As I’ve said before: I love having a birthday at the beginning of the year. It means I get a little buffer between the hoopla of the holidays, and when I really start my new year. I was lucky enough to ring in 2018 somewhere warm – blog to come! – with good friends. It gave me time to reflect on all that 2017 was.
For me, age 31 was all about putting lessons I’d already learned into practice. All of that self-love, block-out-the-haters, sorta stuff I knew in theory, but needed to create habit around. Apparently learning the lesson is the easy part… damn.
So today, as I turn 32, here’s what the past year taught me…
Chill the F out
You’re not in a race, woman!
Run that bath. RSVP “no”. Pick up that book. Be gentle. Ground yo’self.
I’m one of those people with high highs and low lows. Grounding myself daily is necessary for my productivity and general well-being. (That probably goes for everyone.) Last night, I spent the evening without a checklist and completely alone. A few years ago, I would have been riddled with guilt, restlessness, and – I can finally admit – fear. But now, that alone time was nothing short of perfect.
More on this to come…
Some shit isn’t your shit
Sure, empathy and compassion are great human characteristics. But, I’ve learned you can overdo and misplace them.
I tend to wear other people’s problems like they’re my own, and in the end, that doesn’t do anyone any good. It’s impossible to be supportive to a friend when you’ve taken on their heartache. When I’ve done this, I’ve sacrificed my sanity and enabled the person to indulge their sorrows instead of moving forward. But, the real kicker…? I was actually distracting myself from my own problems, under the guise of being a good friend. It was a lot easier to deal with the crap in someone else’s life, than it was to face my own.
Some shit is out of your control
I’m no Elsa, that’s for sure… letting things go is a constant work in progress for me. Ouf!
I feel like I belong in AA with how often grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change becomes a broken record in my mind. There’s no point pouring energy into the inevitable, or something out of my hands. By finally – ok, mostly – accepting this, I’ve found power in the things I do have control over, and waste less energy and emotion on the things I don’t.
Trust and let go, my friends. It’s empowering.
Friendships can sink
I’ve stared at this point for a while. Watching the cursor tauntingly flash, and hoping something would jump out of the keyboard. Something profound that spoke of the peace you can gain after losing a friend. But I’m still at a loss for words.
I guess this lends itself to my point about letting things go. Friends sometimes go. And it sucks. In the end, you have to be truthful with yourself. Say sorry when it’s due. Love unabashedly. And, even when you do care with a full, honest heart… sometimes, they still go.
Like anything in life, the negative only highlights the positive. And it’s so clear I’m surrounded by friends who crack me up, hold me accountable, and just like Rihanna are willing to share an umbrella-ella when one of us needs it. *shout-out* ’cause you all know who you are.
It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it
I like to think most people aren’t nasty by nature, and everyone’s feelings are valid. So, why is there so much conflict with people who love one another? I think it’s tone.
I’ll be the first to admit I’m feisty, which is really just a euphemism for hot-tempered. I’ve seen for years that anger shuts down the person I’m trying to be heard by. And nothing makes me feel less heard than a person who’s shut themselves down. It would only spur me on. This year, I vowed to break that pattern. And for the most part I have.
People lean in when you whisper.
The second part to this lesson is seeded in self-respect. Getting along with people doesn’t mean agreeing all the time, or being pushed over. I guess I always thought being strong meant being fierce and aggressive. But, as I said above, not only has this proven ineffective, but it’s usually blown up. I’ve realized I can respect myself, speak up about my boundaries, and ask for what I want without demanding it.
So that’s it, my friends. I’m entering this beautiful new year with a few more scars and oopsie-daisy moments, but with a softer approach and immense gratitude.