Seeking Adventure This New Year :: 3 Promises to My Children

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It’s January now, which means it’s time to evaluate our lives and decide what words we’ll use to ascribe meaning to our year. It’s time to determine what resolutions we’ll make — and then break a few months/weeks/days later.

Last year, I made an elaborate list of 34 things I wanted to accomplish before I turned 35.  In a year, I accomplished 17 out of 34 — not a passing grade, but more than I would have accomplished otherwise. It was helpful to have goals and to have something to work toward. This year, I’m following suit by avoiding resolutions and aiming for practical adventures (mostly, the 17 things that I didn’t accomplish last year!). And having a dance party with my girlfriends is getting added to the top of the list.

As I think about parenting, I want adventure to be part of that as well. My favorite memories with my kids are the ones where we are throwing caution to the wind and doing something wild, out of the ordinary, or totally unplugged. In order to make adventure happen more often, these are the promises I’m making to my kids this year:

I promise (to try) to be present… and not plugged in.

We rarely have fun adventures when I’m staring at my phone, handling work emails, or planning the perfect Instagram-worthy adventure. We can make an adventure out of anything when I am simply (fully) present with my children. Some of my best memories from this last year are the 15 minutes I took every Friday to play train tracks with my middle son and live in his imaginary world with him, rather than rushing past. Adventure doesn’t have to be elaborate or preplanned — it just needs to be together.

I promise (to try) to be patient… and not (too) punctual or overprogrammed.

If you asked my children what phrase mommy uses the most often, they might say, “Come on!” or, “Hurry up!” Ninety percent of our days are spent rushing between activities. As a result, both my kids and I end up in similar emotional states — frustrated and tired. When I relax and stop rushing, yes, we are often late, but we end up having much more enjoyable days. When we do one fun thing, rather than 20, my children enjoy the adventure far more — and honestly, so do I.

I promise (to try) to be practical… and not practically perfect.

We are in the process of trying to plan our spring break adventures right now. Honestly, there are just too many options. Sometimes the enemy of a good adventure is the thought that the “perfect” adventure is out there somewhere. Or I get so distracted by my kids’ unruliness that I fail to enjoy the adventures we do have. Practically speaking, noise, energy, and chaos are going to be part of any adventure. The sooner I accept our reality, the faster we will be able to enjoy some really fun (crazy!) adventures.

And when all else fails and I break these promises next week, the best promise I can make my children is that I will apologize and we’ll keep working on it together.

What adventures do you have planned for 2020? How are you preparing yourself?