Happy 2017! I can’t believe we are already halfway through the first month of the new year. I was recently inspired after reading this article by Maria Shriver about what she wants to “carry” and “bury” in 2017. I have found the idea of resolutions to be daunting especially because it diminishes what you learned and maybe even mastered the previous year. It begs “what more can you do?” instead of also validating your successes. Furthermore it challenged me to really consider what I am proud of from 2016, what I want to continue through 2017, and what I can truly leave behind.
What I Want to Bury:
- Self-Doubt. There is nothing that handicapped me more in 2016 than self-doubt. When I began the year I was a successful Business Development Director at the height of my career, newly married, and about to move to New York. I arrived with confidence that I would find a sparkly new job and conquer wifehood with ease. Unfortunately it didn’t work out at all how I planned. Months flew by, what felt like hundreds of job applications had been submitted, and I was alone a lot during the day until Z got home from work. The loneliness was a perfect incubus to cultivate a cloud of fear and doubt that I was not good enough. Who was I without a successful career? Why would a man as wonderful as my husband, meanwhile blossoming and thriving in his career, want a pathetic woman such as myself who couldn’t find her way in New York? Self-doubt consumed my every day. Eventually I realized it was me who was holding me back. I had complete control of realizing my happiness and as soon as I worked on what it was that made me truly happy, outside of a career woman and being Z’s wife, I was set free from my doubt. I was a lot more than just those two things. It was finding ways to energize and inspire me. I am not perfect and battling self-doubt will always be a dynamic of life but for the purpose of this list, I am committed to continuing to pursue my happy and diminish the doubt.
- Us vs. Them. While I don’t really want to get into the political arena on this blog, I have to acknowledge my approach to interacting with friends, family, and strangers whose political opinions are different than my own. This past year was a tumultuous and distressing time for everyone regardless of the candidate you supported. As the President-Elect is being sworn into office as I type this I am a gamut of emotions. For the purpose of this bury list, I want to work on diminishing this idea of Us vs. Them. This mentality is what got us here, divided. It’s not the first time in our nation’s history but for those living it for the first time it is painful, a state of disbelief. I look back on 2016 and interactions with some of my friends and family who I considered to be them. They supported the candidate I did not. As frustrated as that made me, I am certain my support of the other candidate made them equally so. My regret is that I didn’t engage in an adult, open-minded conversation with them. Instead I steered clear, avoided it, and judged them. Us vs. Them. I could have listened, shared passions, seek understanding in a constructive way. We are never going to be a united nation until both sides really examine the other side. It will continue to be two teams. Of course I am not naive to believe I could have actually changed those friends or families’ minds but maybe we would have understood each other better and learned something. I also know there will always be two teams but I don’t believe it has to be as harshly divided and vicious as it stands right now. As I avoid my television today I am not doing so to perpetuate the #NotMyPresident or anything like it. I’m not happy about it, not by any means. But instead of opening my social media and perpetuating the drama, today I choose to establish how I will carry into the new year, this new regime, and how I can control my piece of the world and influence positivity. How can I help to bridge this large gap that I helped build along with the other millions of us? I will continue to be authentic and steadfast in my beliefs but will not use it to shut out the other side.
- Living in Future Tense. Planning is a way of life in the Harris household. Neither one of us are fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants people and we are always looking ahead. That’s not to say making plans and being intentional about life are a bad thing but in our current circumstance it has hindered us. Our life in New York has always been temporary with the plan to move back to our West Coast home. At some point, however, it felt as if we were biding our time. And when I say we I mean mostly me. Anxiously planning and awaiting the opportunity to start planning our move home. Z has been a great reminder for me as I have had a harder time settling into our life. He reminds me and recommits that we want to make a life here. If we’re just watching the months tick by and counting the days until we get to go back to the West Coast we won’t really be giving our opportunity here a chance. We took a lot of trips back west last year, Seattle in particular, and we got used to seeing those friends and family every couple of months. It meant a whole year went by without an official honeymoon like we had originally planned. We sacrificed vacation days we could have used to travel the East Coast as we intended. While those trips were mostly for weddings and well worth the time and money spent we cannot do the same this year. We need to invest in our life in New York just as we set out to do. I want to miss this place when we leave it, not relish in the joy that we finally get to leave. I want to bury this living in the future and pump the breaks to live presently. Grounded in our New York life and cherishing this once in a lifetime experience. It will be gone before we know it.
What I Want to Carry:
- Gratitude. We post about it on social media, we talk about its importance, but how often are we actually putting this into practice? I have learned and posed questions about ‘marriage’ this year and what does and doesn’t work for our marriage. One of the biggest things that we practiced this year which has become an integral part of our day to day is the act of being grateful. A simple ‘thank you’ goes such a long way. When Z has worked a long day and he comes home to a clean house, he acknowledges the work and says thank you. On date nights when we’ve just enjoyed an evening out, I share with Z how much I appreciate all his hard work to provide the ability to live in this amazing city and indulge in these experiences. Even something as simple as watching Sunday football together, he will thank me for creating our home and taking care of the things that make our life full. I may be overloading you with anecdotes but the point is I think we grossly underestimate how much our partners need to be appreciated and thanked. Out loud. Not carry it with us as an assumption that they “just know.” How good does it feel to hear that acknowledgment and gratefulness? Whether it’s a simple act or a grand gesture we all need and deserve affirmations for who we are and how we show up for each other.
- Spin & Yoga. One of the best roses that came from the garden of thorns of being unemployed was discovering an active lifestyle. I tried countless fitness studios and different workouts until I found the classes and teachers that felt like home. Nothing clears my mind and makes me feel as good as leaving a class sweaty and strong. SoulCycle & mang’Oh yoga have changed me in mind, body, and spirit and I can’t imagine my day to day life without them.
- The Lust to Wander. One of the most exciting parts of living on the East Coast is traveling to new places. It is remarkable how close these states are to one another and in a three-hour train ride you can cross over five states. Just thirty minutes north of Manhattan are forests and rivers that provide great relief from the concrete jungle. We dipped our toes into a few new places in 2016 and we’ve committed to seeing a handful of more cities and areas of New York this year. I can’t wait to see more of this beautiful coast.
- Team Harris. I don’t particularly agree with people who say things don’t change all that much from being engaged to married. Maybe it’s because Z and I made such a drastic change to our life with a cross-country move. I still believe that the stakes are higher once you call someone your husband, not just your boyfriend. My life is no longer about just my wants and needs. I have to consider Z’s needs sometimes even before my own. What I’ve come to learn over the past year, a big lesson taught by my husband, is that when one of us is making decision they are ultimately our decisions. Z is better at change than I am. That’s just a fact in our marriage. He is level-headed and makes choices with carefully thought out logic (excel spreadsheets!) and I wear my heart on my sleeve and make choices with my gut based on the way something makes me feel. Whenever he presents a new idea, like moving apartments for example, he knows I am going to be resistant. “The market has changed, we can save money, we will experience a new neighborhood, etc.” It’s not my idea of a good time. I love our home in Murray Hill. I immediately classify it as his idea. He is doing this to me. Pushing me into this idea. But after I let the dust settle on my reaction, I always realize the same thing. It is the best decision for us. Z has seamlessly been able to change his thinking about what he wants into what’s best for us. True, it is his idea but my husband to date has never proposed something that has only been for his benefit or because he wants to do it. I am always a large factor in his consideration. We are always at the forefront of his decision making. It’s not easy to admit when you’re partner is right, especially when you want to be right. But I am happy to carry this ideology that Z seems to have adapted to so well and patiently waits for me to realize. It’s not about what I want or what he wants. It’s about what we want and what’s best for our life together. It doesn’t mean we will always agree or see the other person’s side but it’s about remembering that neither of us are ever selfishly making decisions. I want to carry this faith of partnership with me into this year and all the years ahead of us. Thanks for the lesson, babe. Even as much as I detest some of your new ideas, I am proud to be on Team Harris.
What do you want to carry and bury into this year?
Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year. Your success and happiness lies in you. Resolve to keep happy, and your joy and you shall form an invincible host against difficulties. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Top of the Rock – 1.12.17