I really like reflecting. I’m one of those people that makes resolutions, then will do a progress check at the end of the year (blame Teach For America for that). I also tend to create a charge for myself at each birthday. Look, I really like goal-setting, okay?
So, the new year is coming, which (as usual), has been an entire new opportunity for me to reflect on what, frankly, has been kind of a crazy year.
I honestly am a little mind-blown that we’re already here. It’s an old tenet that I have oft-written on here, but time has flown by so quickly since, well, leaving the classroom. Sometimes, I just want to dig my fingers into the the ground and try and slow the moment down so I can breathe for a second. Alas, until time travel exists (#oneday), the best I can do is take the quiet moments of my life to stop, pause, and look back for a moment.
Last year, I was hoping to…
- Find Forgiveness in Anger, and Joy in Pain
- Love Without Fear
- Fail Gloriously, Be Weak When Necessary
Honestly, the only one I can comfortably say I feel successful at is that I fail gloriously. Pretty often. That ALSO means, though, that I’m more willing to talk about it, grow from it, and laugh about it later. I’m also immensely blessed to be at a job that allows for me to, frankly, jump into the fire and see what happens.
In retrospect, I think I’ve made a lot of progress towards number 1. Given the circumstances, actually forgiving a few people in my life will likely be a life-long process. There’s this great moment, in The Descendants, where a character says to another, ”I have to forgive you. Even though I want to hate you." Is the forgiveness I’ve found without selfishness of needing to forgive someone for my own sake? Nope. But it’s a process.
Then there’s 2. Oh Love. You know what “Loving Without Fear” was all about? It was about “hey-I’m-in-over-my-head-relationship-wise-but-let’s-make-this-work!”. I certainly tried (in my own way) to live this out, but frankly, I think it was misplaced intentions. That’s what happen when you don’t give yourself enough time to think through these things.
You know what I will say? I think the three places I succeeded in this were loving myself a little more (OH, THE CLICHE. IT BURNS SO BRIGHTLY IT STINGS), consistently having a generosity of spirit about other people’s intentions, and at the end of the year, loving my Creator a little more completely (but more on that later).
So, here we are on the cusp of a new year. I’m 25 now, and like I wrote on my birthday, I think my big win of the year is that, for one of the first times in my life, I’m really and truly happy atmy job. I love the organization I work for, and my career-path feels clearer because of it. Considering the amount we read about twentysomething career-discontent, I’m pretty lucky to have found that.
Let’s get down to business. Here’s what I’m challenging myself to do in 2013:
- Seek God, Learn Spiritually, Live Blessed. On Gaudete Sunday, I went to mass on my own for the first time since moving to the islands. I won’t get into details here (though, if you’d like to know more, you’re always welcome to ask), but I had a pretty deep spiritual revelation and experience that morning. Since then, I’ve been reading a ton, praying daily, and having some awesome conversations. After some wandering and trying other schools of thought, I think I’m finally ready to recommit myself to God in the way I always felt was right for me, but never felt strong or impassioned enough to do.
This means, for me, a recommitment to relationship with God, and finding a faith community that helps me do so. It also means living my life in a way that best serves that relationship (including consistently exuding love and grace, being a better friend, etc.). Finally, it means making a conscious effort to surround myself with people who somehow serve my relationship with God. I don’t necessarily mean people who are religious. Basically, I just want to make sure I’m living this key tenet as much as possible.
I’ll likely write about this more in-depth at some point, but I do want to note that this has not changed my beliefs on social policy (for example, LGBTQ rights) or acceptance of other people’s religions/beliefs. At this point, this is an internal and intensely personal journey.
- Narrow Your Focus to Find Expansiveness. I have a horrible tendency to get so swept up in the big-picture-long-term of projects (or my life) that I’ll begin to multi-task. This leads me to not finish the things I start. That’s not awesome.
Boyle in Tattoos on the Heart urges us to narrow our focus on Christ to gain entry to the vast expansiveness of God’s love (pgs 31-32). I think this mindset can apply to other aspects of our lives as well. If we narrow our focus on who or what is before us, we open ourselves up to the vast expansiveness in that experience that actually exists.
I am in a job that asks me to do the things I struggle with (being crazy-detail-oriented, etc) on the daily. This is a HUGE opportunity to learn how to focus on the task at hand, finish what I start, and marinate in the lessons and blessings that provides me for that big-picture-long-term.
- Find The Courage of Your Convictions. I swear, I’m not trying to cop out by using my charge for 25. I just think, for the sake of streamlining and actually DOING these things, it makes sense for me to only focus on the things that feel super important. This is one of them. It’s time to stop being afraid to speak up when I think it’s necessary.
There you have it. There are some other small things too: hopefully (doctor’s-fingers-crossed) complete my fifth marathon (at any pace), get my RYT 200 Yoga Teaching certification (eep!), work my butt off to get back into pre-accident shape, and travel as much as possible.
So, 2013: Game. On.