Reflections & Resolutions
It's basically mandatory to get all reflective over the past year as it begins to wind down to a close, isn't it? There's just something about one year ending and another starting that brings all those cliche metaphors to life in an almost palpable way (for me, at least, they all come flooding in!):
- One door closing as another opens
- Tying up loose ends before unraveling another part of your story
- Embarking on a new path with fresh tracks
- A blank page, pristine and unmarred, awaiting your narrative to be written upon it
- The juxtaposition of endings and beginnings; of leaving some things behind us that we are not meant to carry forward and knowing this is for our betterment, while eagerly awaiting with wide-eyed anticipation this next chapter that we hopewishpray will hold amazing things far exceeding our wildest dreams and anticipations.
I think that last point is what's really on my heart right now; the idea that we can hold two dichotomous forces within us at the same time, feeling the weight of them both as separate-yet-equals balancing within us in the last few days of a year. We are flooded with memories of the past 365 days and whatever they held for us, be it joys, sorrows, blessings, loss, heartache, triumphs, celebrations, or a sea of all of those that ebbed and flowed and sometimes seemed so overwhelming we wondered if we'd have the strength to stay afloat. I find myself sitting here trying to capture the essences of those milestone moments from this past year and piece them together into a chapter of my life that held so much significance and beauty and growth, and allow myself to really feel the weight of this past year and acknowledge how it changed me and what I learned about myself.
We can't always choose our circumstances or situations, but we can choose how we respond through them, and how we will allow them to influence us and change us. We can choose to sit with them -- the wonderful and the heartbreaking -- and find ourselves changed in the midst of it all, creating our own meanings out of everything we went through and deciding where they fit into our story. Because life doesn't just happen to us -- it truly is MY story, and YOUR story -- there's an ownership inherent in our life narratives if we will only empower ourselves to believe we are worthy enough and have a voice the world needs to hear. As you reflect on your year, I'd challenge you to sift through all the things and decide for yourself which you want to carry forward into this new year with you, tucked safely inside our skin like prized possessions, and which might need to be left behind. Some things we were never meant to carry for very long.
And coupled with this sense of reflection over the year past is this hope of newness; of the glorious unknown. I think the way we perceive something like entering a new year has a tremendous impact upon how things play out for us. We can choose to embrace it and pin our wildest hopes upon it, armed with the mental fortitude to dare believe we are capable of doing amazing things and empowering ourselves to take ownership of the days to come. I don't know about you, but that thought alone excites me, that I might fill these yet-unmarked days with dreams and activities and people and events and hard work and adventures that reflect the best parts of me and challenges me to push myself to new heights. Right now, standing at the precipice of this blank slate, the only thing I have is my perspective on it, and the hope for marvelous things ahead. I will cling to that and know that moment-to-moment, in my every day life, that really is the foundation of everything. Perspective is something we need to cultivate and choose intentionally. I don't want to be someone who's overwhelmed by life just happening to her or all around her. I want to be someone who feels empowered to make life happen.
I don't know about you, but just thinking about that is making me excited for all of the potential this coming year can hold!
So here's my advice to you as we approach the end of this year and the beginning of a new one; as you sit and reflect and dream and hope and feel the gravity of all of those emotions and expectations swirling around inside of you -- and it's the same advice I'm giving myself as well:
- Let yourself approach this year with high hopes and expectations.
- Keep an open heart and open mind. Be delightfully curious about what might be in store for you.
- Count your blessings. Not just at the end of a year, but every day. Stay grateful.
- Love well. Love hard. Don't be afraid to be vulnerable, for vulnerability creates such beautiful, raw opportunities for true connection and authenticity.
- Self care is SO important. Do something you love that's just for you as consistently as you can.
- Move as often as possible! Run. Walk. Yoga. Bike. Hike. Movement does wonders for the body, the mind, and the soul.
- Challenge yourself to grow. Read more. Sign up for that class. Try that new activity you keep waffling about that you know you want to try! Don't overthink it. Do it.
- Tend to yourself holistically: spiritually, emotionally, mentally, physically.
- Laugh. Because it makes everything better. Because taking yourself and others too seriously sucks all the fun out of life. Because relationships need it.
- Set a hard goal. Run a race. Write a book. Do a fitness challenge. Learn to play an instrument. Start that business. Do something that makes you appropriately nervous and equally excited.
- Choose to be someone who sees the good. THIS IS HUGE. Set a goal of less negativity, in all aspects of life - in both the way you talk to and think about yourself, and in how you talk about and think about others. Choose a positive perspective each day.
- Stop the comparison game. Be the best you you can be. That's all you need to be concerned about!
Wishing you every blessing and happiness and endless amounts of fun and laughter as you end this past year and embrace 2019!