Keeping It Simple in 2014

simplethingsMost bloggers list their New Year’s resolutions — you know — at the start of the new year. But since most people are done with theirs by the end of January, I figured I’d start now and increase my odds of success.

Simply put, I want to simplify my life in 2014. I know, holy vagueness Batman, right? But something has been eating at me for awhile now. Something that just felt…off. I couldn’t put my finger on it for the longest time, but as usual my clarity came to me in the form of my children (isn’t that always the case?). Specifically Sam.

Sam had a touch of colic for the first few months. Colic is not fun — for anyone. One of the most frustrating parts about it is your baby, by all accounts, should be fine. Sam was fed, swaddled, and sporting a clean diaper but he just wouldn’t stop crying. It’s maddening because you’re doing everything you’re supposed to do, yet you feel like nothing is working and your efforts to fix the situation represent a string of failures.

You feel inadequate, guilty, sad, and confused. And all the while the crying is ever present, loudly reminding you that you’re doing it wrong. While everyone else is reveling in parental bliss (of course this isn’t the case but it’s what was in my head), you’re the jackass who can’t do anything right.

But while the cause of colic can’t be pinned down, my woes certainly can. I worry too much and I focus on all the things I don’t have.

I left journalism and switched careers in the middle of a recession and skyrocketing unemployment, and managed to gain new skills and a much-needed higher salary.  But all I can see are the raises I was too chickenshit to ask for and the zeros that aren’t in my paycheck. We were able to muddle through near financial ruin and got back on our feet and into a really nice duplex in a great part of town. But all I can see is the word “bankruptcy” and I’m haunted by the fact that I don’t have a house of my own for our two boys to grow up in. I got to drive a Ferrari in Las Vegas, go to Fenway Park for a Red Sox playoff game with my family, and interview Drew Brees all thanks to brands who are interested in working with me this year. But all I can focus on are the other dad bloggers who are better and more successful than I am.

I could go on but you get the picture. And that picture consists of me being a whiny little crybaby.

So my 2014 vow to myself is to quit bitching so much, remove a healthy portion of the negativity from my life, and focus on keeping it simple. The important stuff. To live in the moment — because when I open my eyes and really take stock, the moment is pretty freaking great.

Sam will be crawling, walking, and talking soon. In addition to watching him progress, I get to witness the evolution of brotherhood between him and Will. And Will is reading now, picking out words, reading some short books, and even using context clues to figure out the tough words. As a dad and a writer, that warms my heart in a way I can’t even describe. And then there’s my rock star wife, who has transitioned to the role of stay-at-home mom with deft skill and a passion I only wish I could muster.

And lastly, my family is healthy. Others haven’t been so lucky, and in the end I should just be grateful there are no hospitals, heartbreaking diagnoses, and searing loss with which to deal.

More time with the family, less time sweating the small stuff. The simple fixes really are best.

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lr_gripeJust like there’s a cure to my seemingly perpetual pessimism and negativity, parents dealing with a colicky baby also have a cure.

Little Remedies Gripe Water is an absolute life-saver for treating colic. A few drops of the herbal supplement made with ginger and fennel is a safe, gentle, gluten and alcohol-free formula that relieve the abdominal pain caused by colic, and even help kids sleep better. While Little Remedies did compensate me for this post, this is a product I’ve used personally and would recommend to any parent in similar circumstances.

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4 thoughts on “Keeping It Simple in 2014

  1. In a way this isn’t related … but maybe it is. Read ‘The Slight Edge,’ a self-help/business book recently and I think based on this post you might glean some inspirational items from it.

  2. Great post. So easy to relate. My favorite part was when you mentioned worry about other dad bloggers having more success, because I look at YOUR blog (among others) and I am amazed by the stats! lol I just remind myself it has only been 8 months in a new venture, though, and the reasons why I am truly doing the blog. I just think it is so, so easy in human nature to get captivated by our “have nots” and take the “haves” and blessings for granted. I wish you the best of luck with this outlook for 2014, and hope myself and others can follow in a similar way. As always, great stuff and thanks for sharing it.
    Mark McNulty recently posted..A Dad’s Letter to His Amazing Little Crawler…My Profile

  3. Might be the first time I’ve commented, Aaron, but just wanted to say I can get behind this message. Keeping it simple is one of the ways I want to live, even if I struggle to do so, and it’s one of the things I hope I can teach my daughter. ‘Cause if she can learn to keep things simple, it’s gonna give her a lot of flexibility later on to live the way she wants to.
    neal recently posted..My favorite posts of 2013My Profile

  4. Mark: Don’t sell yourself short. And also, you had a really nice picture on the wall at Dad 2.0. I wanted to take it home and give it to you but I couldn’t fit it in my bags.

    Neal: Thank you for the comment. You’d figure living simply would be more simple, right? But it’s a challenge — at least for me.
    Daddy Files recently posted..Keeping It Simple in 2014My Profile

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