16 Gifts for 2016

It is January – a month where a tangible pressure has mounted because everything around you is screaming “new year, new you.”  Why is it we buy into the need for resolutions and thinking we need to change something about ourselves to be better, happier or more capable; and that it has to be before the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve?  We allow ourselves to feel inadequate if we do not make a resolution or do not buy a new calendar and have our whole year mapped out with fancy colored pens and stickers.

I challenge you to get rid of that mindset and decide to be a better, happier and more capable version of yourself each and every day.  Wake up every day and make choices that contribute to you being the best version of yourself.  I do not want you to wait or feel unnecessary pressure.  When something presents itself and feels right, it is.  When you decide you want something, go for it!  It should not matter what time of the year it is or that everyone seems to be doing it.

I treat January differently.  It is my birthday month and I look at it as a time to decide on one thing that I want to be my focus for my personal new year.  This is just about me and for the gift of turning a year older (and hopefully wiser); about how I want to expand and grow myself.  I pick one word that captures my feelings and goals and it becomes my focus for the year.  It is simple, clear, concise and completely doable.  It isn’t about everyone else or the idea of what I should be doing.  It is just for me.

My word for 2016 is LOVE.  LOVE is my acronym for:  Love, Opportunity, Value and Enlightenment.  Love is at the core of all of those things for me and is really what I want to focus on for myself this year.  I decided to go a step further and choose 16 gifts that I will give to myself during my glorious 39th year of life.  I recently was given the challenge of making a list of 100 things I love, to see how many of them I actually indulge in or make a priority in my life.  From that list is where I drew the inspiration for my 16 gifts.

#1.  Love of myself – I love myself enough to gift the setting free all of “takers” in my life.  Anyone who more often than not is draining to my mental, emotional or physical energy will be sent packing.  Life is a balance of deposits and withdrawals.  “Takers” continually withdrawal and leave no deposits.  I no longer will give them a space to withdraw and deplete my energy.

#2.  Love of writing – Expressing myself through writing is something I love but never set time aside to do unless for a purpose.  This year I will gift myself a dedicated minimum of 20 minutes 4 times a week to just free write.

#3.  Love of human connections – We all have those people that we want to connect with and say we will; and next thing you know it is months or years later and you still have not connected. I am done with that.  I will gift myself the time once a month to connect with at least one person that is not a part of my daily living.  I may see if a neighbor wants to grab a coffee since we only chat when we have to, or I may call that friend I have wanted to see for years and actually set a lunch date or Skype chat.  Whatever the interaction is, it will be about connecting and being present.

#4.  Love of inner peace – I meditate and do my yoga stretches at home but I crave more and do not make the time.  I will gift myself an actual class to be committed to relish in the mind, body and spirit connection.

#5.  Love of happy mail – Spreading joy and smiles through the mail and keeping the written word alive is something I feel passionate about.  I am gifting myself the time to sit down and send a card to a new person each month.  It will have to be someone I have never sent a card to before.

#6.  Love of cooking – I enjoy cooking but have become predictable in my dishes for the family.  I will be gifting myself the ingredients for a new dish once a month.  The goal is to do a bit of traveling through the meals I cook…wish me luck!

#7.  Love of a happy home – Once a week I will gift myself time to check off some items on my Happy Home List.  Even if it is a small task I get completed, it will be one more step to getting things done.

#8.  Love of tea – I am gifting myself 10-15 minutes a day to sit with a cup of tea and just be.  I will be allowing myself to check out and sit quietly.

#9.  Love of photography – Photography is a hobby of mine that brings me such joy and peace.  I am gifting myself time, whether in a class or on my own, to explore my camera and all it has to offer.

#10.  Love of traveling – I am gifting our family one vacation to somewhere that is not one of our typical destinations.  I look forward to seeing how this gift unfolds.

#11.  Love of volunteering – I am gifting a volunteer experience to my family.  It will be something that all of us can participate in together.

#12.  Love of flowers – The gift of fresh flowers for the house 2 times a month.  Plain and simple – fresh flowers indulge my senses.

#13.  Love of choices – I am gifting myself permission to say “no” with no need to explain myself.

#14.  Love of the outdoors – I feel at peace in the outdoors.  I am gifting myself a few minutes each day to connect with the outdoors in a way that fulfills me – taking a walk, hanging with the chickens, gardening, walking the beach, sitting on the porch watching the birds, swinging on the swings…whatever my heart desires.

#15.  Love of learning – I am gifting myself the time to learn 16 fun facts about a new topic each month.  I am interested in so much and want to start exploring people, places and things that serves no other purpose than I felt like learning it.

#16.  Love of quality time – Quality time with my children is important to me.  As they get older and life happens, I want to make sure we continue to connect one on one.  I am gifting myself a scheduled “date” with each child individually.  We will rotate months and it will be something that we can look forward to and plan together.

Taralee is an educator, advocate, philanthropist and a published author. She has passionately contributed to the fields of special education and early childhood education since 1998, meeting her student’s and client’s needs in the home, school and community. She excels at recognizing each child’s unique gift and successfully ignites their love of learning through exploration, discovery and play. It is through this work that "Inspired Education" was born. As a philanthropist, Taralee served as the President and member of the Board of Trustees for the Southern Regional New Jersey Early Intervention Collaborative for 8 years.

 

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