As 2013 comes to a close, the reflecting period begins. Did I do everything I wanted to? Did I stick by what I promised? Did I accomplish enough? Did I learn a lot? Did I give, listen, laugh, think, feel? Did I say please and thank you? Did I forgive and forget after fits of anger? Did I cry, did I smile at strangers, did I have such a great time that my worries melted away? Did I follow my dreams and speak my heart? Did I contribute, inspire, make a difference? Did I love and was I loved?
And then comes the realization that so many things we reflect on are just about us.
Me, me, me, me myself and I.
I feel a New Year’s Resolution sprouting where I said none would grow of my own doing. I believe in year-round improvements, not promises doomed from the start. This next year, however, will be graced with a promise: less me, more everybody. By measuring my worth in the number of things I’ve done and accomplished, things I’ve seen, places I’ve been, number of times I’ve been told I’m attractive, amount of songs I’ve sung or commercials I’ve been in, and endless other “things,” then I will never place emphasis on who I really am. Our redeeming qualities are not our accomplishments but our character. Are we kind? Giving? Cooperative? Motivating? Those are the things we ought to spend time reflecting on, working toward, and then basing our actions on.
The new year could use fewer weight loss goals and more giving ones. After all, the more we focus on others, the more we will all benefit in the end. (And as for losing weight – losing oneself in good deeds will be a good distraction from food and possibly accompanied with the exercise of shuffling around.)
I can’t say I’ll be perfect at it – we all slip up and lose our way – but I’d really like to make an effort. This year has been simultaneously one of my hardest and most eventful. The personal issues I’ve had to come to terms with were well beyond the maturity I thought I possessed, but through dealing with troubles I’ve come to see my inner strength is greater than I could’ve predicted. If I had spent less time focused on my own downfalls, I may have felt better sooner, yet it often takes these moments to make sense of it all, to find awareness and move in a new direction.
If I could share any piece of advice I’ve learned this year (though in reality I knew it to be true for the longest time without putting it into action), it would be to always trust yourself and use your inner strength to guide your way no matter how afraid you are of what lies ahead. Even the most wonderful adventures require difficult choices, discomfort, and pain. But we all have the courage to overcome these and take steps toward the lives we want to live. Envision your happiest self and create your life, step by step. We are all afraid of something. I, personally, am terrified of a number of things from the reasonable (drowning) to the neurotic (ending up a cat lady), but really, I’m more afraid of not living the life I want due to my fears, however large or small. So all I can really say is own up to your fear, whether it’s change (natural, I know, yet giving up something we love for newness is frightening) or social anxiety. Own it and let to. Move toward the life you want in spite of your fear and build your confidence in your inner strength. It’s there, I promise. You just need the motivation to feed it and build its strength. Like any muscle, inner strength needs to be trained and utilized to reach its greatest potential. Never sell yourself short.
Alas, I’ve reached my tale’s end for now. There are too many things left to say and not enough hours left in 2013 to share them. Live, laugh, love. That old saying. That’s my hope for everyone tonight to see the old year subside and the new one come to life.
Happy New Year, 2014! I hope for health and happiness for everyone in the year to come.