Looking forward to 2016 with Joy

January 3rd, 2016

I used to make New Year’s resolutions. As a child, I can remember writing them down for class assignments – promises to study hard for spelling tests and to eat vegetables more willingly. Then as an adult, I would come up with a few grandiose ideas for self-improvement each year. I would drink eight glasses of water a day, exercise five times a week, floss diligently…and eat vegetables more willingly.

Within a few weeks, of course, the resolutions would fall by the wayside. The trendy water bottle, optimistically purchased to facilitate hydration, would languish in the cupboard. Exercising five times a week turned into five times a month – if that. The prospect of daily flossing would prove too daunting. And French fries count as a vegetable, right? Right!?

Eventually, I gave up resolutions entirely. There’s plenty of opportunity to feel terrible about yourself when you’re a parent – just spend a few hours on Pinterest. It seems downright masochistic to start the year off with a laundry list of unrealistic expectations.

Instead, I’m choosing to mark the arrival of a new year by thinking ahead to the things I’m looking forward to. For example, there are a few special events and activities on the horizon for 2016. I’ve got concert tickets to a band I like in March and my husband and I are planning a trip to Boston in August to celebrate our 10th anniversary. I’m looking forward to watching the Red Sox play, going whale-watching, and finishing entire sentences without being interrupted by someone needing help in the bathroom.

More generally, I’m looking forward to my children’s’ growing independence in the year ahead. When spring rolls around, I should be able to banish my offspring from the house when they get rowdy, knowing that they can all safely play in the (fenced, child-friendly) backyard with limited parental supervision.

And I’m looking forward to summer with my kids. This will be our first year without diapers, strollers, and iron-clad naptimes impacting our activities and the possibilities seem endless. We’ve cordoned off a big section of the backyard for gardening this summer and the kids and I have already begun poring over the seed catalogs.

Vacation road travel may finally become bearable this year, too. When we drove to my parents’ house in Illinois for Thanksgiving, we stopped 15 times during a nine-hour drive (yes, I counted) because the toddler was in the throes of potty training. Words truly do not capture how much I’m looking forward to doing that drive with fewer stops this year.

So, no resolutions. I’m not vowing to run a marathon or read the entire works of Charles Dickens this year. But I am looking forward to a new year of adventures with my family. I’m sure I’ll be sharing many of them with you. Happy New Year!

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