“And I’ll find strength in pain
And I will change my ways
I’ll know my name as it’s called again”
– The Cave, Mumford & Sons
Few song lyrics have ever spoken to me like those words. But I’ve listened to this song over and over lately as I’ve thought about my life as a whole… and my life this past month. The death of my father punched me in the gut. In fact, it punches me in the gut everyday. I can’t really conceive that he’s no longer on this earth. And each time I try to wrap my head around it, my heart starts pounding and I feel like I’m gonna hyperventilate.
But I still have children to care for, a husband to spend time with and clients to help so I trudge on and try to sort through my emotions in the little moments I’ve had to myself. Don’t worry about me, though. I’m working through it.
But because of all that had happened since Thanksgiving, I pretty much shut down my blogs for a month. And it gave me time to reflect on who I am and how I’m spending my life.
I’ve always been a person of moderation. Of reason. Of work-life balance. But 2011 caught me in a swirl. Aside from this past month, it was a swirl of unemployment, trying to build a consulting career, blogging, caring for two little dudes and on and on it goes. I’m often met with “I don’t know how you do it all.”
Honestly, I didn’t know how I did it all. I just did.
I stayed up late to finish what “needed” to be done. I turned down blog opportunities, thinking I was being wise with my time. I planned our family’s meals 1-2 weeks ahead. I only blogged a few days a week on each blog. I thought I was living life in moderation. In balance.
But truthfully, all I ever did was blog or do consulting work.
Scrapbooking? No. Reading a book? Rarely. Watching TV? Rarely. Working out? Only when I taught aerobics (um, that is to say NOT MUCH).
So while I wasn’t ticked off about my Klout score or blogging seven days a week, I WAS spending too much time online doing things that weren’t productive or leading me towards my goals. It was taking away from other enjoyable parts of my life, even though I thought I was doing things in moderation.
In 2012, I’ll try to find balance. Real-life balance. The balance that means, yes, sometimes I will stay up late to finish a post or polish a client’s proposal. But that also means I’ll be sure to finish some of my much-neglected scrapbooks and other things I’ve been wanting to do.
Working from home and caring for two kiddos is no walk in the park. But I know I can make changes that will have an impact.
Which leads me to my word…
Each year I pick a single word to focus on. To me, it’s easier than remembering a list of resolutions. This word is like my mantra. The decisions I make and the things I do throughout the year should revolve around this one word.
My word for 2012 was so obvious to me:
Ahhhh, just saying the word out loud gives me a boost in motivation.
Because it doesn’t mean I necessarily have to give up things I love. It means I just need to be smarter about how I do things. So, I’m focusing on simplifying my life in three areas:
1. My Blogging Life
I adore blogging. And I don’t wanna stop. But I do want to be smarter about it. So, I’m not committing myself to any certain number of posts a week on Adventuroo. If you haven’t heard, I’m retiring the Capture the Everyday meme too (that was a hard decision but I know it’s for the best).
On Momcomm, I plan to leave Thursdays for guest posts and Mashups and stick with Monday and Wednesday for my content and blog critiques. Also, I’m consolidating two Twitter accounts into one. I plan to delete my @momcommblog account and change my @adventuroo account handle to @mel_culbertson. I admit the Twitter handle name “@adventuroo” is much cooler but I’ve already seen my Twitter time almost cut in half from using just one account this past week. Don’t have to manage two sets of lists, of followers and so on.
I’m sure I’ll do some more simplifying as the year progresses but those are the major things.
2. My Work Life
Honestly, there isn’t much to simplify at the moment other than creating a few templates for some of the repeated things I do (like social media strategy documents). And yes. Email. Need to tame that beast. I’ve already started adding rules to Mac Mail. BOOM.
I think with my work life it’s more about building a nice structure and organization system to what I’m already doing with my clients. Dorky things like sticking to my naming structure so it’s easy to find a client’s files. It’s dorky things like that which save my ass from spending half an hour for a file that was named untitled3.doc.
3. My Personal Life
You know, the one I’ve been neglecting? Well, I want to scrapbook. I want to read, like, actual books. And after spending so much time in Costa Rica this past December with family, I’m more determined than ever to become fluent in Spanish. I understand a good bit but my siblings and I are the only ones – of our 50+ member family – that aren’t fluent. I’ve studied it enough to be fluent (I won’t tell you how many years or I’ll embarrass myself) but seriously, if you don’t speak it, you don’t learn it. There’s only so much you can learn in a textbook. I’m already practicing with a cousin of mine.
I’m also teaching the kids Spanish. After a short whining period (haha), Big Roo is totally digging it now. He and my cousin’s son counted to each other on Skype the other day. Big Roo in Spanish and he in English. Totally cute.
Also, I decided a couple of months ago to give up teaching aerobics… after 11 years. For the amount I was teaching, I couldn’t justify spending about $300 by the time I renew my cert and pay for all my continuing education credits. So, it’ll be the first time in 11 years I’ll have to pay for a gym membership. Which means I’m skipping the gym. Haha. Instead, I’m trying out my nemesis: running. My Nike + GPS app is pretty slick though so let’s see if I stick with it.
So, that’s what’s in my head. Well, now in a blog post too. SIMPLIFY. My blogs. My work. My life.
Of course, there are a gazillion ways to simplify our lives. I plan to start with this and see where it leads me.
I want to live up to those lyrics.
Do you focus on a word for the year, make resolutions or neither?