I still feel as if I apologize for myself much too often (and notably more so than any male counterpart, as a point of discussion) but I’m making progress. I even allowed a few special ladies access into my “real self” and we keep a standing rule that we cannot apologize for who we are, only what we do. It’s been freeing and encouraging to continue to be loved for my nerdy, overwhelming self.

5. Take a class on the Adobe suite. Utter failure and I’m fine with it. I will continue to outsource such needs in my life. Professionally, things continue to evolve and I’ve given myself freedom to lean on others more adept with the visual needs.

So there is 2014, in a nutshell. Overwhelmingly challenging and fruitful.

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My Better 2015

Back in 2008, after a horrid fall, I sat at the old wooden table in my in-laws’ dining room and declared  that I would take on a few things to make 2009 better than 2008. I’ve maintained the practice every year, composing my list and declaring it for public accountability.

Yesterday I sat down and pondered what I hoped for in 2015. Overall, I’m happy with the way I look and don’t feel a pull to “loose 20 pounds.” I eat healthy and will not deny myself the simple pleasures of morning coffee and an occasional (ha!) evening glass of wine. I love yoga and running, so I don’t need more resolve to participate in those things. I don’t smoke, so I’m pretty much finding the list of common new year’s resolutions useless as an inspiration.

Ready to install. I attempted yet discovered I could not properly wield a wrench. And it was too tall for H Boy to assist.

Ready to install. I attempted yet discovered I could not properly wield a wrench. And it was too tall for H Boy to assist.

I did read in a helpful article that a simple way to enjoy a better year is to remove regular annoyances. I decided to start there, beginning today. So at 9:05 after Lowe’s opened (my apologies to the employees for being part of the machine that justifies them working on a holiday), I marched my cranky children into the bath section and purchased a new shower head. (This is only because my in-laws would frown when I stole theirs, as it is quite possibly the world’s best shower head. It’s the perfect blend of pressure and surface area coverage. I’m pretty sure they installed it in 1981 and there’s a story about my FIL digging through the trash for it after they had redone the bathroom, including new bath hardware. All that to say, they’re a tad attached and I won’t be able to sneak it into my overnight bag at our next visit without them noticing.)

Yes, my better 2015 will start with a more gentle pressure. I hate my shower. So for less than $40, I’m  making my life numerous degrees better. My excitement is through the roof just knowing it awaits on the sink for JJ”s return tomorrow. I look at it and smile.

I’ve decided that if I am to make the next year better, because this year was a pretty good one, then it will be about small changes. I’m going to seek out the things that need improvement so that I can enjoy my already-pretty-good life. We rearranged the furniture a few days ago for a start – the couches now face each other and I feel like the room is more shui for conversation. My desk is tidier. I started the year with laundry caught up and put away. And with less chaos, I feel more at peace.

So, for 2015, I resolve to adjust the small and simple things that ruin my smile. I resolve to begin to find solutions, even when they cost me $40 because I will be a happier, kinder and more present person.

What about you? What ways will you try to make 2015 better than 2014? And, more importantly, what is the most magical showerhead you’ve ever used? Did I buy the right one? I still have the receipt so I can make changes.

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The List: 2014

Before composing this year’s list, I decided to take a stroll down memory bloggy lane and read my previous attempts. I’m seeing some themes:

1. I never take pictures, no matter how much I resolve to. 
2. I suck at following through, because that seems to make the lists repeatedly. 
3. I keep trying to be a better wife. I’m choosing to think that I can’t reach perfection and that’s why it’s making the list, but I suppose I’ll have to ask the primary judge in the situation. 
4. In 2009 I wanted to live more “joyfully and generously.” Those 2 words have dominated my last 6-12 months of life and I can’t believe the were growing roots waaaay back when. Note: when something sprouts in your mind, deal with it then. 
5. Dental hygiene seems to keep popping up. **Bashful eyes**
I’m just going to go ahead and ban those 5 things from this and future lists and move on. I can have a separate life list of Things I Suck At But I’m Trying To Improve. Fair? 
How I hope to make 2014 better than 2013:
  1. Proofread. I posted a blog with the wrong freaking year. (Fortunately I’m over the hope that some high up editorial staffer is perusing blogger for up-and-coming talent. So, other than the person who pointed it out on facebook, no one probably cared, noticed or a combo of both). It’s time I do a little bit more re-reading. 
  2. Live generously. I know, I just said I’m not re-adding anything from the above list, but this has been very close to my heart and I really want to make that happen. I need to open my tight fists if I ever hope to receive goodness. 
  3. Sing more, yell less. I really do try to control THE VOLUME OF MY VOICE (Sorry. I had to.) in conjunction with my children, but I think I could do better at choosing to move past my frustration and think creatively on how to engage them and move forward in challenging situations. My default is anger and frustration. I don’t want to ignore behavior. But there must be a third way. I shared with my group of GIRLfriends (plug!) about how I started singing to the kids to get them to do what I needed – and it worked! Now, not only practically but philosophically, I want to sing more. No more noise. No more unnecessary anger. 
  4. Live honestly. Not in a your-pants-are-too-tight kind of way, but in a you-add-to-my-life kind of way. I tend to hold on to a lot of thoughts and emotion, especially gratitude, but also honesty in my own shortcomings, fears and failures. I might be able to share them freely to the faceless abyss of the interwebs, but to people I know and love? Not so much. So, here’s to it. 
  5. Take a class or tutorial on the Adobe suite. I’ve been ignoring this professional deficiency for far too long. 
So, that’s it. But I think doing these things will bring me to a much different place on December 31, 2014. 
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