One more musing on my year of embracing before I start talking about the new year. This may end up being a lame metaphor, but you’ll have to humor me.
I’ve (obviously) been doing a lot of self-introspection about this year. While I was going through pictures a few weeks ago, I decided that this photo captures the essence of my year. (Lindsay took me white water rafting for the first time during our Asheville trip, which I loved! And perhaps not surprisingly, our guide told us we probably had the most expressive faces he’s ever seen…)
Essentially, my year was like white water rafting.
On the whole, it was a relatively smooth ride and I went with the flow. Day-to-day life was routine. I get up, go to work, go to the gym, focus on whatever goals I’ve concocted for the month and call it a day. Nothing to write home about.
But then there were rough rapids. And quite a few of them, particularly during the second half of the year. Without going into too much detail, my relationship and friendship with a guy I thought I would marry who’d been in my life for nine years came to a screeching halt. My car hit a point where the cost to repair it didn’t outweigh the cost of a new one. I ended up being second choice for a job I really wanted with a health department where the middle and my precious doggie niece live. It was also voted on and approved that the two grants the fund the project I work with (and potentially my job) would be transferred to a new agency by March.
And this was all in the course of about 90 days.
To say it’s been rough at times is an understatement (and I’m pretty sure my family members had their hearts skip a beat each time my name showed up on the caller ID during those few months…).
In the midst of this, though, you get perspective. At least I did. You have no choice but to live in the moment and keep going. You can’t plan or control anything (which in and of itself was a pain for me; hence all the posts about uncertainty and feeling a lack of progress in my life). Instead, you learn to trust yourself and know the path will eventually smooth out again.
Throughout this process, focusing on gratitude and knowing that everything happens for a reason helped more than I can say. I’ve reminded myself time and time again (even while writing this post) that things could be worse. Who hasn’t gone through a breakup or job uncertainty? And rough rapids don’t last forever. In the scheme of my life, this will seem minor (but life changing) years from now.
I’m not trying to downplay my experiences, since they did shake me to the core. But I also see the silver linings. I embraced the unknown in a way I couldn’t have planned for at the start of the year. It hasn’t always been easy and I still struggle with the lack of control, but I’m getting better at it. I also tapped into strength and resiliency I didn’t know I had and kept fighting.
And not all the rough rapids were bad, actually. Some I even looked forward to (especially when I really was white water rafting). Take the national conference and even the statewide conference last month. It’s absolutely stressful and rocky. But it’s also fan-freakin’-tastic when it’s all said and done. You feel as if you’ve done something outside of your comfort zone, not to mention the crazy adrenaline rush that comes along with it.
Oddly enough, I also feel a sense of peace now that the river seems to be winding down. A friend of mine sent me this link this morning, and this one in particular struck me:
Let go of thinking you are not where you should be. You are right where you need to be to get to where you want to go, so start asking yourself where you want to go.
This quote reinforces what the middle and little have been telling me throughout this whole journey: all of this is a catalyst for change. That perspective is ultimately what’s shaping my theme and vision for next year. In some ways I don’t even feel like the same person I was just six months ago, and for that I’m thankful. I’m still right where I need to be, but it’s time to start opening doors and windows to better create the life I want.
Here’s to embracing the ups and downs of 2013 and a new attitude in 2014!