I had big plan for this year; a vision of starting a new decade with purpose and passion, and making shit happen in significant ways – no more talking about it, no more thinking about it, no more making plans. It was going to be the year I stopped standing in my own way. It was going to be my best year yet. 2019 ended upside-down, concluding a decade with some of my biggest victories and most significant lows, and once again I was face-to-face with another forced restart, attempting to process disappointment and loss while clinging to hopes and dreams I refused to retire.
I did everything “right”. New-year/New-decade goals were set with habits in place to make my dreams a reality, while loyally attended counseling to work through past hurt and gain a deeper understanding of myself, maintaining faith and courage that my life could be anything I manifest – that the hardships of my history were lessons necessary for transforming me into a more loving, thoughtful, and powerful version of myself. These were my goals:
- Career/Financial Growth: $10k+ per month, continue adding value and developing my professional purpose and passion.
- Write my first book: complete my first draft this year, with the goal to publish prior to my 40th birthday.
- Blog: publish often and continue developing my voice as a writer, telling my truths with bravery, facing my fear of judgement and transparency.
- Physical Health: run further & faster, increase strength, eat healthy to fuel my body, and continue healing from body shaming and eating disorder, stop fearing food and the scale.
- Mental/Emotional Health: self-love, self-forgiveness, deeper appreciation for my life, more purposeful parenting, daily meditation, live-in-the-moment, daily peace and gratitude, continue counseling.
- Love: be courageous with my heart, live and love authentically, and stay true to who I am instead of who I think I should be or what I think others expect.
Nearly everyone I know has a story of how this year has knocked them down, sent them for an unexpected ride, and delivered loss or disappointment. It’s been hard as hell for everyone. In the moments when my life has felt especially out-of-control and hopeless, I’ve done my best to focus on gratitude, which has often required emotional effort beyond comprehension, like desperately pulling myself out of the quicksand of fear, sadness and tears so that I can remind myself that even in this dark time there is so much to be thankful for. There is a regular battle between head and heart, logic and feeling, and it’s exhausting. When I’m thinking instead of feeling it’s easy to recognize that I’m not as far off track as my emotions want me to believe, and there are powerful lessons in these trials, unexpected and valuable growth, and so many blessings wrapped up in all this hardship. I’ve discovered that sadness and hope can coexist, that I can experience joy with the weight of worry in the back of my mind, that I can choose peace in seasons of uncertainty, that I can cry and laugh within minutes of one another, that there is beauty in slowing down, and that I can trust myself with matters of the heart.
Goals in review:
- Career: I’m currently unemployed as a result of the economic hardship created by this pandemic. While it comes with heaviness since I’m solely responsible for my family of 4, I have faith that this is an opportunity for bigger and better, and I often remind myself that I’ve been through much worse and I’m capable of navigating this challenge.
- Book: underway yet far from complete, progress significantly slowed by the massive lifestyle changes that came with working from home and having the children home full time for 6 months. Facing lots of self-doubt associated with sharing my story and not feeling “good enough” as a writer.
- Blog: continually diving deeper and sharing with more confidence, happy with the ongoing exercise of writing about whatever comes to mind in the moment.
- Physical Health: exceeding goals, no longer fearful of food, calories, or the scale, physically and mentally stronger, and loving my lifestyle built around fitness and health. Feeling proud, excited and motivated.
- Mental/Emotional Health: counseling continues to be valuable for navigating the day-to-day challenges while also healing past hurts, I have a deeper appreciation for myself, I’m setting new goals and trusting myself to continue growing and achieving, practicing meditation and daily gratitude, finding peace in uncertainty, and accepting the discomfort of limbo.
- Love: I took a leap of faith and as a result met someone wonderful, I’m giving of myself openly and recognizing when I’m tempted to pull-back or be guarded, discovering strength and comfort I’ve never know, living authentically and learning that transparency doesn’t mean weakness. It takes courage to open my heart but I have faith that the risk is worth taking because I’m confident I was made to care deeply for another and I’m unable to live the life I want on my own.
“I think if you focus on protection your heart you can avoid a lot of pain, but you can also end up living half a life”. – quote from Virgin River
Without perspective it’s easy to feel like my life is falling apart, I’m failing, and I’m impossibly off track. Thankfully we’re able to look at a situation, circumstance or problem from different angles, or I’d be in a really bad place without a light at the end of the tunnel. It’s scary to be unemployed. It’s frustrating to feel like I’m letting myself down and really far from accomplishing some of my goals. But this season in my life has brought the time and space for deeper self-awareness, the opportunity to make new friends, an open door for growth and possibility that I wasn’t brave enough to consider while busy and comfortable, and new experiences and goals that have required courage and faith that previous versions of myself couldn’t imagine, let alone embrace. There is the potential for beauty in trauma when we’re open to change, and while aspects of my life are scary and uncomfortable, I’m so thankful that there’s more to be grateful for than worried about right now. I have faith that the pieces currently out of place will find their way back together, and that when everything is in alignment again it’ll be better than ever because I’m a little stronger, wiser, and more appreciative than any previous version of myself. Growth is challenging, but holding yourself back will result in regret and unrealized potential, so I’m embracing change and looking for an optimistic perspective whenever my mind and heart aren’t in alignment. I’m also learning to accept that it’s okay to not be okay – sometimes my tears flow freely, fear takes over, and I’m so overwhelmed that breathing feels difficult – with kindness and self acceptance I gently move through the sorrow, feeling my feelings without judgement, and remind myself of present happiness and blessings within current and past difficulties. While this year hasn’t been anything like I envisioned, I’ve grown in ways I’ll appreciate for the rest of my life, and that knowledge helps center me in the moment and replace worry with peace.