“But I have no ambitions,” she said.

“Happy New year!” The text from my sister read. Exploding balloons and streamer emojis flew across the screen, reminding me that phones have come such a long way. 

I messaged back. “2022? I can barely believe it.” 

I mean, it did just feel like we were waiting for 1999 to roll into 2000. I remember sitting in the basement of my childhood home holding a box of cereal on New Year’s Eve, so I’d be prepared if Y2K actually went sideways. Spoiler alert, it didn’t. Everything was fine, and yes I ate the cereal out of the box top with my bare hand and a side of celebration.

This past week my husband asked me, “What are your ambitions for this new year?” 

“I have no ambitions…” was my immediate response. 

At that moment my only ambition was to put the clean socks I was holding into the dresser drawer in front of me.

He laughed, then I laughed, and that’s when I actually knew what my first ambition was.

1. Laugh more.

To be honest, this past year has been more of survival mode than considering what my ambitions are mode. Ironically though, in the midst of cancer treatment last year I read Dream Big, by Bob Goff. 

“Know what you want, why you want it, and what you’re going to do about it” it said on the front cover. I remember being radioactive and quarantined as I held the bright yellow book in my hands. Never was there a funnier time to read it, OR maybe, never was there a better time to read it… 

Ok Bob, I’m in. Let’s analyze that first ambition of mine.

What do I want? To laugh more. Like the big deep hearty belly laugh kind. 

Why do I want it? Because a pursuit of levity is good for my soul AND for those around me. 

What am I going to do about it? I’m going to carve out time and space to notice and enjoy the funny things… to purposefully experience the joy that IS absolutely intertwined with this life.

“That wasn’t so hard,” I said with motivation washing over me. I started scrawling the next one.

2. Keep learning stuff. We were reading a math storybook the other day. The main characters were Sir Cumference, Lady Di of Ameter, and their son Radius. I know… feel free to bask in that cleverness for a second, I did. We got to the part about how if you take the circumference of any circle and divide it by the diameter, the answer is always Pi (aka 3.14159…). “Wait, what?!” I exclaimed to my children. “I’m 38 years old, how did I never retain this fabulous piece of information?” My 7 year old had a big grin on his face as he answered, “Hey Mom, you’re even learning stuff!” 

3. Stare out the window and SEE. Be grateful and exclaim loudly over the colourful sunrise, the snow falling, the leaves changing… the cute older couple with the matching jackets that always hold hands to cross the street on their way to the pharmacy. It doesn’t always matter as much about what I’m seeing, as it does that I’m taking the time to see. 

4. Work on a new skill, and resurrect an old one. I walk past a mandolin, a ukulele, a guitar, and a piano multiple times a day. What if I could occasionally pause and give them some well deserved attention? Music, and flexing the old creativity muscle feeds my soul in the same way laughing does. As far as the new skill goes, I’m ambitiously trying to learn how to draw better. What if I could add a few sketches to my sentences now and again…

5. Keep slowing down. These past few years have been a mandatory slow down, but it turns out that it has been really healthy for me, physically, spiritually, and mentally. It’s a space I’ve entered that I don’t wish to ever again exit. I think that living slowly in this fast paced world is a discipline, and this year I intend to just keep building on what I’ve already learned.

6. Be more gracious. With my kids, myself, and others. When someone drops the jam toast facedown on the way to the table, complains about chores, or argues, I want to respond with patience. When I’m tired and depleted, especially then, may I learn to give grace – to listen first, speak less, apologize when I need to, and then encourage us all to ‘try again’.  

A few days later I scribbled down a few more. 

7. Read more books, on my own, and WITH my kids. (Thanks to The Read Aloud Family)
8. Get more organized
9. Be more decisive.
10. Write something EVERY SINGLE DAY. 
11. Exercise EVERY SINGLE DAY.
12. Expand my vocabulary.
13. Explore new places with my family.
14. Try new things.
15. Eat even more vegetables.
16. Say YES more often.
17. Hug my middle schoolers every day. 
18. Encourage others often.
19. Build the relationships in my life.
20. Be kind.
21. Be grateful.
22. Love well.
23. Pray about everything. 
24. Follow God all my days, while teaching my kids to do the same.

Bob summed it up pretty nicely on page 33 like this. 

“If you’re like me, (YES SIR, I AM!!) you want love, joy, happiness, meaning, purpose, and a more courageous faith. (YES SIR, I DO!!) The trick to finding these things is discovering what ambitions you already have that will lead to them.” – Bob Goff (Dream Big)

I told you he’d sum it up nicely. Also, while we’re at it, here’s another one…

25. Start a little notebook with some of my favourite author quotes. 

“Ambitions…” I mumbled as I tapped my pencil on the paper. I know what they are now, but why do I want them?

Because all of the ambitions on this list will help me become a better version of me, a better follower of Jesus, and a better wife/mother/sister/daughter/friend. That is what I want. Also, that’s a gift of a label that’s been put on my life.

Now what am I going to do about it?

And with one final stroke of my pencil… at least for now, I simply wrote, START TODAY.

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