Musings

Resolution Month 2: Relationships

Holding Hands Over Mountains by Gabriella Barouch Art on Etsy

Month 1 Recap: My resolution for January was bedtimes. I stuck with it!  Gold stars all around. Of course, there were a few exceptions for nights out and other festivities, but I’d say I had around a 90% success rate with the whole endeavour. 

It was interesting to see how long it took for my body to adjust to the change- probably almost a full week. Initially, I’d get into bed and just lie there for hours before falling asleep. It was incredibly frustrating, and I almost convinced myself that I was an incorrigible night owl and gave up on the whole thing. But, making sure I set my alarm for 7:30 am (allowing for an ~8 hr sleep) meant that I’d be awake for almost 16 hours during the day and after a few days of this I actually began to feel tired around 11, when I’d be going to bed. 

The most surprising part I discovered, was how nice it is to know when my day will end. This sounds kind of bizarre, but under my old schedule, I never quite knew when my day was over. If I sunk my teeth into a particularly engrossing project it wasn’t unusual for me to be up until 2 or 3 am. Under this new iron-fisted regime, however,  I know that after Olive goes to bed at 8-8:30, I have less than three hours to do everything that I need to do. If it doesn’t get done, I now have to set my alarm earlier instead of staying up later.

I’ll definitely be continuing this one.

OK! Now. February. February has Valentine’s Day smack dab in the middle, so I thought it appropriate to designate February as a month to focus on relationships. Here’s why:

My life is relationships and if you think about it, yours probably is, too. Families, partners, friends, kids – even the small-talking, arms-length relationships with the other moms at preschool drop-off or the borderline-cute beardy dude who makes your fancy mochas when you work at the coffee shop. Nothing makes me happier than spending an evening with good people, getting an email out of the blue from an old friend, or connecting with my sisters with letters or phone calls.

The people in my life have loved me, supported me, surprised me with little gifts when I’ve had bad days and made me laugh. I’ve been lucky enough to do the same for them, too. Most importantly, my friends and family have surrounded Olive with such a crush of love, affection, and entertainment that I think she’s one of the luckiest kids around.

This, this passel of wonderful people, is why I’ve always loved Valentine’s Day – despite the way it’s been co-opted (invented? Conspiracy theorists please weigh in) by a cartel of Hallmark card makers and florists. If we could all just drop our pitchforks for one goddamned minute we could grab shovels instead and dig deep enough to find that, at its core, Valentine’s day is a reminder to tell the people in our lives how much we love and appreciate them.

What’s wrong with that? Don’t we all need to be reminded to do that every so often? It doesn’t matter if you have a romantic partner or not, Valentine’s day is about love, in all its forms.

That’s why this Feb 14, Olive and I will be handing out homemade Valentine’s Day cards to strangers like we did last year and I’ll be also making it my February resolution to make sure I put extra effort into reaching out and connecting with as many of those good people in my life as I can. (And as an aside, if I know you in real life and I don’t make it all the way to you this February – don’t hate me, okay?? Please accept this preemptive apology and an imaginary bouquet of carnations.) 

All I’m talking about is little things: Letters, emails, phone calls – nothing extravagant. No champagne or diamonds. Just saying out loud all of the wonderful things that I usually think about a person but keep to myself. Why do we do that? Let’s shout these things from the rooftops! Not lame, generic, “You are beautiful!” sentiments either, but specifics. Things like,

“Hey, remember when I was kind of down that one time and I texted you to say that I was eating chips and dip in my car, and I asked you if I was trashy, and instead of saying YES immediately because it was obviously the only way to answer a ridiculous question like that, all you replied was ‘What kind of dip’?

Yeah. You are an amazing friend.”

I’d be so happy if some of you guys adopted this resolution, too and we could spread the love together. I’d be even happier if you joined Olive and me on our random acts of Valentine’s Day kindness spree! Be sure to let me know if you do, it’s one of the best things we ever did and you’ll never forget it.

Happy February!

 

7 Comments

  • Reply Kassey February 2, 2016 at 11:31 PM

    That’s a great idea for Valentine’s Day. I’m in!

    • Reply sweetmadeleine February 3, 2016 at 10:21 AM

      Yay! I can’t wait to hear about it!

  • Reply aneasyworld February 3, 2016 at 12:19 AM

    I’m with you on the bed times, although I am always dog tired by 9.30pm, so it’s not much of an effort to collapse into unconsciousness. I listen to podcasts to get to sleep, which always means that I am semi-well informed having usually fallen asleep for the second half, but going to sleep early does mean that it is now feasible for me to get up at 6am most mornings and make myself useful for an hour before the kids are up, which is such a luxury for me.
    I haven’t celebrated Valentine’s Day with my husband since we got together, although I do think it’s nice to be forced into romance occasionally. However I really, really like the idea of using it as a month to connect with the people that I love and send them a letter or even just a thoughtful text. That I can definitely achieve.
    PS. Have you started your Brene Brown course yet? I am really interested to hear about it and reading Rising Strong continues to have changed my life and how I manage boundaries months later.

    • Reply sweetmadeleine February 3, 2016 at 11:13 AM

      I’ve notice that the hour I’m awake solo, without Olive, is such a wonderful calm way to start my day. On the days where she gets up with me, I feel so much more scattered, like I’m constantly playing catch up.

      I have started the course! I’m on week three and I’m totally loving it. It’s really interesting because you read the chapter and then you have the course on that chapter – and actually being forced to do exercises about what you’re reading is so helpful in getting deeper into what she’s saying. I love it!

  • Reply Cookie February 3, 2016 at 7:49 AM

    We all need that kind of friend who ignores or supports our crazy, an dI am luck enough to have someone to simply pour the tequila and not judge me.
    As for bedtime…..this is probably the best resolution to make ever. If I don’t get to bed on time, I can’t sleep….I get overtired and then insomnia sets in. 11 pm for me every night….in bed with some mindless tv on for a few minutes and lights out by 11:30.

  • Reply Melissa February 3, 2016 at 11:09 AM

    I love this idea!! My daughter and I did random acts of kindness for the month of December and had an absolute blast. I think we will join you in this!! We handed out $2 Tim Hortins gift cards to random people at a mall and it was my favourite day!! Where do you guys go to hand out the cards??

  • Reply Resolutions Month 3: Cardio. FML. - Sweet Madeleine February 29, 2016 at 10:21 AM

    […] 1 recap here Month 2 recap: February was relationship month, and I’m somewhat disheartened to admit that […]

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