I type this at 6 a.m., as my daughter and a friend are up after a sleepover. And by "sleepover," I mean a three-hour nap.
Speaking of sleepovers, my son is at his own sleepover. No stranger to shenanigans, guess who tried to FaceTime me at 3 a.m.?
Yesterday, before the sleepover, we went to the movies and roller skating. Lots of kids activities happenig this vacation week, but I wouldn't have it any other way.
This is the first year, post-divorce, that I've felt most settled, most at peace. That's not to say that I haven't felt a lot of pain or, at times, been full of doubts or felt really, really angry. But I know something happened this year that took me to another place emotionally.
This is the first year I felt truly confident about how I balanced obligations toward teaching and the Massachusetts Poetry Festival. I actually slept for more than five hours a night, most nights (not last night). Also, my relationship with Alex and Ella is stronger than ever. Even when the kids want to zig and I want to zag, we're learning from each other. We're learning how to be kind(er) to each other. We need each other. Their need for security in a single-parent home is something I don't take for granted.
And my relationships with my friends and family feel more connected and authentic--if that's even possible. I just feel more connected to my community as a whole. I am most grateful to those who share their light and love with me--even when they don't know it's happening.
So what's caused this great internal shift?
If I had to trace it back to its origin, I'd say the two weeks I spent in August at writers retreats changed my perspective. Specifically, the week I spent at the Fine Arts Work Center and Marie Howe changed how I approached writing on a fundamental level. Being in the moment, writing down my observations, writing with intention--all of those things have made it easier to write. It's given me a new confidence about my abilities and a way to better handle self-doubt.
I trust my voice more than ever.
This new-found ability to be in the moment has made the other parts of my life easier. I see more of a connection among all parts of my existence, which has given this great sense of peace. Some might call it living with purpose, or living more wholeheartedly. Whatever it's called, I'm in. I live with a clarity of purpose that has simplified my life. Go figure.
So when I think about goals for the New Year, I don't see them as separate areas. Getting a better handle on finances or working on my health are not that far from writing consistently or working on better a relationship with my children.
If I had to distill what worked for me in 2013 that I will carry into the New Year, here it is:
- Be in the moment
- Have a vision
- Try harder, fail harder
- Ditch what's not working
Wash. Rinse. Repeat.
As Marie says, "It's hard to be present."
For the record, here are my goals for 2014:
1. Continue to stay connected to my writing (Poetry Action Plan in a separate post)
2. More love, more laughter
3. Maintain a consistent workout routine
4. Get financially fit
Wishing you all the best in 2014, dear reader!