I'm half way through The Twelve Days of Christmas Blog Challenge. The sixth day asks what are six regrets you have from 2016.
The prompt is not about looking back with negativity, it is about identifying where we went wrong so we can take a more positive route in the future.
1. Spending too much time volunteering with one organization. Although I love volunteering, I overcommitted my time to one organization. What I didn't do was set limits on what was enough.
So, while everyone seemed to be enjoying everything I coordinated, it came at an expense: less time with my family, less time creating memories to look back upon, not enough time with certain homeschooling subjects (particularly the ones that were more difficult and require more teaching time), less time spent doing hobbies I enjoy, and less time spent outside.
In essence, I traded a significant part of this past year for creating experiences and products for other people. I need to create boundaries and limits with my time so I can do the things that I enjoy doing and spending it with people who truly matter in my life.
2. Not being able to save as much as I had hoped. Although we were able to pay off our debt (except the mortgage) with inheritance money, it still hasn't resulted in the hope I had for saving a significant amount of money for retirement and emergencies. It seems like it is one challenge after another this year.
Perhaps 2017 will be different...or maybe I need to structure things differently so meeting my goals is possible.
3. Not beginning yoga or walking as much as I wanted to during the past year. I have the DVDs and the mat for yoga. I just never started.
I wanted to take the dogs for frequent walks...started in the spring and then Cooper got Lyme's Disease and was sick for quite a while. I was so worried about the deer ticks and it happening again. So, I let fear be my excuse for not taking him and Aspen out.
This fall - once it had cooled down and walking was easier on them (they have a challenging time with high heat and humidity), I took them on some walks. And then it got cold. Both dogs aren't able to walk in the snow or ice without their paws freezing. We've tried the dog boots and they either come off or the dogs won't walk in them.
Poor time management...health issues..fear...weather. It's a lot of excuses. Some legitimate and others that are just that: excuses for an easier/lazier way of life.
4. Not sticking with regular spiritual practices. At one point, I was writing and doing a lot of creative projects as part of my spiritual practices. When I began over-volunteering, the spiritual practices fell to the wayside.
I look at 2012 (the year my Dad died). I did so many creative things and challenged myself to learn new things. There was a feeling of accomplishment and moving forward even though I was grieving.
2016 feels like a year of stagnation and poor decision-making. It was a year of coasting more so than active engagement in life...or at least that's what it feels like to me.
Having regular spiritual practices challenged me to live a more full life. It's time to get some of these practices back in place and make them a priority.
5. Not spending as much time outdoors with Sophia and Olivia; the dogs; and myself. We used to spend a lot of time outdoors exploring the farm and nature. Everything was fascinating and beautiful. We used the Handbook of Nature Study and we would do nature journaling. I have many fond memories of those years.
We used to go on walks at the state park...or even down the road with the dogs. I had actually put in my calendar state parks that I wanted to explore in 2016 - ones that we had never been to that looked like they would be pretty places to visit.
We didn't go to any of them. Not a one. Again, it was because of #1.
I'm going to write down the names of those parks in my calendar again this year. This time we're going to visit them...go hiking with the dogs, camping in a yurt with the girls, and maybe try some new food over a campfire.
6. Trying to please and accommodate everyone's needs. This applies mostly the 4-H club I lead. During the summer, there was considerable interest in the club and 99 people were at the first club meeting this year. There were way too many people - and some of them simply showed up without letting me know. It was insane.
To effectively handle that size group, we used three different meeting spaces at the community center. Yet, in order for meetings to run well, for safety reasons, and noise control, not everyone could be in one space. Some people weren't happy with the new arrangement.
Then as the months went on, there was one challenge after another: we couldn't cap the enrollment on the club even though we couldn't handle any more youth; we set up a website for a major event only to be told it had to be redone on the organization's main website; we tried to design a t-shirt for our club, but no one liked the design specs that we had to use; and some families needed another space where their kids could run around indoors and be loud. The community center isn't that place.
As much I tried to accommodate everyone's needs, it's not possible. And, honestly, I have no idea why I felt the need to try to offer something for everyone and meet everyone's needs. It can't always be done.
The original reason why I wanted to lead a 4-H club was to give Sophia and Olivia more opportunities to be leaders with 4-H and build their leadership skills; and have them be able to meet and do things with other homeschoolers. Simple. I need to re-visit those goals and pare down what I do in 2017. It is the healthiest thing to do...and one that would support my overall life goals.