My resolution last year was to find more margin in my life. You can read the intention here.
I really think I made good progress on this. I proved it when I got a last minute invitation to go to Guadeloupe with our older daughter, I was able to drop everything and say yes.
My work hours have improved and I’ve educated clients to try to get their calls in between 8am and 9pm, unless it is an emergency (and not being able to sleep doesn’t count as one!). This has led me to get more regular sleep, which contributes to a sense of margin.
The “Margin” resolution manifested itself in some little ways that contributed to a change of general feeling. For example, walking or driving, I tried not to always be on the phone or listening to something. My airways didn’t always need to be filled! I didn’t always layer activities, which made me feel more present. I also realized I don’t always need an opinion on something, and believe me, skipping that brings you a lot of margin! I was also very careful to spend less and waste less, which gives margin in a different way. My screen time was down; I play zero phone games, but my social media time was less and more targeted, and our Netflix series/ movie time averaged a mere two evenings a month. Additionally, I donated 15 boxes of books and my six foot record collection this past year, which literally gave me more room to live in.
In February, I wrote a post about decision-making, where I shared what I’d been learning about what to say no to, and what to say yes to. This has been one of the most important lessons for me in finding more margin this past year. Because of that enlightenment, for example, we’ve been having a very uncomplicated holiday season, which has been wonderful.
What am I doing with all the margin that I’ve gained (other than sleeping)? Besides going to Guadeloupe, I got to Maine three times this past year, which was great. I had time to feed and nurture lots of guests last summer. I’ve found time to walk and read some huge books. I’ve taken up art journaling with a vengeance and started a tremulous sketchbook practice as well, which both focus on experience and discovery, rather than emphasize production. My serious painting time has been more satisfying to me and more successful too, as I got into my first two important international shows this year.
Did I get enough quiet time? No, maybe there is never enough of that; I always seem to crave more, but find it must be balanced with action and time with people.
In the spirit of margin this past year, I only met one of the goals listed in this post: a great year in my spiritual practice. All those other goals got deferred, so we’ll see if they’ll happen next year. Instead of setting up that pottery studio last summer, for example, I spent time on our porch watching the butterflies with our daughter, or swimming at the quarry with her, floating together in the deep end, at eye level with languidly undulating, green reflections. No regrets!
The trick with this margin resolution will be to see if I can keep feeling and defending sufficient breathing space, when I don’t defer everything else!
How did you do on your resolution this year?
Well done Polly, with all you have achieved so far!
I feel that I have been more able to be present in the moment, putting extraneous thing aside. This is important when playing with the grandchildren! Prioritising has helped and I am mindful of your advice to do the thing one doesn’t want to do first, which enables one to cross it off the “to do” list! That is very freeing!
I am managing to make time for the things I enjoy doing, another one of your good ideas I believe, theatre trips and gallery visits, seeing friends and family members, spiritual growth and learning.
Thank you for all the things you share with us.
You have some great ideas on creating margin. I have also been trying to be more intentional in how I use my time too, being OK with saying no to things I don’t really want to do. Thanks for your inspiration.
[…] As discussed here, last year’s resolution (Margin) was both one I wanted the result of doing, but it was fun in the doing as well. With this year’s, I really want the result; it is needed, but the doing of it will require more of a cajoling of myself to bring to pass. The one word that sums up the intention to be encouraged in coming year is: tech. […]