I’ve never been much of a resolution kind of girl. I’m not so good with “goals.” They require too much planning and I’d rather not make plans just in case there’s something more fun that comes along. I know. I’m a terrible person.
Also, I’m not particularly fond of “improving” myself. (It hurts.) But, I’ve been learning that if I challenge myself in ways that mean something important to me, it actually is possible to find a lot of joy in those changes.
So last year as I was wrestling with what it might mean to care more deliberately for people throughout the world who live in poverty, I started taking a look at my typical middle-class American closet. If I say I believe in and want to work for justice in the world, I figured my clothing should reflect that. My changes weren’t monumental, but they felt like a step in the right direction.
I decided to do my best to buy only a few pieces of clothing that would last a long time – not too trendy so I can’t wear them in three years and also not cheaply made, in the hopes that they weren’t made in sweatshops. (By the way, figuring out if an item of clothing is made unjustly is easier said than done.) Also, I decided to give everything away that was not a staple in my wardrobe. If I rarely wore it and was just saving it out of obligation or fear that I might need it someday, I gave it away.
My “Simple Closet” practice was one of the best spiritual exercises I worked through this past year. I still had a difficult time figuring out what was worth buying. I struggled over my choices and felt massive guilt when I bought running pants from Target and they were made in Haiti. (What does that even mean? I don’t know.) Maybe it matters most that I’m learning to pay attention. I’m grateful that something in my life is pushing me to think about where things were made and the lives of the people who stitched my clothes together. Also, the practice of letting go of clothes I don’t use has been so freeing for me. I was made so much more aware of how tightly I hold to my stuff. The process of moving back into an apartment sized closet in the city has also been good for my soul. Now I just don’t have room to hoard. I think it just might be becoming a more natural practice to give something away every time something new comes along.
I tried some other goals last year. I’ve been running a little for the past year and a half. Maybe three times a week. Last year I said I wanted to try a 10K in 2012. I didn’t do it. (Sigh.) So I’m setting a smaller goal of a 5k and I’m hoping one of my brothers will read this and then come visit me and force me to sign up for a race when he’s here. I’m afraid I need someone to make me do that one.
I shared last Friday that my word for this year is Enough. I am enough in Christ. And there is enough time to live wholeheartedly, whether or not I complete any impressive tasks. But here are my goals. (Consider them coated in grace, okay?):
1. Make steps to cultivate mystery and play in my kids by…
- Making poetry more a part of our lives. I want my kids to love poems but we all know how hard it is to sit and read books of poetry with our kids. I have a feeling children come to love poetry much more when it’s a part of every day life. So I just ordered a chalkboard for my boys’ room and my plan is to write a different poem on it every week. My goal is to repeat it during daily life as much as possible so that the words and rhythms start to stick with them.
- Use what’s around us! We live in one of the most beautiful cities in the world. It is full of museums and pieces of art and beautiful architecture, not to mention the hills and the ocean. Am I taking advantage of what’s around us? Once a week I want to make it a priority to do something “cultural.” I’m going to use that term loosely!
2. Run a 5K
3. Go to bed around 10 and wake up around 5.
- Listen, I’m happier when I go to bed early and wake up early to write. But, my brain tells me I’ll really be happier if I go to bed at midnight and wake up at 7 when my kids wake up. My brain is a liar. I need to write in the quiet of the morning with a big cup of coffee, not in the quiet of late night exhaustion. If I start mentioning that I’m staying up late to write, you need to remind me to snap out of it, okay?
I’m interested in what you guys are doing. Any resolutions? Have any of you figured out how to shop “justly”? Or how to share poetry with your kids? Tell me! Tell me!