Twenty Things…that helped make a transformative year.
I am looking back at this past year and I can’t help but notice how many things have changed. It has been an amazing year. I am trying to pick out some of the major points that contributed to turning my world on its side. I am eternally grateful for whatever started the dominoes tumbling.
1. I stopped watching television. I have almost completely stopped. I have no interest anymore. I will turn on the nightly news, if I can remember, but it doesn’t happen often, and I mostly listen to the broadcast from the other room. I can’t say for sure if television stunts the creative mind, but I definitely think that it is a possibility.
2. I changed up my exercise routine. I used to always exercise inside with dance videos. Now I either swim laps outside or speed walk through the neighborhood. Involving nature in my exercise routine has given me a whole new perspective.
3. I forgave. I forgave an old wrong that had been done to me. It was one that I was holding onto, and it was holding me down. Letting it go with forgiveness has helped to free me immeasurably.
4. I started eating more. For the past few years I had been eating very little. I can gain weight extremely easily, so I had been limiting carbs to excess. It kept my weight in check but my stomach was suffering from lack of food to digest, and I was feeling a lot of acid pain. I added more whole grains to my diet and upped my exercise routine and I am hurting a lot less.
5. I finished my novel. I had been working on it for three years, and slowly but surely, I finally got it done. It made a huge impact on my sense of self-confidence, merely to have finished the work.
6. I grew a pair. It takes real balls to allow your stepmother to read your work that is full of very intimate romantic scenes, and to ask her to help edit it. It also takes balls to start blogging about your personal feelings every day. I did it though, and just like the Grinch’s tiny heart, my balls have grown several sizes…and I am keeping them.
7. I started doing. I have been jumping on my ideas every day. Even if it doesn’t seem like I am fully prepared, or that I have the support or backup that I need to start into a project, I have been going ahead with it anyways. Over and over again, I have found the support I need showing up unexpectedly.
8. I went through a loss. Loss comes in all different shapes and sizes, but for me the loss came in the form of losing my grandmother. Looking back at her life, what she meant to me and to the people who loved her has made a big impact on me.
9. I gave up on appearances. Not completely, but somewhat. I still worry if I have a stain on my shirt. Giving it up is not easy! I have gotten better about letting my kids dress however they like though (as long as they are clean). My son habitually wears two different shoes when we leave the house, and I am okay with it.
10. I took some good advice. I chewed on it for a while, it takes me time to make peace with realizations that are not my own. I saw the advice for what it was and realized that it was coming from someone who I trusted implicitly, so I went with it. Thanks Sara.
11. I got more creative. Coming up with new recipes as well as new topics to talk about each day has really pushed my creativity back into high gear. Like in physics, when I am creative I naturally want to remain creative. When I started writing poetry again, I barely had to do more than sit and let it flow through me.
12. I started speaking in public again. Starting a 4H club has really helped to offer up that opportunity. I am not speaking in front of gobs of people, but it really doesn’t matter. The action of public speaking is good for everyone in my opinion. Putting my written word out there is not the same as speaking in front of a live audience.
13. I got to know my neighbors. After my husband launched our community garden, I started meeting my neighbors left and right. It is fantastic to have good relationships with the people who live around me. I feel much more secure in my own home, and more a part of the community in which I live.
14. I have taken a lot of constructive criticism. It is supposed to be a very difficult thing to do but it came more easily to me than I had anticipated. The people who offered to help me edit my novel did a fantastic job. At the end I asked all of them what they would change, or what did not work for them in the story line. I incorporated almost every suggestion that I was given.
15. I stopped hiding. I quit keeping my mouth closed just to keep the peace. I quit hiding my after dinner cigarettes. I quit holding back and not saying “I Love You,” to all of the people that I love.
16. I stopped taking things so personally. I have begun to understand that most peoples’ reactions to every little thing in life have a lot more to do with them and a lot less to do with me than it may appear.
17. I have started letting go of ritual. I find routine very grounding and it is difficult for me to let it go. It is good for me to relax and change things up sometimes though. Change is good as well as inevitable.
18. I am openly practicing trust. My husband has been having a pretty awesome year as well. I have been working hard to put my trust in all of his new ideas and plans, without being scared out of my mind.
19. I have put my focus on optimism. The negativity still sneaks in from time to time, and I will certainly never give up my sarcasm…it is admittedly negative, but I am actively working to see every situation in its best light.
20. I have committed to reaching out. I have come to the realization that we let our lives slip by in every missed opportunity to connect with other people. Our loved ones, our friends, and even strangers that we pass on the street make up our reason for being alive. If we fail to connect with these people I don’t believe that we are truly living. Reaching out to others at every possible moment has been a life changing experience for me.