Hello all, I hope that this post finds you all well, rested, and recharged after a wonderful Christmas and New Year with friends, family, and loved ones. Today I have spent some time reflecting on 2017 and all of the memories it brought me. Some joyous, some difficult, moments of laughter, moments of tears, but most of all another full year of life that I am grateful for.
I have never really been one to embrace a huge resolution or change with a New Year but I have found myself in this season of life wanting to take extra time to reflect and decide how I would like my next year to look. This reflecting is different for everyone I would imagine: some may want to accomplish certain things in a year such as fitness goals, travel destinations, learning a new skill, and the list goes on.
What I have found in my mind the last couple of days during my thinking is that I really want to embrace a new feeling in my life this year. The best phrase I could come up with to describe this feeling I am seeking is “the year of calm” and as soon as I said it I knew it felt just right. Turning 25 this year has brought me a lot of thoughts that I am slowly sorting through. Some deep feelings of accomplishment, some anxious thoughts about how life is changing, some anxious thoughts about 25 and what that might mean, some happy moments reflecting on how far I’ve come, but equally as many about how far I still want to go.
I apologize if these sentiments and words are seeming vague as you read them but I wanted to write this post as a way to get them on (electronic) paper and have a way to hold myself accountable as 2018 unfolds. I wanted to share my thoughts with all of you who take the time to read my posts and I am so thankful for each of you. Starting this blog in the summer of 2016 has been one of my most favorite ways to spend my time as a creative expression and a way of exercising my love for writing.
In a few paragraphs I am going to try to describe what “the year of calm” is going to mean for me and some ideas I have for action steps and specific things I can do to make those changes throughout the year. Before I dig into the specifics I wanted to share the photo I saw on Instagram that sparked my initial thoughts about these changes that I’m wanting to make. I think the words really jumped out at me and it showed me that it was something I needed to read and attach to. So this year is all about the moments between the destinations for me. Moments where I will learn to embrace the quiet and prepare myself for whatever reveals itself next.
For as long as I can remember I have always been someone who enjoyed being busy. I like to take on new challenges, new projects, and begin new things that I haven’t tried before. Having this mindset and energy level has given me a lot of opportunities, especially during my college years and these couple of years since graduating and beginning a career. I have found that in the last few months I have been yearning for some calm in my life. Days where I was craving just some quiet time to relax but didn’t have the ability to do that because of commitments I had made (work, school, social, etc).
I have read a few articles recently about how a measuring stick in our modern culture, especially in the US, for being successful is to tell people how busy you are. This really opened my eyes because often when people ask me “How are you?” or “How have you been?” my response is usually: I’m good but I’m so busy! My challenge to myself this year is to no longer look at be busy as an accomplishment. My new level of success will come from my ability to embrace the calm and quiet and teach myself how to relax.
After living by myself (plus Luna of course!) for the last 2.5 years I feel I have gotten into a great routine and actually really enjoy living alone. I like the freedom to have my own space but also love the fact that I can host and entertain whenever I’d like to but then things reset back to my personal space when the gathering is done. Even though I’ve found that I love living alone I still struggle to allow myself to fully relax and enjoy time in calm and quiet. This upcoming semester with only my one graduate school course one evening per week I am going to challenge myself to find some time for calm in the other 4 nights of the week. Some of them may turn in to study nights or nights with projects and tasks around the house; but for the most part I want to try some new ways to unplug.
Some other general ideas I have for embracing this year of calm are to be intentional when I take on new commitments. Reminding myself that keeping a lesser schedule will allow for a greater level of emotional health for me and physical health too. Melissa Hartwig, the creator of Whole30, said that this year she is going to help others learn how to comfortably say no. I am hoping to get some good advice from her as this is an area where I struggle.
Lastly, I am looking to build a new morning routine for myself that will allow for a larger amount of time in the morning before I go to work that I can add some quiet reflection before starting my day. I typically read before going to bed but want to try flipping things around and spending 15-20 minutes reading in the morning. This will allow me a slow start to the day and some time to enjoy coffee or sitting outside in the early morning (when it isn’t winter of course!). I also have never given meditation and breathing exercises/yoga a full shot. These are two things I also hope to incorporate into my morning routine. A short meditative exercise through a highly recommended app I downloaded (I will share about this with all of you after I’ve tried it for a few weeks) and some simple stretching in the morning should get me off on a better foot before starting my work or weekend day!!
I hope that all of you are feeling ready to welcome 2018 with open arms and that if you have goals for this year that you have the tenacity and courage to pursue them wholeheartedly. I appreciate you reading this and am glad to have all of you accountable to me as I share my journey to embrace these new things this year for myself.