Commitments: Make The Next Half Even Better (and Longer)


I am 38 years old with two adorable kids and a wonderful husband.  2 working parents with travel schedules, building a new house, trying to be involved in our community, and trying to be great parents.  Living life in a place I love, with the people that I love.  Pretty much the luckiest woman around.  You could also read this as overly busy but trying to have it all.

For the last few weeks, as I have been working on planning for my husbands 40th birthday which is coming this fall, I have been coming to grips with how short life seems.  I know that this may sound melodramatic.  What hit me in talking with Jon about turning 40, is that mathmatically, given the average life expectancy, we are about half way through our life (or a little past that).  This can either scare me or make me celebrate what lies ahead.  What it actually has caused me to do, as I start thinking about it, is to wonder if it is true.  We have a number of family friends or relatives that are dealing with serious cancer, and I have a coworker who is 48 who has recently been diagnosed with Stage 2 ovarian cancer.  All of it is shocking, and sad.  In particular those who are so young, and haven’t lived the life that they have claimed to have wanted.  It is a morbid thought, but my worry-meter has been rising.  This worry was capped off this week when I attended the “Go Red for Women” luncheon hosted by the American Heart Association.  One of the speakers was a 38 year old mother of two boys who had a major heart incident at the age of 31.  Yikes!  A little too close to home.

But, the worst thing I can do is to worry.  Worry fills my head and my time with ideas and thoughts that have no fruit. So yesterday, as I sat writing this at the salon while getting my nails done during “girls day out” with my lovely Katharine, I have a renewed commitment to enjoying the moments of my life (even the stressful and busy ones).  A commitment to making choices in my life and our families life (our food, our exercise, our habits) that create a long healthy life together.  And, a commitment to make what I hope is a longer second half of my life even better than the first.

Our Parenting Philosophy

The other day one of my friends asked me about our parenting philosophy, and why our kids are so well adjusted.  I was flattered, and didn’t quite know what to say.  I don’t think that Jon or I have ever explicitly spoken about our parenting philosophy.  Is that strange?  Maybe others of you out there have a philosophy, or a way you do things.  We feel so often that we are just learning as we go, and our kids are a part of that journey with us.

After the moment, I reflected on this, the more I believe that we probably, although unplanned, do have a parenting philosophy.  We talk with our kids about a few things consistently that I hope are lessons that they could keep in their life for a long time:  1)  being healthy and happy; and 2) making good choices.

1.  Helping our kids be healthy.  One of the most important things that Jon and I want to teach our kids is about making healthy choices.  We tell them often about the choices we are making (at least the good ones!), and how they make us “healthy and happy.”  Most notably, this is how we talk about going to the gym, heading on a bike ride, eating salads and getting good sleep.  I am hopeful that by them hearing and seeing these things from us, they will pick them up in their life.  I had a proud parental moment last week when Katharine was telling me that she shared a few of her favorite things with her teacher Miss Cournti….going to the gym, skiing and biking.  Win!!!  I can only hope that this continues.

2.  Helping our kids be happy.  In reflecting on this one, I think the way that we are helping our kids learn to be happy is by showing them how.  This is not to say life is happy-go-lucky in every moment, but I am hopeful by celebrating what is happy, they will see so many ways that they can make their own life this way.

3.  Helping our kids make good choices.  If there is one thing that I have learned as a marketing professional, it is that language is everything.  Early on with our kids, Jon and I decided to use the language of “choices” within our parenting.  If something goes wrong, a tantrum, one of them hitting the other, we talk to them about how that isn’t a “good choice.”  I love what these words stand for.  We all make choices about how to act and live our life, and those choices have consequences both good and bad.  By helping our kids to understand this early, we hope that they can learn to be in charge of their own destiny.

Sounds prettty philosophical to me!

Resolutions: Making Them Happen

Last year was the first year that I set a new years resolution that I kept.  I always viewed resolutions as cheesy, things made to be broken, or just a waste of time.  In December of 2013, as the new year approached, I felt like I was coming into a year of renewal.  With Matthew just over 18 months old and personally being one year post shoulder surgery, I sat reflective of how difficult the last year had been.  I had a heavy year at work, Jon and I were raising two adorable yet time intensive little ones, and I had dedicated almost all of my free time to recovering from my surgery.  It felt like I was just hanging on.

I decided that the upcoming new year was a time for a change, time to dedicate more of my free time to myself, and time to regain my love of exercising and feeling better about my health.  It took me a few weeks to overcome my historical bias against New Year’s resolutions, but ultimately I decided to take the leap.  I resolved to workout half of the days in 2014, 183 days to be exact.  At the time, it seemed unachievable as exercise wasn’t a part of my routine.  I didn’t have a plan other than to try to workout 3-4 times a week, and to hold myself accountable each month as versus just the annual goal.  One of the most game changing decisions was to report my status on the resolution once per month on Facebook…nothing like a social announcement to hold you accountable.

And, I made it.  On December 31, 2014, I worked out in the morning to complete my 183rd day for the year.  There were moments of stress, pressure, but most of all accomplishment.  Ironically, I spend most of my professional life setting goals for myself at work, and planning what it takes to get achieve these goals, yet meeting this goal was one of my sweetest accomplishments in a long time.  This is because I not only met the goal, but I learned to love being healthy and working out again.  Better than that, my kids learned that working out is a part of what their mom does.  And today, January 7, 2015, after a week of no exercise and some well deserved rest, I want to keep going.

To resolve means a lot of things, but one is to make a definite and serious decision to do something.  In hindsight, I am a woman who resolves a lot.  My historical baggage on the New Year’s resolution is gone.  January provides a wonderful time to look at what I need in my life, and set the goals I have for the year ahead and make them happen.