Gosh, I learned so much in 2013, and although I am not an official resolution-maker, I am a fan of reflecting on the past and planning for the future. For example, I learned in September that if given the chance, my 10-year-old son is perfectly capable of handling a budding classroom bully. It took five days for my kid to turn a foe into a friend. Amazing. In 2014, I will cool my I-will-fix-everything tendencies and allow my children first crack at solving their own problems.
There is a lot I will not fix in this brand new year, but I do have five plans for 2014.
In 2013, I learned that the three digits that stare at me from my scale do not matter. Well, they sort of do because I want to maintain a healthy weight range, but a few pounds should not be a measure of a good or a bad day, and when I compulsively weigh myself, I allow numbers to define my happiness, which is so not smart for me (or anyone). I just want to feel good in my skin, and my clothing is the best test of that. In 2014, I plan to step only on doctor's scales.
In 2013, I learned by process of elimination that I have Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). I hate that name. It took more than two years to land on this disorder, which causes abdominal pain, cramping, bloating, and other ugly symptoms. My trigger is stress, which is not surprising for a Type A girl. In 2014, I will become a master of Zen. Well, not exactly a master with credentials and certificates or anything, just a master in my own mind.
In 2013, after my stress-related IBS diagnosis, I started taking Zoloft, an antidepressant. I initially did not want to succumb to medication; I had done it nine years ago during cancer treatment because I was prone to uncontrollable weeping, and it helped (a lot), but I weaned myself off during brighter days. Maybe I should not have done that because I am not a pro at emotional balance, and sure enough, the gut issues threw me for a loop and caused, yes, uncontrollable weeping. Zoloft takes away the crazy sobbing and also helps manage my anxiety, which falls nicely in line with the whole Zen thing. In 2014, I will continue taking an antidepressant because it minimizes the tears and that chest-crushing feeling I experienced for much of the past year.
In 2013, I was sure food was mucking up my stomach, and I chose to self-medicate with a strict Paleo diet. I really never strayed from the rules of clean eating until my doctor told me a few months ago that food was not making me sick; stress was. Shoot! I liked having a medical reason for eating like a cavewoman because it kept me on track; I was actually afraid of eating bread, grains, dairy, anything processed because of what it could do to my insides. It is not so easy to eat in a primal fashion when, technically, I will feel fine if I eat my favorite cookie dough ice cream. Of course, I do feel better overall when I make wise food choices, but will my stomach explode if I eat pizza? No, it will not. But thinking for nearly 365 days that it might did help me stay motivated. In 2014, I will do my best to eat clean, but I may have a brownie (or two or three or more) now and then.
In 2013, I learned that my reaction to what my children say and do is the No. 1 predictor of whether our interactions turn into conflicts. One night at a restaurant, my 12-year-old son spilled a blob of ketchup on his shirt. I could see the hesitation in his eyes as he waited for my response. I am sure he expected me to say with frustration, "You have GOT TO BE MORE CAREFUL. That is probably going to leave a stain!" because I have surely uttered those very words, and my child would have responded in a defensive fashion or made an excuse or pouted, and dinner would have become a bad memory. But a little counseling had helped me realize that I am the one who heads us in a certain direction, so I said, "No biggie; let's just treat the spot when we get home and wash the shirt." He smiled. I smiled. We moved on. Ketchup on a shirt is a small issue; it is not worthy of a scolding. In 2014, I will chill with my kids, and I will aim to lead us all down a path of peace, not chaos.
What I need more than anything in 2014 is calm; I need to get off the scale, relax, find balance, eat for health, and parent my children from a place of grace. There is more, but I will not fix everything in 2014; I shall save the rest for another year.