closing out twenty seventeen

2017. what a year. a year of growth, changes, adventures, heartache, the starts of things, the end of things, also a lot of the same things too. what a year.

I like to recap and think back on my years. particularly this year. this year I have taken steps in a real way to change things for myself. change how I interact with others, change how I talk to myself, change how I see myself, and even go so far as to start the steps to change my career.

I had the privilege to travel in every month except March & July. I got to go to 3 new states…all in the Northwest…got to see lots of friends and make some really wonderful memories. I let go of a lot that I’ve been carrying around for a very long time and mourned some people no longer apart of my journey.

The length of time we have to live out full years has been on my mind recently. I have had the opportunity to see the majority of 27 years…..27 years of learning, adventures, forming relationships…27 years to live. And I was reflecting how I’ve wasted a lot of them….wasted them being upset and worrying about what’s coming next or upset with myself instead of enjoying each moment I get to live. Life’s too short to be upset with others, upset with yourself, or not living life how you want.

During this year it was brought to my attention (more than once) about self talk. My self talk, in full disclosure, is pretty damn terrible. I would NEVER talk to other people the way I talk to myself. I am so hard on myself about nearly everything. It’s loud and it’s negative and nothing silences it. I struggle with not letting it get to me and I’ve had to face it a lot more this year in different ways. For some reason this year I have felt very unworthy of anything good. I’ve allowed the thoughts and actions of others define my worth. I HAVE allowed it. And so by realizing that I am the one allowing, I get more upset with myself. And the nasty cycle of negative self talk became more frequent and more detrimental honestly. How am I supposed to form relationships with others or find myself being open to dating or a real and true romantic relationships if I talk to myself that way? I can’t expect someone else to respect me or care about me when I don’t feel that way about myself. I have spent PLENTY of my years in this space of awful self talk and I am making a promise to myself here & now to change that. Change how I talk to myself and stop others’ opinions of me define how I see myself. Those are conscious choices and choices I need to make if I want to continue down the path I want to be on.

Truth be told I have not done a very good job of being open with others this year. I think it’s partly due to this head space I’ve been living in & the other part is me trying to be different and better (which I guess I could attribute to the head space). Regardless, I’ve become much more closed off and keeping my thoughts & feelings to myself. I’ve been doing a lot of internal evaluating and reflecting and there have been changes that have come with doing those things. I haven’t wanted to share and share and share the ways I used to. Sharing can lend to pity & misunderstanding & sometimes, unhelpful opinions. I do not want pity for sure & sometimes the more I share, the more misunderstood and alone I’ve felt so if I don’t share, I can’t be misunderstood right? Sure, in theory. On top of that, I allow others’ opinions to make my decisions. I gave that decision making power away and I needed to take it back. It has been challenging to have to honestly look inside and ask myself what I want. But I believe within this new approach, I’ve become more selfish and definitely have pushed people away. It is not my intent in anyway but I believe it’s become the reality. I have become content with myself enough that I don’t need other people like I did and instead of being a friend to others, I’ve become selfish and incredibly closed off. Plus I know that so much of what I always communicated with to others I have to deal with and move past on my own. Another piece to this is that in all honesty, I haven’t wanted to let people in. When I’ve let people in in the past, it’s caused pain and hurt. So in many ways I have been scared to open that door again. But I am who I am and I don’t need to hide things I’ve felt shame about anymore. Those who love me most don’t and won’t care and that’s what I have been trying to hold onto in the struggle of this opening up business.

As I’m writing all this out I realize it’s confusing. It’s confusing because they almost seem conflicting ideas. I want to be more internal so I don’t rely on other opinions but I also talk super negatively to myself and allow others’ feelings about me define myself? It doesn’t make sense in many ways but it also makes a lot of sense. I believe there is a fine line between opening up and letting others in and remaining true to yourself and making choices that are best for you. Oh and sticking to those decisions and allowing yourself some grace and a little love. In the end, you only have yourself so if you don’t speak kindly to yourself or love yourself, how miserable a life are you going to have? Well a little advice as someone who has been there for a long time, it can lead to the the most miserable life. Love yourself, seriously. Haven’t mastered it yet but working my way there.

Back to my original thought of LIVING life, living life includes being open to letting others in. Sharing stories of success, failures, annoyances, joys, challenges, triumphs is what makes life doable. It makes it worth it when you share and you celebrate with your closest people or you are having a tough day and you need an ear and someone to tell you it’s going to be OK. And loving yourself is part of your job description.  THAT is what living life is about. We’re all in this together and I forgot that in the midst of my journey this year.

SO as I do….I want to thank those who have remained present and there for me when you may have felt that I shut you out. I want to apologize to those where I put all my “worth” eggs. That’s a huge responsibility to feel you have and an unfair one at that. I love and value those so much but it’s not fair at all. For those I pushed away and seemed so self involved, I am sorry. It was truly never my intent. There was a lot of work that had to be done this year and I did the best I could. But I never meant to push away or hurt anyone.

Life is tough you know? We face so many awful and debilitating situations and circumstances and it’s clear to me it’s not going to get any better. But I am starting with loving who I am, giving myself and others much more grace, deserved grace. We have to stick together. Sticking together, relying & loving on one another other makes all the other crap doable, livable, survivable, and OKAY. It’s not necessary to walk through the tough stuff alone and I see that now.

in terms of my plans you may wonder? I’m working on it. I’m doing the things that need to be done to determine where my next steps in 2018 will lead me. Not to sound so vague, but in truth, I don’t know what’s going to happen. I don’t know where I’m going to land. I want to go to school in the fall…I want to move somewhere amazingly beautiful where I can continue to grow into this new version of myself. I want to get this master’s degree and maybe even my doctorate some day. I want that accomplishment. And THEN, I want to help people. I want to make a difference. THOSE things have not wavered. I feel called and driven in that and so I’m doing what I need to do now to make that happen. God has a plan you know? God will guide and place me where I need to be and when I need to be there. It’s been challenging but it’s going to be worth it when I am where I know I need to be. Portland? Utah? Colorado? Wisconsin? California? Arizona? STL? Where will I go? I have no idea. But God does and so I’m ok with not knowing today.

2017, what a year. these are without a doubt the biggest takeaways and things I want to share mostly to remind myself and hope to bring a little light and peace to someone else’s life. We aren’t alone and shouldn’t have to walk this journey by ourselves. Give people a chance. I have a feeling it will be worth it when I can change how I look at things.

2018: I’m ready for whatever God has in store for me.

 

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