Saturday, January 3, 2015

Are we still making resolutions?

2015... it still sounds a bit like a year that should be far, far away in the future to me instead of the year that has just begun. Yes, I feel a bit old just writing that out ... "When I was a kid back in the 70's and walked to school barefoot through 8 feet of snow uphill both ways..." ;-)  But really, 2015 - wow, just wow!

Another New Year is here, another opportunity to watch the great Facebook debate on whether or not people will make New Year's Resolutions. I find the posts rather entertaining to read, I'm amused by my friends who refuse to make resolutions (mostly how adamant they are not to!) and inspired by my friends who do, as I know almost each of them will hold true to the goals they've set.

I guess, for myself, I fall somewhere in the middle.  I just don't see them as resolutions but part of who I have become.

It's amazing how much we change with time, as we grow up and life happens. Life events change and shape us, even when we don't realize it. Who I am today is not who I was yesterday and certainly not who I was a week, a year or years prior.  While I was always told I was an "old soul" and grown up for my age - there is part of me that wishes that growing up I had more of who I am today inside of this mind of mine back then. I wish that for many of the years that have led up to today actually.  While I've done many great and incredible things in my past, I've made more than my share of mistakes there too. It is a little frustrating knowing that who I am today would have never made those same decisions and questions how the me of the past did. I've let many of those weigh me down and have decided it's time to let them go. Our mistakes shape us into the person we are now and while I wish I could have become who I am without making mistakes – that’s honestly an unrealistic expectation of anyone. And, well, I usually make at least one a day still - I just try to keep them small! I point out mistakes I make each day to my children, especially Allison – who, like her mom is incredibly hard on herself. I hope to show her that mistakes are how we learn and become better people. Yet while I've learned from my mistakes and they have helped shape me – I don’t believe it’s where my wisdom and life outlook has come from. That, my children get all of the credit for.

While I wish I could say I am resolving to never make another mistake that would be setting me up to fail before I even finish typing this blog. I’m entirely too realistic to make such a resolution.

The truth of the matter is if I were to make a resolution, it would be in line with the goal I have and remind myself of twice each day; when I wake up and again before I go to bed – I simply want to be a better person today than I was yesterday, or tomorrow than I have been today.

It’s not just about what I want to accomplish in life but much more about healing and becoming who I want to be on the inside. I believe this is part of our life purpose, at least it is mine, to discover in my heart who I truly am and become that person. It is, and should be, a lifelong journey of discovery filled with pride and surprise.

Each day I am reminded I only have one chance at this life, I never want to take that for granted. Every day that I have is an opportunity to make a difference, to be kinder, more compassionate, a better daughter, sister, friend and most important to me – a better mom. I have many fears in life including letting people down but it’s my children I fear letting down most of all. I want them to not only look back on their childhood as a time of wonderful memories and experiences but also a time of learning; understanding life lessons and the importance of living each moment. I guess, we could say, I resolve to improve upon being a better person each day this year.

I am, by nature, a “fixer” or “helper”. I pray that never changes about me. As I see the world around me through my eyes, I know there are people I can help and situations I can fix. I am not good about looking the other way or ignoring a situation that needs help. It gives me purpose each day and that is important to me.  At times it leads me to feel spread too thin but other times it’s energizing to me and I know there is so much more I can and want to do. I guess, we could say, I resolve to help more this year.

What may be most important this year is that I understand the need to take better care of me.  I tend to overlook that in my desire to save the world. At times, I over extend myself as an attempt to combat my depression – which overwhelms me more than anyone (other than M) would ever know. I’m beginning to realize that may not be the best approach as I find myself facing increased panic attacks and with tears streaming down my face even when I feel most at peace and happy. Depression is indeed a complicated bitch.

I am wonderful at making lists; looking through my pile of them I've noticed a theme.  Almost each of them contains a topic for me to write about.  Something important to me, words in my mind that I need to type out and want to share.  While confiding in M recently I expressed how I wish I could escape for a few days just to write.  Writing is incredibly healing for me. I love that it helps others understand they are not alone in this crazy journey we are on in life. It also helps me, to find peace and center myself. M is correct, as usual, I need to making writing a priority “me time” even if just a few minutes or an hour each day but not at the sacrifice of the sleep I’m already not getting. I guess, we could say I resolve to re-prioritize to put myself a little higher on the priority list in life.

As I work to be a better version of me each day, I've found incredible happiness.  2014 was a pretty good year for me. While it came with uncertainty, sadness and new challenges, it also came with an immense sense of peace and incredible pride in my accomplishments and growth. (*I think this is what frustrates me most about the struggle with depression and that many don’t understand – is while I am happy and in a good place, my depression still has an incredibly firm grip, incredibly firm grip.)

I've made tremendous gains in my independence and confidence. I've taken on new challenges and learned new skills. I've even managed to surprise myself which reminds me that as “set” in my ways as I believe I am – I still have a lot to learn, even about myself.  That’s a great reminder and wonderful surprise. It’s not just about what more I can learn about our world but also about me; the me who isn't guarded and stubborn, the me who isn't afraid to take a chance – or at least consider taking a chance, the me who laughs without worry and let's people in. 

There is a lot to learn there and once again it was my children who opened my eyes to it.  They really do get the credit for the very best things in my life.  Thanks to them, I step back and see things about the world – and myself – that I otherwise would not see.  The world through their eyes is really an incredible place; a world of hope, a world of endless possibilities, a world of love. It took stopping, listening, hearing and really understanding what they could see to get me to see it myself. Once again, they have changed me for the better, taking me from the very insistent, independent woman who was set on “never” to creating a private Pinterest board filled with wedding dreams of a “forever”.

I guess, we could say, I resolve to never say never.

Life is short, tomorrow is never promised. At almost 41 I attend more funerals than weddings – a part of life I just didn't anticipate happening, it’s not what you think of when you dream of growing up.  It’s the crappy part everyone leaves out – that as you grow up, those around you grow older too and losing them is something you simply cannot prevent. It’s left me with an incredible appreciation for every single day.  A fear of how much time I may have left and the overwhelming need to accomplish so much more before that time that I have no control over comes. Most of all, it’s left me with the reminder to stop and live today and encourage others to do the same.  Do you have a dream?  Reach for it. Do you have something to say? Scream it. Do you have bridges to rebuild? Start building. Whatever it is that you are holding tightly inside of you out of anxiety, fear or habit – let it out, let it go. Make each day matter. Love strongly. Live respectfully. Become the person you know is inside you and bring out the beauty and best in others. It’s only too late when we are no longer here and if you are reading this, it’s clearly not too late.

I guess, if I were to say I have a resolution this year it would be – to be brave, dig deep and find it within me to say the things I've kept inside. To continue to love unconditionally, to be a better mom, daughter, sister, friend, person, to hold onto hope, to not be afraid to dream, to keep doing my part to make our world a better place, to always celebrate inch stones as incredibly as the milestones, to remember there’s a lot left to learn about myself and finally, to stop being afraid of falling in love.

While it's quite a resolution, it's more of my daily promise to myself. Not just for this year but for every year I have the privilege to be here on earth. It's a life change that started many years ago and continues to evolve, smoothing out the rough edges and always working to improve the redefinition of itself. I am, after all, a work in progress. 

My very best wishes to everyone for the most fantastic year (and years) ahead. It’s never too late to start a new goal or dream… or to make it come true. 

Believe in yourself ~ I certainly believe in you.

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