Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Back to the Basics

It's January.

For me, life boils down to one of two options...hibernate for two months, or get back to the basics.

I guess hibernation really isn't an option. Bummer. Though it is so appealing. Burying myself in my bed under my nice thick comforter sounds so warm and comforting. Besides, I have a sufficient view of the snowy outdoors from there...

Okay,'s really NOT an option.

The thing about January, and winter in January, is that the scheduled existence that saved the day and allowed life to happen in the fall and through the holidays, suddenly becomes overwhelming. While in September and October and November and December, I could countenance regularly scheduled activities every night of the week, now it just becomes a never ending rhythm of busyness. There is no light at the end of the tunnel, because the tunnel has months still to go.

The scope and burden and unending makes for not many options. Some of which are more feasible than others.

1. Drop out of all activities. (refer back to the aforementioned hibernation idea)

2. Persevere through the craziness and maybe lose your mind-to say nothing of your sanctification.

3. Get back to the basics. Pare down the unnecessary. Stick to the commitments. Carve out space for what you love.

The thing is, I don't want to drop our evening activities. There are good reasons that we signed on for each of the activities, that still apply. So, we still have things scheduled for every Monday, Tuesday and Friday night.

But, beyond that, I am going to be intentional about how I use my time. I am going to fill it with what I love. I am going to fill my time with the things that challenge, grow, and encourage me.

I am going to fill my surroundings with beauty and with things that challenge, grow and encourage me. And this is how I will survive the winter. Because it's how I have survived most other winters.

My January/winter list looks like this...

Getting up early 3-4 mornings a week. By early, I mean 4:45 or 5:00. Conscientiously getting up early helps me be conscientious about going to bed on time. Regularly getting up early forms a habit and thus makes it easier to get up early. It's not the shock to my system that once a week is. Really.

Swimming 2-3 miles per week and running 3-4 days a week. I may not pick up my regular Monday runs again until late February, but I am working on running (slipping, sliding, plodding) 3 times a week-at least 3 miles, but also accomplishing at least two 6 or 7 mile runs before we leave for Spain. And the swimming is just good. The flip turns are whipping my abs back into shape. I also may be signing up for a Pilates class or just buying another Pilates dvd. It's also helping my core (they call it a power house-same diff). Physical exercise is worth its weight in gold as far as mental outlook goes, and the physical benefits are nothing to sneeze at either.

Reading. I read a lot over Christmas break and I am trying to continue the trend through the winter. This takes work. It takes self-control to shut down the computer and read. It takes presence of mind to remember to bring a book with me for the times I may be away and have some down time. It is worth it to find minutes in my day to feed my soul.

Dates. We are making Wednesday or Thursday nights our date night. It's just going to happen. Last week we took our Sequence board to Olive Garden (after 8:00) and played while eating dessert and appetizers. It was fun to just have fun together. To date again. The week before we went to a pizza joint, and then perused Barnes and Noble for an hour or so.

Buy the flowers, burn the candles, wear the lipstick, drink the tea, and apply the lotion. Its about surrounding myself with beauty in the midst of the gloom. It's about enjoy the luxuries I already possess. It's about reveling in the glories and small graces of the day to day. I go back to this theme every January. Because January is when schedule no longer reigns supreme. January is when I always arrive at the conclusion that these things aren't luxuries, they are necessities. They are life.

Hospitality. I am an introvert and I don't thrive on crowds, but I still need solid interaction with people. On a regular basis. We have been very intentional this month about inviting our people over and/or connecting face to face with our people. It leads to good, deep conversations, on which I do thrive.

Ironically enough, this list closely follows my what worked for me, and what didn't work for me, in 2014 list. Except, cleaning is still not making a bigger cut of the pie. But, I am trying to continue the great things and shore up the needed things.

What basics are you working back into your life and schedule since the advent of 2015?