I rang in 2017 with a box of Kleenex, a hot tea and a sore throat. Whatever the illness was (cold, flu, both) that took me down, partying was out of the question.
Throughout the week, sweet friends checked in and asked the common question one hears this time of year: Are you making any New Years resolutions? Anyone that knows me well, knows I love a fresh start and the opportunity to make a list. But I didn't share a color-coded inventory of all the things about myself I'd like to better in 2017.
Maybe it was the cold medicine talking, but I had a real moment of clarity this year (between sneezing fits). I'm not putting any energy into trying to reverse bad habits in 2017. Or, at the very least, I'm not framing it that way.
This year I want to, very simply, live my best life (phrase completely stolen from Oprah) the way that I already know I want to live it. Because it's the way I've successfully lived it in the past for brief bursts.
"A work-from-home immune system is no match for holiday party season" is the joke I tend to make during the holidays, when I'm sick and can't go to parties and family gatherings. But the truth is, around October, as every year comes to a close, I seem to forget to do the things I know I should be doing: slow down, take care of myself, eat healthfully, get enough sleep, exercise regularly and more. This usually leads to mental and physical burnout by the time fireworks light the night sky to celebrate the new year.
I don't use the word "should" lightly; I think it's a dangerous term that can lead to unrealistic expectations. But I'm 33 years old. I know what it feels like when I'm well-rested, full of energy and mentally in a good place. And at this point, I sure as heck know which habits equal "living her best life Adrienne" and which lead to "harried, maladjusted, questioning her life" Adrienne.
While many of my coworkers are getting serious about resolutions this month, I find myself flipping through my own past wise words (that have published on this very website). Words I've meant, that I've adopted successfully in the past, and that I have somewhere along the way completely forgotten (or ignored).
Below, find my favorite pieces of wisdom that I will be trying to re-remind myself about on the regular. And because something's not true unless you put it on the Internet, I'm sharing it with you because I think it's all good advice (but mostly to hold myself accountable).
"Don't let your small pleasures sit in dressers waiting for a 'special occasion!' Use your favorite things every day and you'll find yourself enjoying your home more and more."
From where I type, I can see a candle I was given two years ago I've never so much as lit even once because it smells so good. This flies counter to advice like "Use your stuff" that I've written about before.
"Get mindful and take a walk around your block and focus on your breathing or call out things you see to yourself as you walk around your neighborhood's streets."
As I ponder the fact that I haven't left my house in days despite living in the great city of New Orleans, I remember advice I've written about before (that could even help with my immune system): give yourself permission to walk away for a minute or 30.
"Work can be long and tough, as can running errands or corralling kiddos all day. The easiest and often most appealing option — for many of us — is to flop down in front of the TV and not think for awhile."
Related to above, yes I was sick a bit over the holidays, but I probably watched no less than six full series on Netflix as the year wound down. I point to this as a possible culprit of unhappiness and low energy: You choose vegging over exercise, connecting with people or other active options.
"You can simplify your life in lots of ways by doing what needs to be done when it needs to be done and not waiting for it to get worse."
As I type this, my apartment is pretty gross. Which is surprising, because I've totally figured out the perfect cleaning routine for myself. But, advice I've written about before gets to the heart of what I need to remember so that my home doesn't get out of hand to begin with: Do it now.
"Take yourself out of your own world for a minute to say hello to a partner, snuggle a sweet pet, or maybe even shoot a text message or email to someone to tell them good morning and wish them a great day."
Connecting with people was an important resolution I did last year, and one big way I kept it going was a trick that can be done in the morning.
"But if you do seek out more microadventures...you might find that you've felt like you've seen a lot more."
Perhaps most of all, when I think about when I'm happiest — when I feel most like myself and creative and full of energy — is when I'm seeking out adventures, big or small.
I guess you could say that my resolution in 2017 is following my own damn advice.