We're almost two full months into 2014.
I swear I was just cleaning champagne and glitter out of the carpet just last week.
And for the first time in years, I'm not living in fear of the painful whirl of time. I've learned to breathe. Yes, I had forgotten how to deeply inhale, to slowly release the exhale... to give my body and soul a positive reaffirmation that, in a single moment, I can exist.
And as I breathed in the fresh new year (wildly uninhibited thanks to a healthy flute of bubbly), I made a very serious decision. This year is about - has to be about - the art of simplifying. Read any of my blog posts over the years and they all encompass some tinge of anxiety, fear, frustration, and messiness of life. (And oh, how ironic, my love of spotless countertops and color-coded calendars and "to do" lists within to do lists.) It dawned on me - shoot, it straight up kicked me in the face - that the only magic solution for being in proper control of one's life is to recognize one's true capacity. Living fully didn't necessarily mean having a full calendar.
I have always piled on the commitments and lived in absolute, paralyzing fear that if I turned things down, I would ultimately turn down an opportunity to grow, to meet someone, to learn something about myself... to get ahead. I assumed if I felt some compulsion towards something, that was the Universe telling me to do it. Similarly, if I was presented with an opportunity, I knew it had to be the Universe trying to give me an opportunity. I always survived my experiences and opportunities, so I convinced myself this was supposed to be how I lived my life: always on the move.
I'm also a very impatient person. When things or results weren't happening fast enough, I felt that by piling more on my plate I'd expedite the process of gaining experience. Clearly if I did double, triple, or quadruple the average person, I'd be pushed to the top that much faster. And The World practically begged me to do it, so I was fulfilling my destiny, right?
Meh. Not so much.
After a few years of being unable to sleep throughout the night without medication, go a day without experiencing some kind of physical tension or pain, or be fully present in both big and small experiences, I realized my burn-the-candle-at-both-ends approach wasn't working the way I thought. I left no room in my life for truly important things - friends, family, personal hobbies, inner-most dreams and goals, etc. - and always convinced myself I'd get to them eventually.... Even if I did, I didn't fully. And for that I may have well not gotten to them at all.
I prostituted my passions and turned them into more work, leaving the end results to be decided by clients and outside passerby's. More dangerously, I convinced myself I was still satisfying the "me" part of my soul by doing so, that I was killing two birds with one stone and essentially creating personal efficiency. In 2013, I cracked open a total of two books (where I used to put down at least two a month); one I never finished. I told myself reading for enjoyment was only to come after I finished all my to do's, chores, and work. My husband, with his a high-pressure job, and I continued to swirl in a vortex of overlapping existences; in our first year of marriage we couldn't make those day-dream inspired newlywed promises to each other like the saps we should've been. Instead we clung to our bourbon on the rocks and any tiny moments we had together. Getting to Friday in one piece was an accomplishment.
Then an opportunity presented itself; it wasn't a hard, fast, instant-results opportunity. It was a career transition that, for the first time, offered to help create a foundation: to give me room to build, grow, learn, and flourish while having a varied team of support and leadership that expected me to seek challenges. It was going to be slow. It was going to be a lot of trial-and-error. It was going to mean some sacrifices and sucking up my pride because the learning curve was going to be steep. I was going to have to do a little grunt work while keeping a smile on my face. But I wasn't going alone and the opportunity had the possibility to go in a number of directions -- all of them in the upward motion. The mission was in need of a champion, and the mark is mine to make if I work smart and graciously. I caught the break I had so desperately been praying for; and for once, the "unrealistic" vision I had in the back of my head for years suddenly started to feel very real, indeed.
Amazing how a little bit of clarity affords you the will to get out there, to enjoy simple pleasures... to spend the afternoon at a trampoline park and not give a HOOT you're at least 15 years older than the average bouncer.
A new opportunity, a new realization, and a new perspective on the future hit all at once. Slowly, I found my inner gangly, excited, gap-toothed spaz with her desire to experience the world and believe that fulfilling her true capacity - not just "getting things done" but actually "doing" with intention - was possible.
... and a new overhaul of my wardrobe and an overly-priced haircut did wonders for my inner girl-on-the-go diva.
Though, this is just the first step in a long yellow-brick road ahead. I still having crippling moments of anxiety and dwell on thoughts that do me no good. The cloud of impending uncertainty hasn't lifted yet, but I'm getting better at preparing for the storms. The new year's been plagued by a brutish winter, but it's also afforded some beautiful moments of cozy tranquility. Patience is a virtue I still lack, but I'm getting better by trying in the small moments.... I ate fully heated leftovers at lunch recently. It was totally worth the wait.
And as March comes in like the lion it promises to be, things are about to get a little crazier than normal; but with it comes the much-needed promise of spring. And instead of a chaotic, disjointed furry of activity, it will be a series of focused leaps of faith.
To be continued...
Hugs & High Fives,
PS. As an added bonus, below are some of the highlights of 2014 thus far! (All from the iPhone, if you can believe it... letting the Nikon rest up for engagement/wedding season... :)
|Fire & Ice Ball with the Columbia Contemporaries (Jan 2014)|
|Snowy Sate House (Snow Day Part 1 - Jan 2014)|
|Snow day deliciousness; homemade chocolate chip cookies and chai (Snow Day Part 2 - Feb 2014)|
|Homemade Sunday Brunch (Feb 2014)|
|Hilton Head Half Marathon - 13.1 miles of freezing rain and never better (Feb 2014)|
|Sean Luca as my 'fuzzy' Valentine (Feb 2104)|
|Impromptu art date night - went totally rogue from the model painting (Feb 2014)|
|Sunset stroll around the State House; spring slowly showing itself (Feb 2014)|