2012 was a year of _______.
I’m not sure what kind of year it was, at the end. At any given point, I could have filled in a hundred different adjectives to describe it.
2012 was a year of travel. I visited the Philippines three times and India twice in the second half alone; saw a friend in Nepal; visited Mexico, South Korea, Hawaii, Phoenix, San Diego, Illinois, Ohio, Miami, Tahoe, LA x4. I racked up frequent flier miles and hotel nights, amazing experiences and longing for home.
2012 was a year of growth. I changed track in my current career a few times, gained responsibilities and made some hard decisions. I gained some amazing new friends and said goodbye to some old ones. I accepted responsibility in the form of a pet, Pearl, a kitten whose antics can be exasperating but whose presence is a gift.
2012 was a year of milestones. I moved from my basement “extremely cozy” apartment into a fresh new place just days ago – a place that’s expensive but full of light and shiny floors, a place to make a fresh start. I was of one of my best friends’ weddings, watching her start the next phase of her life. I watched as significant events happened in the lives of my family, friends and coworkers. Loves gained and loves lost, death and new life, endings and beginnings.
2012 was also a lost year. Feeling lost in the murky waters of futures and finances and where I want my life to go. Having my heart broken. Hurting. Feeling lonely. Questioning everything, especially myself. Lost.
I started to make a list of resolutions for 2013. In less than two minutes I had thirty. I’m including them here for amusement purposes, but I quickly realized that by making this list I was guaranteeing simply that nothing would change.
Never hit the snooze button again, stop swearing, run six days a week, run an ultra, break four hours in the marathon, compete in triathlons, lose ten pounds, stand up straighter, stop watching Netflix, get 8 hours of sleep a night, avoid all processed foods, cut out sugar completely, bike or run to work every day, save a bunch of money, fix my skin, stop drinking so frequently, stop eating out all the time, have dinner parties, wear heels more often, make new friends, fall in love, join new social circles, complete random acts of kindness every day, invest in a church community, make a 5-year plan, de-clutter my life, be more effective and efficient at work, re-master Portuguese, get more flexible, floss…
The best New Year’s resolutions I ever made were in 2009. I had just moved to Africa three months prior and was looking out on a seemingly endless two-year stint in the Peace Corps. I made three resolutions: to drink more water, to stand up straighter, and to wear sunscreen. Those resolutions helped me build habits for life – because they were simple.
The laundry list above – who knows if I would ever be able to accomplish those. Would they make my life better? Absolutely. Would they get me closer to the person that I want to be? Debatable.
Instead, my resolution for 2013 is a simple phrase, but a profoundly complicated thing to do.
In 2013, I need to let go of the things that hold me back from becoming the best version of me. Relationships that make me feel bad. Past loves that linger in the heart. Doubts and anxieties and fears that exist only in my own head.
I need to let go of the pressure I feel on me, related to career, romance, finances, friendships, appearance, accomplishments. Because most it comes only from me, and it is toxic. Stop thinking about where I *should* be, about where I rank in the file, about what others are evaluating.
I need to let go of the things in life that I wish I had and for whatever reason I don’t. To put my focus on the millions of blessings that have been stowed upon me without being distracted by the few things I don’t have.
I have spent so many years focusing on external things – accomplishments, awards, acknowledgements, checkboxes on the laundry list of life. In 2013, I want to grow into the best version of me. Or at least get on the right path.
That’s a lifelong process, but I feel like I’m on the verge, and perhaps feeling so lost in 2012 was just one step on my particular journey. But I see a new year, a blank page, and a fresh start ahead, and I’m ready to embrace 2013.