Joni Kurylo: Best Year Yet!

September through December typically are the busiest months of the year for me. During this time, I facilitate an Adopt-A-Family event for a local community center. In the last four years, over 160, 180, 220 (x2) kids have been supported to experience the joy of the holidays. Through the community center, their parents are working to build their lives through job readiness programs, obtaining their GED and working toward financial independence.

The first couple of years I participated in the program, I worked with my individual work group and we adopted 7 then 32 children respectively. Then, I graduated to facilitating the program for the entire organization here in Wilmington, DE. My daughter was 4 the first time I participated in this event. Her Mommom (my mother) had just passed away from breast cancer and I was looking for a way to beat back the loneliness and sadness I felt having lost my mother. Asking myself, ‘what would mom do?’ I decided to give back. 

Flash forward to 2018. In the last six years, volunteering has become a source of comfort and passion. Through opportunities provided by my job, I have volunteered for many different organizations. My daughter is now 10. She understands giving back (through volunteering and charitable giving) is mommy’s way of paying homage to her Mommom.  She also knows mommy works hard and all this work she does (among other things) is challenging.   

At about 10:30 PM on Friday night December 14, my daughter watched as I struggled working late. That week, I worked my job, completed a meals on wheels delivery, assisted with coaching basketball for 4 hours along with making sure my daughter got to her piano lesson, guitar lesson and completed her school project. I also wrapped up the Adopt a Family drive. She asked, ‘Mom, when are you going to sit down and get some of this good couch/TV time?’ All I kept saying was, ‘In a minute baby, in a minute baby.’ I was looking at the screen but the words were running together…I could hardly see. She walked away and then came back with her phone and said, ‘Mom, you’re a dragon, you will survive it. You have the golden glow.’ She then proceeded to play ‘You are the Last Dragon (The Power of the Glow)’ on her phone. 

After laughing hysterically, watching her bust a move for what seemed like 10 minutes (some how she found the extended version), I hugged my little motivator and finished up my work so I could sit myself on the couch.  I was tired and had a busy weekend ahead. I thought about 2019 and how I would probably be busier than ever before. I thought about how my daughter is watching me and learning from the things I do. I can’t continue to take on things, struggle and then expect her to see the good in what I am doing. I know my mother would not be proud if I ran myself into the ground taking on too much and not taking care of myself. 

Sooooo without further ado, here is my #GoGetIt plan for living my best life in 2019. The inspiration for the plan was the song my daughter used to help pick me up when I was struggling. When I am down, I use music to help lift my spirits. I am grateful my daughter inherited her love for music because I inherited it from my mom. In the words of my daughter, ‘There is nothing that can’t be fixed with music.’ 

Hold your head up high. We all have struggles, fights and challenges. 

1. I struggle with a lot of ‘fights’ (weight, self-discipline and time management) but one thing I know for certain is I can do everything I want to accomplish if I work smarter and not harder. So this part of the plan includes small changes I can implement making life easier for me, my daughter and hopefully not give my husband heartburn..LOL

a.       Wake up at 4 AM. I know this works. My overall well-being is best when I am not rushing around like a mad woman trying to get stuff done

b.       Go to bed by 9 (stop burning the candle at both ends)

c.       Pack my lunch the night before. I am Vegan…I know better not to leave the house without something to eat. Plus, it will save me money…

d.       Schedule ‘me time’ and make specific/measurable plans for the projects I want to do. I do well flying by the seat of my pants but I do great when I have a plan and I stick to it

e.       Learn when not to say ‘I can do it myself’ Sure there are a lot of things I can learn to do on YouTube and the Internet. However, I also know me and power tools end up being a trip to the hospital. I must save and protect          myself…I ain’t no spring chicken anymore

Spread your wings and fly

2.  I have a good network of support related to volunteering and philanthropic pursuits. It is time to start reaching out and connecting with individuals in different sites and states to merge some of our volunteerism/philanthropic efforts on a more meaningful level.  

Use the power in you (The Glow)

3.  When I am down to nothing, God is up to something. I need to listen to that inner voice and learn when to say when.

Like the seasons, people come and go.

4. Learn to see individuals for who and what they are. If they are not bringing positivity into the cypher, I have to let them fall off. If all someone wants to do is take from my cypher and not give, they must fall off. My thoughts and actions flow through me… I can’t control what others do but I can control how I react to it.

Become one with yourself

5.  Having been vegan now for a year and a half, this has become a lifestyle. Just like I don’t talk about the soap I use every day or the gas I put in my car, unless someone asks or it comes up, there is no need to talk about food all the time. I am getting on people’s nerves..LOL.  If someone else starts talking about it, I need to ‘shake it off’ like Mariah and ‘Laugh it off’ like the Tams.

6.  With regard to food, health and overall well-being, I will work to hit my weight goals in a very methodical way. I know what I can accomplish when I am dedicated to getting my weight down. I also know what makes me happy. Learning to find balance between self-discipline and being happy without adding any additional stress is key. Here are some simple goals I know work and are easy to implement back into my daily routine:

a.       I will endeavor to add a ‘Raw Food Week’ once a month. 

b.       Get 5 workouts a week of at least 40 minutes (strength/cardio)

c.       Drink plenty of water

d.       Get as much rest as I can

e.        Use my cycler while I am watching TV in the evening or the next point which I would much rather do…

f.        Participate in an activity in the evening that gets me up and moving, out and about, connected with the world around me

Make the plan. Visualize the plan. Remind yourself of your goals when needed…. 

Thank you, Megan and Theo, for inspiring this opportunity to reflect on what I want to achieve in 2019. The act of planning is something I do yearly and the plan translates to my vision board. I will be using what I have written here to redo my board for 2019. The interesting part is most of what is here is not ground breaking, anything new or anything I have not done before. However, getting back to basics and understanding the improvements I need to make to live my best life was a great exercise in self-awareness. 

Again, thank you! 

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