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How do we shed the weight of a whole year come and gone?
Where do the heavy parts go?
Do they drift up and out into the universe after quiet reflection (or a dismissive purge), or do they sit like bricks inside us, on our hips and in our hearts and minds?
The weight of 2021 certainly taught me a few things. Doesn’t every year teach us something we thought we already knew?
I’ve been in my new old house for a hot minute. It’s decorated and shiny and quite lovely. My old bowls, gleaming milk glass, rustic metal stars, and vintage ball jars feel right at “home” in this quirky, antique house—the house of my dreams.
My gorgeous garden came and went, along with some of my lofty goals for it. It is what it is. I’ve got time. A garden is something I won’t rush. It’s exciting to simply pack up, pick up, and move. I’m settled in, finally, and I’ve learned that even when they’re difficult, big changes are good for my body and spirit.
“We can do hard things.”
Last year, I struggled with my lack of inspiration to write. The subjects I tend to explore seem tired—as tired as I feel these days. Middle age and my increasingly blurry vision have “settled in” too, and I’m a bit grumpy about it. I used to tap out easy, free-flowing sentences and paragraphs, but now, truth told, writing feels like a painful chore. Water refuses to boil no matter how long we stare at it. I must remember that creative blocks are usually temporary. They work themselves out on their own. Patience (let it be) is the key. I know my words will return to me like homing pigeons, because they always do. I’ve learned to live with the discomfort of knowing my thoughts may need to simmer longer on my stove.
“We can wait.”
Some things won’t change. Holding on to people and things (and ideas) that do not serve to brighten my world is pointless. Breaking free from the emotional roller coaster of toxic attachment opens the door for lighter, happier times. And couldn’t we all use some of those inside the brick walls of “Covid Nation” right about now? I’ve learned that my self-respect and inner peace outweigh anything I may feel for those incapable of even the smallest reciprocity. No drama, just some good ole boundaries.
Last year, giving too much (energy, thoughts, words, and action) left me depleted. I’ve learned that certain breaking points won’t break me, and I can move on with love in my heart (from a distance), mental clarity, and a steadfast conviction in my soul, gleaned solely by way of cultivating higher self-esteem.
“We can let go.”
2021 brought a plethora of un-glamorous emotions. Jealousy. Anger. Frustration. Doubt. Anxiety. I felt my insecurities rear their ugly heads and breathe fire. My poor thumbs took the brunt. Apparently, the destructive but self-soothing mechanism I use to cope with “all the things” has a name: Dermatophagia. I chew my digits. It’s gross. “I’m not proud.” It has something to do with striving to be perfect. From prior excavation into my own psyche, chronic perfectionism seems to be “my jam,” stemming from early childhood trauma. It’s a residual, if you will. Dermatophagia is a body-focused repetitive behavior.
A nice goal this coming year will be to simply employ a healthier alternative to eating myself alive. I’ve learned that being “consciously aware” is the first step toward rectifying a harmful habit I’d like to end.
“We can stop.”
Understanding the “why” behind self-sabotage usually leads to a calmer and more balanced perspective. Trusting this knowledge, I refuse to get sucked into the downward spiral of doing the same thing over and over again but expecting a different result. In 2021, I learned how important it is to get out of my own way. The negative emotions I hold hostage often keep me from my divine self, the true self I want to be and portray. When I wallow inside my swirling head, it affects everything and everyone around me. Not just my mood, but the moods of my loved ones too. It’s not fair to anyone. And, oh, have I mentioned that it wreaks havoc on my poor, war-torn fingers?
“We can change.”
I’d like to return to my former “fighting spirit” self. I’m not looking to be combative or opinionated these days, but I plan to battle more for my own joy and a new sense of purpose. I want to turn the corner and stop sweating the small stuff, the things I can’t control, the things I no longer wish to lug around. Last year, I created a sweet sanctuary in my barn. I’ll continue to pull good energy into that space, a space for creativity, relaxation, and fun. Family and friends are welcome to join me—I’ll supply the libations and music!
I crave human connection sans social media. I’ve learned that life isn’t about filters and good vibes all the time, but a little Chris Cornell or Stevie Ray Vaughn while sipping a coldie sure feels damn good.
“We can laugh more.”
For the first time since the day I was born, the New Year won’t be about losing weight. It’ll be about losing “the” weight:
The weight of consciously and unconsciously wanting to be perfect. The weight of craving attention and being liked. The weight of seeking validation. The weight of trying to write something meaningful. The weight of absorbing the negative energy of others. The weight of simultaneously living inside both the past and the future without savoring my ever-vanishing present.
Instead, I’ll welcome the lightness of mindful patience, grace, and letting go. The lightness of feeling genuinely grateful for who I am, flaws and all. The lightness of knowing what I have, what I have to offer, and who I let into my life. The lightness of simple pleasures and uncomplicated days.
The lightness knowing my life gets blurry sometimes, but I can still see. The lightness of freedom, after setting myself free.
If I’m smart, I can practice what I preach and I will learn and grow and change.
But, I can also just let myself be.
Cheers to a lighter 2022!