Happy New Year everyone! I hope it is the best year ever 🙂
This post is adopted from one on Zen Habits. Thanks for the inspiration!
This is going to be a very honest review about my year, including successes, failures, and lessons learned.
The biggest things I learned this year:
- That it is not a bad thing to admit defeat and accept help from others. Life cannot be truly lived without connecting with other people. And there is humility in understanding that I cannot do it alone.
- How to connect with my higher power. I have learned a lot about God and spirituality this year, for which I am eternally grateful.
- If I change my thinking, the world will change in accordance to that. When I decided to begin believing in what I wanted for my life, I begun to get those things.
- To follow the compass that is my heart. Love makes no sense to humans, and there is no rhyme or reason as to why one path is better than the other. But the part of God that is in me draws me one way or the other, and going along with that is beneficial to me, always.
- Play to my strengths. I can waste a lot of time getting only marginally better at something I don’t enjoy, or I can embrace what I do well and comes naturally to me, and use it to take me places.
- Nothing is ever over. The whole world is in a constant, steady state of evolution. I will waste time thinking I know that one is one and the other is the other. There is no separation between thoughts and things, and nothing is absolute. It would go against natural laws.
- Go big or go home. I can and do have everything I have ever needed within myself. I set goals in order to uncover what I am capable of manifesting in my life. I plan on testing the boundaries of what I can do.
- Ask for what I want. This one I just fully realized I have been learning for quite a while.
- Began my first two blogs. Besides this one, my other blog is called Thru Hiking Vegan, which is dedicated to my 2015 Appalachian Trail thru-hike. When I started this one, I had no idea what to expect, and whether or not I would even stick with it. Although I haven’t posted as much as I would have liked to, I am indeed proud that I have been posting more or less consistently, and that I have garnered quite a little following for my writing. Thanks guys, I couldn’t have done it without the encouragement and interaction from my readers. You rock.
- 2. Dedicated myself to yoga. I have now been doing yoga as a practice since June 6, 2014. I remember the date so well because I was on a retreat. It was the second day there, and I had gotten up at 7 or 7:30 in the morning to take the yoga session. The instructor was this charming little older lady who took us through some really wonderful gentle yoga. When I got home a couple of days later, I immediately was reminded of the yoga studio 100 or 200 yards from my house, down the street. I was able to begin a work exchange with the owner in which I volunteer a few hours a week and get to take as many classes as I’d like. Throughout the summer I averaged probably 5-6 classes per week. During the fall that number has dropped, but for me just the fact that I am still practicing with devotion, and doing my work hours there over six months later really means a lot to me, and yoga has improved my life in so many ways since then. I am very grateful.
- Entered recovery for my eating disorder. When I was leaving the apartment that I lived in last March, trying to figure out where to go next, I knew more than I ever had in my life before that my anorexia was becoming out of hand. I decided for myself that wherever I went next would have to be somewhere that I would be supported in my search for recovery. This ended up being my parents’ house. Although it hasn’t been perfect, my family has done a lot to help me in recovery. I also owe a lot to a twelve step program that really helped kick-start things in terms of physical, emotional, and spiritual recovery.
- Reconciled and rebuilt my relationship with my family. I left home at the age of 19, and did not return to parent’s house to live there again until I was nearly 22 years old. I was filled with anger, misunderstanding, and bitterness when I thought of my immediate family most times growing up. I understood that my eating disorder stemmed very much from these issues with them over the years. Thanks to my decision to get better, the twelve-step way of life, their willingness to work with me, and a whole lot of patience and prayer, we were able to come to much better terms and understanding of each other. This in turn really helped me with other interpersonal relationships in my life, and in seeing clearly things about my life and childhood I couldn’t interpret correctly before.
- Learned to recognize the Hanged Man.
In a tarot deck, the Hanged Man represents going as far down a path as possible, until admitting that a dead end has been reached, and alternative action is unavoidable. For me, there were many such occurrences of this phenomenon in this past year. The most significant one would have to be my decision to drop out of college for a second time. I tell people I dropped out of school twice, because I wasn’t sure the first time. This is partially true. Mostly, I was a lot better at following my heart this time around.
- Began facing my fears. There is a quote that I love, and I want to say it is by Hunter Thompson. It goes something like “If thinking about doing something makes your heart race, then you should probably do that”. I can’t really find out for sure because now that I am trying to search for it online, the only things that are coming up have to do with the medical field! There is another one that I love, and I know for sure it is by Ralph Waldo Emerson, which says “Do the thing you are most afraid to do”. This has become a motto of mine over the past year. To me, there is no better feeling than facing something I am completely terrified of. It forces the mind to accept and appreciate that life does go on after facing a scary scenario. The unknown is a big fear for most people, and facing the unknown is empowering. Each time I do something I am afraid of doing, the world opens up a bit more for me.
(*which count as successes if I have learned from them!)
- Spreading myself too thin. This is something that is easy for me to do, as there are so many awesome things in the world that I want to do and take part in. It is a truly humbling experience to have to say, listen I can’t do that thing anymore, I have to bow out. It also takes courage to not feel guilty and like I am letting people down. I know that if I let myself down, by trying to shoulder too big of a burden, it will be much worse all around in the end.
- Pretending I am more extroverted than I am. I vacillate between wanting to spend more and less time around people. But at heart, I am a true introvert at least 80% of the time. I cherish my solitude, but at the same time I can have too much of a good thing and get depressed. I am like a Sim: I need the optimum amount of social interaction to keep my mood up, but too much and I’ll pee in place and start crying. This also has to go along with limiting the opportunities I take on. Saying yes to life is one thing, but saying yes to everyone else is another. When I was younger, I always thought it was a bad thing that I liked to be alone so much. I wanted to be cool, and popular, and fit it in with everyone. But I will never be that person, and recognizing my needs and having the courage to honor them is going to go a long way towards having less, but stronger, bonds with people.
- Thinking other people are going to read my mind. Another way to phrase this would be simply learning to ask for what I want. When I was in high school I learned how to be assertive in some ways. But low self-esteem and lack of self-worth caused me for a number of years to be simply too afraid to ask for what I wanted. I still have that fear that doing so is going to burden others with my needs, and I am a terrible person if I want too much, yada, yada, yada. However, it is true that people feel good when others ask them for something that they can give. It really is a joy to help another human being out, especially if what they want is big to them but a small thing for me to accomplish. All around me I have been getting these messages that I need to ask for what I want. I didn’t start taking that too seriously until now. And lo and behold, I’m getting upgrades to the executive suite, and free breakfast and stuff. And a big thing in relation to this is that if I am not getting what I want I am probably asking the wrong person. I feel like what happens sometimes is we just want to be in charge and feel like the buck stops here. I have been that person. But if you have a real problem with a company, the management is there to keep you as a customer by making you happy. A lot of people whose income does not depend on that will not try so hard. I am learning not to take the first person’s word for it, keep asking for what I want, and being happy about it.
It’s a New Year!
I could go on with all the things I learned this year, succeeded and failed at. But the point is to move on from here. I think I’ll probably make an updated list of all my goals for this year and whatnot. I don’t necessarily make resolutions, because they are way too much pressure.
I prefer to set tons of goals, some really high, and achieve what I can while still working towards the biggest accomplishments I want to have.
What are your thoughts on 2014? I’d love to hear them!