By Brandy Lidbeck
As 2015 was wrapping up, I realized the year had been an incredible gift. It was full of things I love: new friendships, travel, laughter, discovering new authors, serving others, loving intentionally, and being adventurous and daring with my own personal story. I wanted to bottle up all the good and carry it with me into 2016.
Typically, I spend each December dissecting all the things I don’t like about myself in an attempt to create the ultimate New Year’s resolutions list. A list that, when complete, will create the best Brandy possible. Brandy 2.0 promises to be thinner, wealthier, and more rested. And each year, by the end of January, all motivation to construct Brandy 2.0 ceases to exist and I spend six months trying to convince myself I am not really bothered by the extra weight, faltering bank account balance, or lack of sleep.
This year, I refused to make resolutions I will not keep beyond January. Sure, my usual resolutions are valuable, but they’re not necessarily life-giving. None of them can duplicate the inspiration, excitement, and freedom 2015 produced in me. I wanted to do more of the things that breathed life into my stagnant heart in 2015.
So in 2016, I’ve vowed to be more of who I already am and stop trying to create who I am not. I’ve promised myself I will stop chasing the obligation of “shoulds” (should lose weight, should save more money, should get more sleep) and instead focus on love. Love produces a full heart that pulls others in and breathes life into them and into ourselves. I want that for 2016.
Although I could use more rest, some of my most life-giving moments are those that happen late at night, when the kids are asleep and the house is quiet. It is during those times that my husband and I can connect without interruptions. We can be ourselves, alone, without being mom and dad. Those late nights are also the times I get to spend with my favorite girlfriends. When our combined million kids are asleep, we can sneak away and giggle and cry and fill each other up. Therefore, I’ve vowed to choose intimate relationships over sleep in 2016. So far, I have not regretted one single moment of this decision.
My husband and I are on a tight budget, and Dave Ramsey would be proud of our envelope system. One envelope contains funds I’ve been saving to purchase a new laptop. I desperately need and want a new computer, and it feels like I will never have enough money saved to actually buy it. There are times, however, when I willingly dip into the computer fund to treat a girlfriend to ice cream or coffee. You see, I want that computer, but I need my girls more. They fill my soul. I continue to write because of their encouragement. They do more for my writing than a computer ever could. I love them, they love me, and although my computer envelope is filling more slowly because of my occasional withdrawals, my life is richer because of them. I’ve vowed to choose people over things in 2016. I have not regretted one single moment of this decision, either.
When I love myself, I am gracious, accepting, and forgiving. Although I would love for my favorite jeans to fit better, I have decided to focus on the things that give me life in the deepest parts of my being. I will concentrate on that which stirs my heart and, as a result, stirs the hearts of the ones I love. In December 2016, I am certain I will look back and not regret a single moment of loving others and myself. This is how I want to live. This is how I will live.
Brandy Lidbeck is a licensed marriage and family therapist living in Northern California with her husband and three children. She is passionate about both truth and humor, and if she can get them both in the same conversation, it’s a win/win. She blogs at sipofbrandy.com.