We started the new year on Cannon Beach, and fish sandwiches for lunch (photo by Patrick, who shot this during a second beach walk with King while I sat in a coffee shop and wrote lists in a brand new notebook. Good lard).
I had the strongest sense of a reset with this new year. As deeply as the obligatory renewal you might have felt as a kid, because that's what you understood the New Year to be. But add something genuine and intentional.
We're in a new house, in a new city. There's that.
Our baby is turning into a kid. There's that.
So on the one hand I have an opportunity to settle into something―a routine, a small space that I can configure into a clean slate. And on the other, continual change has rooted itself―King is learning things all the time, getting bigger, doing new feats.
Clean the slate. Make room for growth.
I piled up resolutions for the coming year. Intentions? Change-makings? Whatever they might be called, they're an attempt to uncover the single line that runs through all the things I do. There is one of those, right? Aren't we all motivated by a simple principle, or set of principles? And I don't mean any of those rules that we can pick and choose from to live "good" lives. I mean the actual thing that actually motivates most of our actions. The thing that is probably double-edged. (Money, for example. Does being motivated by money represent greed, or a sense of security? Charity: does it contribute to community, or a sense of ego? Health: a sense of wellness, or a fear of death?)
(Both! They are all both!)
What I'm coming back to for myself is: I want to know that what I'm doing ... is doing something.
My Letters East cards: are helping people stay in touch with each other.
My design work: is contributing to a community that I want to help nurture.
My yoga practice: is helping me see deeper into myself, and helping create an environment at home that might inspire King.
God, is this dead simple? Am I just saying that I want to make sure I live life like a human? Maybe this is a good time in the world to be intentionally seeking a human life, though.
Here are some other things this "doing something" year means for me:
A year of no sugar. Holy hell. And Patrick's on board, too. We'll keep honey and bittersweet chocolate in the house. Otherwise, desserts, donuts, pancakes with syrup: no. Except maybe birthdays. And next Christmas. A year of no sugar, because sugar is doing ... nothing (except all those magical happy-making things, but I think they might be a trap).
Stepping away from Facebook and Instagram. Not probably for the whole year, but at least to start. And there's nothing wrong with those things. I just want to see what I make of my time when I have more of it. So far: reading books, playing solitaire, getting into board games with Patrick. More time with King in my lap. Also, there are plenty of people I will miss not seeing every single day (on my phone). So I'll reach out to them other ways. Right? That's the idea.
Me and King, out. She's getting bigger and more intent on spending time with friends (she's started using their names! She recounts things she did on play dates!). So, me and she leaving the house every morning for a weekly routine: story time at the library, bus trips to the science museum, play dates, play cafes (where she runs around with kids while a shop full of parents drink coffee and do their own things; on our first visit last week, I worked on spreadsheets. Heaven).
I have about a billion more things in my head that I want to get into this space. So that, too. More of this. I like this. I even have more ideas for this (like, who would like a paper letter?).
But another thing for this year: slow, steady. There's time.