Rather than setting resolutions, last year I identified a couple ideas or themes to explore in my life.
For 2015, I identified a personal and physical concept. Personally, I sought to deeply focus on relationships. Physically, I investigated circulation.
I’ve had some great friendships, significant others, and wonderful times with family.
I’ve had some really terrible friendships, encounters with significant others, and trying times with family.
I think we all have.
How I manage the growing pains of relationships, when to be loyal or when to let go, proves most challenging to me.
Whatever stress I experience manifests physically, immediately in my body. Check out The Fear Cure for more on that.
I can’t eliminate stress. But I can change how I process and interpret information about my life.
As a former dancer, my body worked hard for me. I expect a lot from my body. As stress goes unmanaged, my body’s ability to respond to my demands declined.
I spent the last four years in the greatest city on earth, working at a great place, doing some great things.
But I was miserable a lot of the time. And broke. And exhausted. And lonely.
I felt disappointing to and disappointed by everything around me.
As I stepped out of the shower one day, I caught a glimpse in the mirror of a ragged woman with blotchy skin, pallid complexion, and stiff joints.
She scared me. I worried for her.
My dream life became a nightmare.
That’s when I heard God say, “the right thing for you is to be happy and healthy.”
My attempt at age 30 to consider my own health and happiness was bumpy but joyful.
I took a lower-paying job with less hours that gave me time for freelance teaching and writing projects I really cared about.
I embraced the nature of being friends. Previously, most of my relationships were not ones I deliberately sought out. For me, relationships just kind of happened (usually centered around work) and while mostly enjoyable they lacked purpose.
I asked for help and the input of others I trusted and respected. My godmother recently said, “I don’t care what it is that you’re doing. I care about how you’re doing. Are you happy?”
I prioritized with whom I spent my time, which meant limiting space for negative influences and making space for people living inspired, generous lives. I wrapped up a final chapter with a former boyfriend.
I investigated essential oils to activate deeper breathing. Along the way, it cleared up my skin and helped me sleep better. I also upped my Pilates practice.
In using “happy and healthy” as qualifiers for making choices, there were some terrifying moments. How to pay bills on a freelancing salary. How to graciously respond to questions about my professional choices. How to embrace solitude and quiet.
Finding gratitude helped me navigate this process. To be clear, it wasn’t smooth sailing – not even close. I offended and disappointed people along the way. When it was in my power to fix that, I made my best effort to do so and when it wasn’t, I chose to be thankful for what I’d learned and moved on.
Once tasked to consider my own well-being in my life choices, I found greater freedom and possibilities for my life.
I’m no longer living in that dreamare. When I focused on the things and quality of life that were necessary for me to be a happy, healthy person it turned into working at a university in central Pennsylvania. My current job is all about relationships as I act as a liaison and advocate for arts education. Freelancing also gave me a stark reality of the necessity for quality relationships. It was a short chapter in my life but a rich one.
I’m still embracing what my life looks like now, but it is a peaceful resolution.
As the hours wind down on 2015, I’m still measuring my choices. This afternoon, I just said no to something that while exciting certainly would have upended my life and yes to something that will involve a lot of trust but brings great hope.
2015. When dreamstorming began.
2016. Communication and Creative Practice.