What are your 2022 resolutions? One of the definitions of the word “resolution” is “a firmness of purpose”. You know…something like weight loss…a new job…a new love life. For divorced moms, our resolution lists may indeed have these things somewhere on the parameters. But over the years of my past New Year’s resolutions as a single mom, those things never really made my top-line entries.
My resolutions have always been more organic…more under the heading of simplicity. When I sit and give my energy to thinking about this past year alone, I am resolved to be firm in my purpose of seeking a balance.
In essence, the past 21 months have been a time in our world history that we have not seen the likes of in over 100 years. And even 100 years ago when there was a different pandemic taking hold of the globe, we didn’t have the immediacy of information via cell phones, laptops, social media, cable news, and everything else that comes along with reacting to a crisis the minute a crisis happens. It has been a lot to take in and embrace.
Though I was very fortunate to have kept my job as so many people were losing theirs, I did endure a pay cut. I was forced to tighten my budget and make the necessary adjustments. A budget that still supported a family single-handedly. The stress of the past 2 years has taken a bit of a toll on me, and I am determined to recalibrate. Just as I have done so many times since I became a single parent many years ago.
Below are my New Year’s resolutions that I hope will last well beyond 2022 but are a direct result of a challenging 2020 and 2021
Peace of mind
I am resolved in finding this once and for all in my life. This simple concept has eluded me for over two decades. The day I became a single mother when both my children were under 4 years old was the day I said goodbye to this feeling. I suddenly found myself supporting what felt like a globe on my shoulders. Every day worrying about money, about time for my children and their well-being, about not allowing the responsibilities of a single parent to jeopardize my job. Worrying about everything from fixing the kitchen sink to affording children’s school clothes to buying a home and every stick of furniture it took to fill it. I worried day in and day out.
And since my refrigerator just conked out on Christmas day, I guess my worries are still front and center. However, my resolve isn’t to stop worrying. That would be futile and probably unachievable. My approach for 2022 will be how I handle the worry. How I will rely on experiences of the past to give me the peace of mind in knowing that what I have achieved so far will afford me the ability to handle anything that comes my way. Peace of mind is now mine for the taking and I fully expect to embrace this concept as standard operating procedure as I move on in my life.
This is something that every single mom sees very little of. We are stretched to the outer limits as we juggle so much. And though the need for recharge is mission critical, we give it very little credence. We put ourselves and our needs on the back burner to everyone and everything that seems to always take precedence over us. We triage our lives every day and care for what needs our attention most. What I have failed to realize in the past was that it was “I” who needed the attention the most. I needed to attend to myself so that I had the energy to attend to the other people, jobs, tasks, and responsibilities that were constantly queuing up at my door. I know how important this was because I am two decades into residing in Single Momdom and I am officially tired.
I really did put everyone else’s needs in front of my own for a very long time. In my case with such small children, there really was no other way I could have sliced myself up in order to care more for myself. But if I could have just slightly adjusted my self-sacrificing behaviors yesterday, I may not be as burned out and out of balance as I am today. It isn’t a behavior that is easily changed overnight. And it isn’t easily accepted by all those involved in the equation either. Those on the receiving end of the behaviors also have to adjust and it’s up to me to help everyone fully adopt this new concept. I simply insist now.
Just say no!
This is something I have actually started now. I have come to a time and place in my life that saying no to things I don’t want to do or cannot do is my new mantra. It is not born out of cruelty or punishment to anyone either. It is born out of me finally finding my voice and recognizing my own needs. I have realized that spreading myself as thin as I have for a long time has really only benefited those for who I made the sacrifice for. I just cannot keep up with the demands that have either been placed upon me by others or those that I have just placed upon myself. This includes saying no to myself too.
What I have learned is that I have created many of my own stressors because I just expected too much from myself as well. Saying no, in general, is sometimes just what is needed. Eliminating my FOMO behaviors too. This has allowed me to manage the traffic on my runway and has given me the ability to slow my roll and breathe. As a result, this has made me a happier woman!
Getting my health on!
This is a resolution I am taking quite personally. I have had many triggers that were developed over years as a result of my lack of “me time” and the inability to “say no”. I wouldn’t say that I was an unhealthy person, but I would say that I could definitely be healthier. Over the years as stress took many forms in my life, my weight went down very low and then up very high. I either stress starved, or stress ate.
My one-time ease of steady breathing was reduced to short and rapid anxious breathing. My once healthy regimen of running and walking every day gave way to demands put upon my time which led me to abandon that space which was more like a retreat to me. I would run and walk every day and in doing so I would clear my head and process the things that needed my attention. It allowed me to gain a better perspective while working out my body, along with working out the worries.
This resolution to rejoin me and pick up the bookmark I laid down a long time ago is a long-awaited one. I know I am older now and the ability to run as I once did is not really a desire now. But I know that allowing myself the time to focus on my health…which includes my mental health after such a tough 21 months… is a huge resolution I plan on sticking to. I know it will encompass both a physical and mental tune-up and I am excited to restart this side of me!
So these are my top-line items on my 2022 resolution hit list. Though I am always striving to lose weight, I am no longer driven by the aesthetic results that once were my sole motivation. I have enough common sense to realize that taking care of myself includes watching what I eat and getting daily exercise. I also know that having time on my calendar for myself is critical. Even time to just stop moving and be okay in my own quiet company. A simple concept I know. But what I am seeking now are the feelings that go along with achieving a real and lasting balance in my life. It’s just time. And 2022 will be the threshold upon which I will enter this life-affirming time as a single mother.
Wishing all of you the resolutions you seek to accomplish. May they be kind. May they be compassionate. May they be selfish. May they be all that you wish for and more! And may you find the balance you are seeking too!