The year is quickly coming to a close. I absolutely love the year end wrap-ups that come on TV… remembering and reflecting on the good, the amazing, the bad, the sad… And it’s worth thinking about our family’s own year in that same way. Here are some questions to consider about the year. At the end of the post I’ll share a year-end wrap-up of my own. (It’ll be a the end so you can skip that part.!!)
So here are some of the questions I’ve been considering…
What am I grateful for this year?
What went well this year?
What three words best capture the essence of this past year?
What was the best memory of the year?
What was the biggest improvement in our lives this past year?
What obstacles did we overcome?
What would make me/us happier? How can I/we make this happen?
What activities do we want to drop? What activities do we want to make time for?
How can we increase our time together (family meals, games, day-trips, etc.)? Make sure we schedule thing on the calendar!
What do I like about myself?
What do I do well? What is my gift to the world?
What would I most like to change about myself this year?
How can I make more time for/with my spouse?
Am I in touch with the friends and loved ones that are important to me? How can I stay more connected with others?
If I knew I were to die in the next month or two, what would I do? What does that say about my life now?
Am I being truly generous to others (to my family, my friends, my community) in terms of my attention, time and energy? How can I improve?
How can I help someone else this next week/month?
If the house were to burn down, aside from loved ones/pets, what would I save? What does that say about what’s important? Does this coincide with the goals we have as a family?
What’s my favorite place in the house? Does this area look like I want it to? What could be improved? What do I like about this area and how can I replicate that in other parts of the house?
What’s going well and what needs improvement in terms of
our family goals
our daily life
Am I carrying problems, gripes, issues that need to be dropped (or dealt with)?
What’s on my “not to do” list? (What are the biggest time wasters in my life.)
don’t answer the phone during school hours
don’t get on the computer during our most productive hours
… and things like that!
Do we have any special plans for this next year? What do we need to make this happen (a trip, saving money and vacation time, etc.)?
Daydream about the future… What dreams do we have for the future as a family? How can we make this happen?
What legacy am I leaving behind?
Hope some of these questions gets you thinking about how you want 2014 to be as good or better than this past year!
And now my own thoughts about 2013:
Part I: The Good (What am I grateful for this year? What went well this year? What three words best capture the essence of this past year? What was the best memory of the year? What was the biggest improvement in our lives this past year?)
When I think about 2013, I’m really grateful for all the family time we had… we did a number road trips and spent time with my sister (and family) in Tennessee, my folks and sister in North Carolina, Hubby’s family at a wedding in Colorado Rockies and did touristy stuff as a family in Utah. And we also hosted a family-reunion type party for 65+ people at our home at the beginning of October with our family from Brazil and all around the U.S. That party was surely the highlight of the year! There’s nothing that beats knowing your extended family and really connecting.
The three words that best capture the essence of this past year: hugs, happiness, humility
Part II: The Bad (What obstacles did we overcome? What would make me/us happier? How can I/we make this happen? What activities do we want to drop? What activities do we want to make time for?)
Humility – I have a much greater perspective about my life, my vulnerabilities, my need for others after all of my health issues…
I have had to dig deep and really brace myself after my ear surgery (in mid-Oct) had complications. Even today I am having balance, vision and ear issues… I have 2 or three 3 appointments a week to try to figure things out. (This next week I have an ENT doctor appt, a CAT scan, a vestibular therapist appointment AND a visual therapist appointment!) I have had stretches where I just can’t drive because it’s so hard to focus my eyes. It’s looking like I’ll need more surgery. This is not life-threatening. I will get better… but it’s been a tough stretch for me.
Learning from the Bad: Oh my goodness, but what I’ve learned so much from all this!!!! My Husband is unbelievably supportive. He listens, does 99% of the grocery shopping (because stores are so visually overwhelming), escorts me to many of the doctor’s appointments, gives me a shoulder to cry on… And then my friends and extended family have reached out so much. Wow — it’s amazing knowing how much love and support there is behind you.
I’ve learned it’s okay to take care of yourself.
I’ve learned how to force myself through and get things done anyway.
I’ve learned that doing the minimum is sometimes okay.
I’ve learned to prioritize to put the available energy into what is most important.
I’ve learned to say no.
I’ve learned to say yes.
I am looking forward to the days when I feel good — and am itching to go hiking and to do a bit of (local) traveling again. I really love getting out and about with the kids and find that an important component of our homeschool. Not being able to do all that makes me so excited for the point when I’m healthy and normal again.
Part III: The House/Environment (What’s my favorite place in the house? Does this area look like I want it to? What could be improved? What do I like about this area and how can I replicate that in other parts of the house?)
This year I really tackled some organizing goals… and it makes SUCH a difference. You know how when you move, there comes a point when you stop dealing with the stuff? When we first moved back here (after 12 years in Australia), we didn’t have much furniture. We bought the basics (used dining room set, used couch set plus beds, etc.), but we didn’t get enough for storage — shelving, dressers, etc. Last summer we bought a half-dozen new pieces of furniture and tackled clutter etc. It felt great! Plus, we got a couch free from our friend that sits right in front of the wood stove. It has become the family’s favorite hang out!! (See the picture below.)
I’m constantly thinking about how to change things up and make our environment better… yesterday, I rearranged part of our homeschool room too (the desk area below) and the kids are super excited about that! I love changing things up!
Part IV: The Future (Do we have any special plans for this next year? What do we need to make this happen (a trip, saving money and vacation time, etc.)? Daydream about the future… What dreams do we have for the future as a family? How can we make this happen?)
We have a number of trips planned for this next year. We can’t wait to catch up with friends and family! The kids and I are especially looking forward to camping. I hope to squeeze in a lot more camping trips this year.
My dreams for the future as a family? I’d love to take the kids and travel abroad. I have very close friends in Hungary and want to visit and spend time with them… and I want the kids to travel through Germany… even to live with a German family with kids the same ages as mine. I dream about doing a family exchange type thing where we stay with a family for a few weeks and then another time they come and stay with us. I would love for the kids to become fluent in a foreign language (German happens to be the language I know best because I studied it in high school. It’s kind of ironic, though, since Germany doesn’t allow homeschooling.). That’s what I daydream about… I wonder if I/we can make that happen? (German families out there???!!) We’ll have to save up to make this happen, but I really hope to make this happen a few years down the road.
And my last thought — I hope that the kids become happy, hard working, self-reliant, and self confident adults. I hope they love their own journey of life as much as I’m enjoying mine.