The Year of The Important

It’s Friday and I have no idea where this week has gone.
Not that this week has gone by quickly by any means.

It hasn’t.

It’s kind of sucked really.

Well, not everything has sucked…life has continued to be amazing, having J home and spending time as a family, but the craziness level took on an all new high the past few days. Kind of hard to believe it could get crazier than some of the insane moments during the deployment, but with it being the last week before Winter break, kids’ activities, trying to figure out what this new routine is supposed to be, and some unfortunate events at work, it’s all just piled up. We’re all feeling it and are so ready for two weeks of relaxing. One more day….just one more day…

The last week at school is usually pretty cheerful with holiday preparations and parties. I’ll admit that there aren’t usually a whole lot of academic activities going on the last few days before Winter break. It’s hard for 1st graders to sit still in their seats on a normal day, try adding the excitement of the upcoming holidays and all teaching efforts are futile. Don’t get me wrong, we do teach, we just keep it a little lighter than usual. This year, while the students are still excited, our cheer and spirit has been a bit lower over the past week. Over the last weekend, the other 1st grade teacher that we work with lost her son unexpectedly from a heart attack. He was 36. I didn’t know him personally, only having met him a couple of times, but it is so hard to know that a friend is hurting and can only imagine the sadness in their heart. My greatest fear over the last 10 months was having this pain as my reality, that something would happen to J. It was the awful, unspoken possibility of deployment. But I cannot even fathom the pain from the loss of a child. I wish I knew the right words to say or the right things to do, but I don’t. I’m not sure that there are any words to be said and all I can do is keep her in my prayers.

Before I heard about the passing of my coworker’s son, I had been planning a post about something that I am wanting to do over the next year. Now that idea seems even more important. The understanding of what
was really important in my life and seeing the bigger picture which arose from this deployment got me to thinking…dangerous… I wanted to keep this changed outlook and attitude long after J returned home, rather than falling back into old habits and mindsets, but I didn’t know who to actively do that. Through a random series of link-clicking, I happened across an online article titled, “Get unlost: If you don’t do this, 2014 will totally suck” by Therese Schwenkler. The curious, catchy title got me and I was drawn in. I expected it to be about something superficial and that I wouldn’t even finish reading it, but I was wrong. The author wrote about an experiment that she had done, documenting how much time she spent on things that were not meaningful (ie, Facebook surfing, job she didn’t enjoy, etc.) versus time spent engaging in the things that were really important to her. The time spent on the un-meaningful activities was an eye-opener. I’d hate to actually add mine up…I’m afraid of what I would find.

Her question that she posed was great:

“Do you want to wake up one day, as a 90-year-old, and realize that you spent your life watching “Jersey Shore” and eating cookies?

Or do you want to be the old person who wakes up every day and is satisfied with how she’s spent her life; the old person without regrets?” (Schwenkler)

Um, yeah, I have no idea what “Jersey Shore” is, but I do eat a lot of cookies. And engage in a lot of other really meaningless nothing. So, she proposed a challenge:

“I propose we commit to making 2015 “The Year of The Important.” In 2015, we will focus relentlessly on the things that are really and truly important to us; the things that pass the “Really Old Person Test.”

You know, the “Really Old Person Test:” If you were a really old person looking back on your life, what things will have made it truly worthwhile? What’s the stuff that will have made the difference between living a materialistic life and a meaningful one; a pathetic life and an awesome one; a mediocre life and a GREAT one?”

I love this…the “Really Old Person Test.” In addition to making me laugh, it’s totally true. I do not want to wake up when I’m 90 and realize that I’ve spent the last 60 years stalking my friends’ Facebook pages rather than actually talking to them in person. Or spent my limited time working my life away so that I could fill my house with unnecessary things rather than spending that time playing with my kids or building an even better relationship with my husband. And the money I do earn I’d rather spend on taking my kids to amazing places or getting away with J to reconnect, rather than paying those bills that arrive in my mailbox for things that I can’t even remember buying somewhere in the past.

So I’m jumping on this and copying the author’s idea of making this coming year be the “Year of The Important” (but totally credit the brilliance of the idea to her!).

I want to spent my time, money, energy, patience on things that really matter, things that are really important and meaningful to me. I’ve had these thoughts and ideas before, but I think you really have to get to a point in your life where you are really ready to do this to make it work. I’m not big on making New Year’s resolutions. They never work for me. But this is more of a challenge or a change in lifestyle. Maybe it was actually lead to the simpler life that I have always thought sounded so nice. I’m ready for things to become simpler, to walk a little bit slower pace through life and really enjoy where I am at each step and stage. I’m sure it won’t be easy and there will be times where I slip back in to old habits, but if I can just stick with it, this will become easier over time and really become a way of living. The first step is identifying those things that are really important and really meaningful. I’m still in the stage and slowly making my list. It’s not going to be a long list, I have a feeling, but it will be a well thought out one. I’m going to post my list (or some of it) on here eventually in hopes of being held accountable. Maybe by writing it down where I know it’s been read by others, I will be better at sticking with it and actually makes some good changes. I’m hopeful…

So here’s to 2015 (a little bit early!) and making it really a “Year of The Important.”

I’m excited and I’m more than ready… 🙂