2016 broke my heart and 2017 is going to heal it, folks. Not magically, by God sprinkling good happenings all over me but by my own decisions, actions and mindfulness moving into a new year. While last year was rough, I did learn a ton about myself. Emotional rock bottom does that to you right?!
So before going into a few resolutions for 2017, I want to reflect on some positives from 2016.
- I learned a simple, deeply moving, truth about myself that I will carry with me for the rest of my life: I can do hard things. I can do anything, even hard things. How much of our lives do we spend avoiding hard things? Think about this for a moment. We probably stay in awful jobs, toxic friendships, poor relationships, bad behaviors, negative thinking, addictions, etc because changing would be hard, really and truly hard. We, as humans, do so much to avoid pain, sadness, loneliness and the unknown. We go to great lengths to justify the bad in our lives so that we can avoid dealing with hard things that ultimately will lead us to a better life, all because we don’t realize how strong we really are. If no one has ever told you these words, let me be the first. You can do hard things. You are strong, you are never alone and you matter. You will be in pain but you will get through that pain by your own will and strength because you can do anything, even hard things. Don’t betray yourself another day by avoiding the hard things.
- Being a “people pleaser” is the worst way to live life. I learned this year that being consumed with the need to make everyone happy is just plain bullshit. I kid you not when I admit it took all 27 years of life for me to see this truth clearly. I have always had the mindset that doing what other people want is how you show them love. If you don’t know this about me personally then I am sure you know someone in your life that has this obnoxious way of thinking. They are the person that never speaks up for fear of making others unhappy, the person that doesn’t say “I want Mexican!” because you might want Italian and they want you to eat what you want or the person that wants to rent a movie after working all week but goes out every Friday night because they can’t say no to their friends or partner. If you are this person, STOP IT. Right now, today, this minute, STOP. Trying to please others is useless because half the time the person you’re pleasing has no idea you’re making an inner sacrifice and really doesn’t want you to anyways. You are the only loser in this lifestyle. Your relationships are sucking because you never address real issues, you’re getting fat off pasta (true living, in my opinion), you’re waking up with a lot of hangovers for no reason and you’re a walking ball of psycho anxiety wondering if everyone is living in harmony! You lose. You have to have a balance in life of being true to what you want, speaking up for yourself and going with the flow at times.
- God is love, love is God. Faith is needed to keep your heart afloat during tough times.
Now, for 2017, here are a few of my realistic resolutions.
- Be mindful. According to Mindful.Org, “We all have the innate ability to be present, composed, and to pause before we overreact to the challenges of our busy lives—and that’s the ground of mindfulness. With some guidance and training, mindfulness can develop into a way of living that brings greater focus and effectiveness as well as kindness and caring into everything we do. Both science and experience demonstrate how being mindful brings positive benefits for our health, happiness, work, and relationships.” Someone told me this year that when you’re crying it is because of something in the past or something in the future upsetting you and to calm down be mindful of simply breathing in and out. I have done this a few times when I am upset, worried, anxious or overwhelmed and it’s helped me. I hope to explore mindfulness more this year and other simple exercises to be more present in the moment.
- Take the GRE. Hey, this is a real and achievable goal! I want to take the GRE in the spring and apply for the MFA Creative Writing Program at ODU in the fall. I have a degree in science and I have a great career so why not go back to school and study the craft I love? I am young and nervous to apply, nervous to put in all that time and effort but more afraid that if I don’t try, I will forever regret it. First step: take and pass the GRE.
- Quit buying useless stuff. Along with mindfulness, I have been reading a lot about minimalism. While I don’t plan to sell all my worldly possessions, live from two pairs of jeans and three shirts and never watch Netflix again, I do see a lot of value in buying less shit. I spend a lot of money on clothes and while I love fashion, having so many things makes them less meaningful. I often find stuff in my closet with tags on it, never worn and now of no interest to me. About a month ago I stopped buying clothes and it feels good to enjoy what I already have. I cut my cable package too, I was paying $19.99 for HBO when I might watch Game of Thrones once every three months. I cancelled my monthly Sephora beauty box subscription (that was hard) and started taking my dogs to daycare once a week instead of twice. I want to continue this in 2017, I want to be mindful of how I spend my money and aware of the clutter that surrounds me. I don’t need anymore things.
- More sunrises and sunsets out in the world and not from my bed. This will always be on my resolution list.
I could go on but those are my thoughts as we end 2016 and move into 2017. I pray everyone has a beautiful new years and the best 2017!