Starting 2015

Reader Contribution by Shawn Hosford
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In the past, we have shaped our New Year’s days by what seemed fitting that morning. Mark and I tend to plan some things, but for much of our vacation time, we normally just let things unfold. This vacation-mode flexibility could be due to Mark’s daily stress level as a small business owner, or maybe just our enjoyment shared in the spontaneity of what will turn up. Most likely, the relaxed nature of our New Year’s plans are owed to their position at the end of the winter holiday line-up, when we are all just very overfed and a little burnt out.

This year, we did something much different, thanks to Carly’s suggestion. On the first day of 2015, we took a day trip to the Washington Coast. The weather was picture perfect. The day with Carly and Mark was soul satisfying. The drive up the coastline, with all its silent grandeur, gave me pause to think about how much I have to be thankful for, including the magnificent place in which we live.

On the way to the beach, while Carly slept off the hours she had missed the night before, Mark and I listened to a podcast by Glynn Washington, called Snap Judgment. This particular segment was about gratitude. Washington started the podcast by saying that the action of sitting down and writing a gratitude list helps him to be mindful of how much he has, which further allows him to let go of life’s little insignificant irritants. His opening message served as a great reminder for me of how easily I can get wrapped up in the little stuff. I’d like to change that. The beginning of 2015 marks the end of my dwelling on 2014.

After walking two beaches, driving along 101, marveling at views of the ocean, lakes, and the rainforest; giving a stranger a ride to his mother’s; and enjoying a fun lunch with my family, I felt settled and lighter. Sometimes the comfort in the habitual routines Mark and I fall into mask the potential in setting a little daily intention. On our drive, I told Carly that I think she’s wonderful at setting an intention for her day. When she spends time with friends, or her friends from out of town come to visit, she always asks them how they’d like to spend their time together, what they’d like to do. She’s pretty clear about finding a constructive, fun way for them to fill their hours. When I told her how much I admired how she sets those intentions, she said, “Isn’t that what life is all about?” Sometimes she blows me away.

Thank goodness for her suggestion to take a road trip to the beach to mark our first day of 2015. I know that in many ways, I live very intentionally, but the inactivity of my “me and Mark time” needs some restoration. The habits that we have formed from a life of 33 years together are about to get some attention. In 2015, I look forward to shaking things up.

How much attention does your time off get? Do you need to shake up some habits in 2015? Does the first day of your New Year set the tone for your year?

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