Happy New Year and welcome to a kinder 2017

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This is my new happy place – steaming cup of coffee, good book, some exceptional scenery.

Happy 2017 to absolutely everyone!

I don’t know about you, but this year couldn’t get here soon enough. 2016 seemed long. And somewhat … fraught. I mean, let’s all be serious for a second, no matter what your politics or ideologies, I think we can all agree that 2016 was a bit of a bitch, can’t we? World order seems to be remarkably unstable, which leaves me feeling itchy.

Personally, this past year has been a rough one for me, for no specific reason. Or rather, two very specific reasons. Had you heard that raising small people can be challenging? I thought I could handle it no problem, but some days, guys. I just grip my coffee cup as hard as I can and pray for the sweet release of … sleep, someday. I haven’t slept in months. It feels like. Both kids are amazing and awesome and healthy. But Little E started walking basically on her first birthday and I haven’t really had a spare second to myself since. Her capacity for mischief far outweighs her actual size, and I wouldn’t have her any other way. But to paraphrase every parent ever: I. Am. So. Tired.

Now that’s not to say that 2016 didn’t provide some absolutely wonderful news and I’d hate to think that anyone was forgetting about that. A big shout out to my adorable nephew who chose this year to come into the world. Also to new friend Finn Schulze Buttenshaw who began his journey this autumn. And to all the other babies born in 2016 – I want everyone to remember these awesome human beings who joined us this year. I would do 2016 all over again just for them.

One of my favourite things to do lately is to read all those lists about the GOOD things that came out of 2016, I’m sure most people have seen them, Facebook is rife with them. It’s pretty incredible. We might hear a lot of talk about hate and inequality, but when you look at how far humanity has come in the past 100 years, hell, even the past 20 years, I feel kind of proud. Let’s keep the momentum going in the right direction!

Two of the things on the list that really get me are the fact that the ozone layer is beginning to repair itself and acid rain is back to preindustrial levels. This reminds me of Grade Four and one of my favourite teachers of all time, Mlle. Pomerleau. She was very passionate and I will credit her with developing my social conscience. Her pet passion was the environment and it made a big impression on my nine-year-old self. Two major environmental issues at the time, I remember, were acid rain and the ozone layer. I was terrified that our world was going to be burned up from the inside as poison rained down on us (I was a bit iffy on the details). And now, with committed effort to make change, we’ve proven we can in fact Heal the World. Or at the very least allow the planet to heal herself. That is incredible. It gives me hope that we are not completely screwed yet. It will take a hell of a lot of concerted, consistent effort on all of our parts to continue to repair the damage we’ve created. Still, I see an amazing start.

And while I complain that 2016 was a difficult one, I really have no right to, because we are all healthy and happy here in Switzerland. We even got to spend some time in the French Alps over Christmas. X is rapidly becoming a champion skier, and even knows how to stop, which means he has now surpassed my skiing abilities.

Some of the things that I’ve been enjoying early on in this new year includes Yoga with Adriene’s Revolution month-long practice series. I have written about YWA before, and for anyone looking for an at-home yoga practice, it is perfect. Her instruction allows for all levels of practice and I genuinely enjoy waking up at the crack of dawn to strengthen and stretch my body. A part of that comes from the renewing energy we feel along with the new year, but I think it’s best to just ride that joy as long as you can. If new year means new you to you, then why not go for it?

I think the uglier side of that new year spirit is the body shame and guilt we feel after indulging over the holidays. I am super guilty of this. I’ve been complaining that I’ve put on some pounds (after my pants split while out with some friends – this isn’t just in my head, guys). And I had been indulging at the end of last year, it just seemed like the right thing to do. But now that the all you can eat party is over, it’s easy to sink into some self-loathing and try to punish yourself with fasts and cleanses, as if that’s going to solve any problems. I have gone through this cycle so many times in my life and am trying to find my way out. So this year there is no punishment, no self-hatred. Just acknowledgment that I’m not quite where I want to be at right now and to remedy that with healthy eating and exercise, all with great respect for myself. I just read an excellent blog post by Zucchini and Chocolate’s Clotilde Dusoulier about what to do instead of a detox this year. It was very positive and made me incredibly happy. She’s my favourite food writer, by the way: Dusoulier has a way of making french cuisine both healthy and obtainable.

This was meant to be a quick happy new year blog and it’s gone on quite long enough. I just wanted to wish everyone a wonderful new year and I hope that people are entering into it with an optimistic attitude. There is a great video out there on the internets by Anna Akana that I adore, it’s sweet and uplifting and totally worth a look. Can you imagine if we all tried to outkind each other, how fucking great the world would be? I will leave you on that note. Let’s all practice a little more love and kindness this year!

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