End-of-Year Excitement

Happiness is neither virtue nor pleasure nor this thing nor that, but simply growth. We are happy when we are growing.”
— William Butler Yeats

I imagine it might make some people depressed to think they are doing the same thing on this December 27th as they were doing on this date last year. My one-sentence journal reveals that I am very much the same person now as I was a year ago, and I am not depressed at all.


Sailor is at preschool, Story is watching a DVD, Cash is out with TJ, and Bauer is listening to Adventures in Odyssey while building with Lego. I didn’t set out to copy last year’s achievements when I planned a blog post for this morning and a letter to Ellen this evening.

Much in my life is very much the same as last year, but I find happiness in the ways I’m growing too. I’ve been contemplating the things I’m excited about and which represent growth in one way or another.

The Enneagram - I read The Road Back to You this past summer, but then let the things I had learned fade into the background. I have to thank my friend Melissa for the recent conversation that got me thinking about the Enneagram again and for her recommendation to listen to Suzanne Stabile’s podcast, “The Enneagram Journey.” I am excited to have a new podcast to listen to, which I hope can help me shake out whether I’m a 1 or a 5. I thought I was a 1, but I don’t feel things in my gut, I don’t look to others for my sense of who I am, and I don’t feel the need to fix the world.

My hair - I have decided to let my hair grow back out. After having it short for two years, I finally came to the conclusion a month ago that unless I grow it back out to see what long(er) hair is like again, I won’t be content with short hair. It has felt too high-maintenance for a lifestyle of skiing and homemaking. I may go back to short hair later, but now that I’m on a mission to grow it out, I feel as excited about my hair as I have in a long time. And no more products to buy.

Paddleboards - TJ surprised me with a pair of paddleboards for us for Christmas. I am excited for a new way to exercise and enjoy the lake with TJ in the coming year.


Anne Lamott - I feel as excited about Annie as I ever have. How is that even possible? Her new book, which I’ve been slowly savoring like a good piece of chocolate, is saving me yet again. Her chapters on writing and on food are helping me grow in the best ways. I am copying quotes almost nightly now, in my usual twenty-minute increments, and wondering what it’s like to write like Annie? I am inspired to keep writing.


Yogurt - I went for years listening to the voice that said yogurt was bad. But I have decided not to listen to that voice anymore, or at least not the part about yogurt. It is a whole new world and I am enjoying the Chobani choices that are out there. This “hint” yogurt is one of my favorites so far. And if I needed any more convincing that I was on the right track with this newfound freedom, Annie sealed the deal for me yesterday when I read these lines from her chapter on food:

Well, this brings us full circle, to just trying to do a little better, today. That is the secret of life.

Is that discouraging? It is and it isn’t. The good part is that…you don’t have to pee onto tiny sticks to maintain ketosis…

Eventually one has to find a way to eat and be kind to one’s body….

I will tell you some things that definitely taste better than thin feels - creme brûlée, lasagna, and all Mexican food except menudo. No one needs to join a gym or live on weigh-loss-franchise frozen food, like a tortured astronaut, to be healthy, or eat kale smoothies or hire a bossy trainer…

The self-respect and peace of mind you long for is not in your weight. It’s within you….

Finding a way to have a relatively safe and healthy relationship with food is hard, and it involves being one’s own very dearest person. This will not cause chaos or death, as you were surely taught, but rather an environment where you can drown out the many mean and mistaken voices.


God as Parent - I have been trying to think of God as parent more often lately. I made a list in the back of my journal a few days ago, and now I feel excited about looking for and writing down Scriptures that teach me more about how God parents. I haven’t decided exactly how I’ll go about this type of study yet, but I know I am starting with the book of Isaiah and the new Peel journal TJ gave me for Christmas.

19 for 2019 - Some things never change and one is the fact that I love setting goals and making lists. I blogged about my “18 for 2018” list last year, inspired by the “Happier with Gretchen Rubin” podcast. I am working on a “19 for 2019” list and will perhaps share that in January. I have been praying recently about new writing goals and also about my desire to have intentional weekly conversations with TJ about how we can help our children grow in grit, responsibility, and flexibility. I also have reading goals, house improvement goals, and other personal goals. I made a list the other day of things I want to do in the first quarter of the year, but I am not sure how those will translate to being part of my “19 for 2019” list. These considerations make me very happy.

He wondered how many people ever said to themselves “I’m happy.” And did it help to contemplate one’s own happiness?
— Alexander McCall Smith, A Time of Love and Tartan