Saturday, December 31, 2016

New Year's Eve 2016

I know a lot of people don't believe in New Year's Resolutions or setting goals just because the calendar resets at the stroke of midnight, but I do. I'm sure it has a lot to do with my Type A, slightly OCD personality, but I always spend December 31st reflecting on what went down the last 12 months and visualizing what will be in store for me in the coming months.

I used to write down resolutions and keep them on my clipboard and most every year I accomplished them, but as I got older my resolutions transformed from specific missions to more open ended goals.

For example, this time last year, I was trying to keep my head afloat with a son in the midst of the terrible twos, a newborn daughter, and the looming PCS move. My hope was simple. Continue to be the best mom I was capable of, survive the transition from Florida to Germany, and be brave and travel.

And I have to say, as far as years go, 2016 ended up being a big one.

Some of the highlights:
- I went to Disney. Twice.
- I went to Universal. Finally. Discovered the best theme park treat ever. (Frozen butterbeer.)
- Flew on an airplane for the first time.
- Moved to a foreign country.
- Visited a real castle.
- Went to Luxembourg.
- Went to France.
- Visited Disneyland Paris.
- Went to London. (And rode a subway for the first time.)
- Experienced a Christmas market.

Pretty impressive.
And obviously there were little things that I took a lot of pride in. Helping Landon start his letter writing, teaching Evie baby sign language, getting back in post-Landon shape, buying my second Disney Dooney, writing almost every day, becoming comfortable driving on European roads, etc etc.

Not going to lie, 2017 has a lot to live up to. How can I top stepping foot in 5 different countries?
Well, I might not. But I'm hoping I can make the most of my 12 months.

My top 5 goals:
- Go to Rome. I can't even begin to talk about how excited I am for this trip in March.
- Return to Disneyland Paris. C'mon, 2 days wasn't nearly enough for my family. And how many more chances are we going to get to visit this particular park in our lifetime?
- Reduce my to be read list on Goodreads. I think the last time I glanced at that shelf, I had over 200 books on there. I need to get back to reading now that the kids are older and less demanding.
- Continue to work on a greener life. I'm trying. I'm mostly failing, but I really do want to reduce my carbon footprint and become a less wasteful person. Every day, I'm learning a little more and I figure if I can change one thing at a time, over the course of the year I'll be sitting in a better place than I am now.
- Complete my Disney World AND DL Paris trip reports. Seems silly, but I'd like for once to actually be current. I don't think I've been up to date since Landon's first trip in 2013. Yikes.

I'm keeping it simple in 2017. This last year was just so busy and so stressful, that this year I don't want to set my expectations so high and then worry about living up to it all year. 2017 is going to be about me working on smaller, simpler goals and taking what life throws at me one day at time. Alex is going to be gone for half the year; I don't need a lofty ambition hanging over my head while I'm busy trying to be a great mom, a good visitor of Europe, and a functioning adult. Rather than giving myelf unrealistic expectations, I'm going into the year with the mindset that if I keep my plate clean, it'll end up filling itself with unexpected rewards.
I'm going to focus on the little things and let my attitude remain open and ready for experiences I hadn't planned for.

Will I go back to the states while Alex is gone?
Who knows? Maybe.

Will I visit additional countries in the fall?
I hope so, but I don't want to commit and then panic when they aren't fulfilled.

Will Landon get into preschool or will I be slogging through another year of homeschooling?
I'm going to stay positive that he will but remind myself that I have the tools and education to teach him if it doesn't work out.

Will I survive my first real winter?
Outlook isn't so good on this one, but hey...only 4 more months until the warm weather returns. Bring on the fans, the late sunsets, and the smell of manure in my backyard.

Again, I love this time of year, this time of reflection. I hope everyone can experience something new in 2017 and can look back on 2016 and pinpoint something that made them into a better person. Because that's the whole point, isn't it? Constantly evolving and growing, aiming to be our best selves possible.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have end of the year finance spreadsheets to complete. Another favorite thing about this time of year, I LOVE looking back at our expenditures and seeing where our money was spent and then comparing it to previous years.

I never denied the fact that I was a huge nerd.

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