It’s that time of the year again, folks.
The time where most of us make resolutions that we want to keep, but aren’t actually sure we can.
The gyms will overflow with people who aren’t usually there,and grocery stores will see an upswing in healthy food sales for a few weeks. Some people will work on communicating more with loved ones, and others will pick up hobbies that may fall off in a few months. And then there are those rare few who actually keep their resolutions and make positive life changes, and to those of you I say, “Bravo.”
I’m not big on resolutions. Never really have been. Maybe it’s because I have a huge bone to pick with people who say they’ll do things and then never follow through. Maybe it’s because it feels obligatory, and I’ve always rebelled a little against societal traditions that I am expected to participate in without any real justifiable reason. Maybe it’s because I’m an asshat. Who knows.
I prefer to make New Year’s wishes instead, and that’s probably more lame, but they’re generally done with actionable intent behind them (so it’s basically the same thing, except the wish part takes the responsibility off my shoulders. LOOPHOLE! GOOD JOB SELF – I realize this isn’t actually something to be proud of).
Last year I wished for more sunshine. While the weather is not something I can control, (even if I do have cool meteorological hookups, who also cannot control the weather, thanks for asking), I meant it metaphorically. Sunshine is something I equate with happiness, and I am in charge of steering my happiness boat, though I realize that means I’ll have to weather some storms.
I took things into my own hands and started doing small things to bring more happiness my way.
I made time to hike regularly. I am a sufferer of seasonal affective disorder (SAD), and a lot of that comes from not being able to be outside enough because unbearable cold and polar vortexes exist in the midwest. But I decided to bundle up and go into the woods when tolerable. And I found that I felt much happier, more balanced, and that seeing the sun for an extra hour or two did wonders for my mental well-being.
I kept a regular schedule with the gym to give my endorphins a friendly boost, and decided to train for a race to focus my workouts. While my physical limitations (more hip flexor fall-out. Yup, STILL dealing with that. LOL.) prevented me from running the half marathon I signed up for, I found a new love – obstacle course racing (OCR) – and have been working tirelessly for the last six months toward being ready to race with the Elite Spartans come this summer.
I made time to go dancing, which is one of the few things that never fails to make me blissfully happy. I watched YouTube videos from choreographers whose work I respected and taught myself some new moves. While the bar scene in Iowa City isn’t always my favorite, I tweaked the squad I went out with and found that having good people around helps make otherwise blase nights far more fun (though drama-free is never guaranteed, no matter how great your squad may be).
I even found myself “dating” (or whatever the fuck you call hanging out pretty regularly with the opposite sex these days), which is surprising given that I’m particular about to whom I lend my time. It challenged me, made me grow postively as a human, brought lots of laughter and silliness back into my life, and it pushed me far beyond my comfort zone (remember that vulnerability stuff I wrote about? Yeah. Had loads of growth in that department, too).
What I’m saying is… 2015 was a year chock full of learning things about my human self. As the year comes to a close, another thing I like to do (instead of crappy resolutions), is take time to reflect on the year. I like to see where I grew, what challenges I faced, and which ones I overcame/need to prepare myself better for the next time they present themselves. I like to see what I still need to work on to be the awesome human I’d like to be, and what I should stop and pat myself on the back for accomplishing.
2015 was largely a year of personal emotional growth. I spent too much of 2014 refusing to feel my feels, and as a result, that left me good and fucked up for a solid chunk of 2015. I rang in the year mostly as a gigantic mess pretending to be keeping it together (which is lame, as stated in previous post), and all that did was leave me to steam in a heaping pile of depression and self-loathing, which is a dark, icky place to dwell. I don’t recommend it. I spent the first half inching my way out, and during the worst months (ew, winter), I started to feel the sunshine creep back into my life.
It took time, as all good things do, but man, the work I put in then made all the things that happened between last January and the impending one so much easier to deal with in a constructive, emotionally and mentally healthy way, which P.S., is pretty rare in my age group.
While all of that growth is worth more than all the unlimited free workout gear in the world, I’m wishing (and working hard to ensure) that 2016 will be a year of tremendous physical, competitive growth, starting by taking my dog for a hike in the woods with a sandbag on my back.
Cheers to 2016: May I only allow good people bearing good vibes to occupy my time, may I gracefully let go of those who do not, may I bring an abundance of L&L (love and LOLZ) into my own life and to the lives of others at every opportunity, and may I kick loads of ass in the namesake of mud runs and obstacle courses.
HBIC of 2015,