A New Resolution

People have been asking me over the past week what my new year’s resolutions are. Up until this point, I have been in survival mode. I wasn’t thinking about the year… I was simply trying to get through the day. But today, the dust seems to have finally settled, and I discovered the one thing that I really want to do this year.

I simply want to be myself.

I spent so much of last year being sick, either physically or mentally, that I just couldn’t do the things I wanted to do. I couldn’t talk to people. I couldn’t exercise or play sports. I couldn’t smile. I couldn’t do little random acts of kindness. I couldn’t help around the house. I did some of these things anyway, but it took everything out of me.

This year, I want to enjoy being me. I want to go running just because I feel like it. And I want to talk to new people at church. I want to bake a cake and make cookies and get dinner ready, just for fun, just because I can. And I want to wash dishes and do extra laundry loads and vacuum. (Oh how I want to vacuum!) I just want to be able to do all the things my illnesses prevented me from doing.

You don’t really realize how precious those things are until you lose them. Having depression made me miss exercise so much. Breaking my thumb made me miss simply being able to tie my own shoes. Having anxiety and depression made me miss just being able to have a normal conversation with someone. And my health issues and depression made me miss being able to maintain a clean house.

So, though it may not seem like much to an outsider, I am excited to be able to do the normal stuff this year. And my resolution is simply to enjoy doing it because I have waited so long for this moment.

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A New Year

It’s a relief that 2016 has ended. It hasn’t been the worst year for me. In many ways, it was one of the best years. But it was also one of the hardest years. I suffered a lot, but I gained a lot of reassurance and realized how strong I can be.

Still, this new year, my resolution is simply to do hard things. Life can be hard, and right now, dealing with insurance and appointments and changing jobs is hard. I don’t know what 2017 will bring, but I know I’m committed to pressing on.

This past year was so draining. I feel like I don’t have much left to give anymore. But… It’s a new year. It’s a chance for new beginnings. It’s an opportunity to let go of any hurt or disappointments or negative feelings. So, whatever I have left in me is what I will give. I will give my all. I will do the hard things. I will be who I want to be. And most importantly, no matter what happens, I won’t give up.

Just Keep Going

It’s pretty amazing how much can happen in a year. I went back to college in January, working on my second bachelor’s degree (this time in computer science.) I also started this year with some unknown health issues. As soon as I started to figure out what to do for my health, I plunged into the worst depression of my life. As soon as I figured out medications to get out of that darkness, I got in a car crash that totaled my first car and broke my first bone (a little bone in my thumb that will remain broken for the rest of my life).

So, needless to say, it’s been an eventful year. But in the midst of all the brokenness and difficulties, some of the best moments of my life took place. I made some of the best friends I have ever had and strengthened many of my prior friendships. I learned what I am made of and who I truly am when all the layers are stripped away.

I have grown so much. I have been broken and humbled, but I have also learned to love myself. I learned that I was worthy of love and was able to see the good in me. But… I hope next year is easier. Even though this year has been one of immense growth, I am ready for a break. I am ready for things to get a little easier for me.

For the last few years, I have given a gift to Christ for his birthday. This year, my gift is just to keep going. Things have been so hard. I haven’t wanted to go on. I’ve just wanted to give up. So my gift is simply to endure, to not give up no matter how hard it gets or how much I want to. I pray this next year is easier, but my commitment is to not lose faith no matter how hard it gets. I will hold on to hope. I will keep on keeping on.

Going into 2016

2015 was a year of growth and learning. I am a different and better person than I was 365 days ago.

Here’s 16 things I learned last year that will help me live better in 2016:

  1. I may feel lonely, but I am never alone in this world. There are more people rooting for me and praying for me than I ever imagined.
  2. I am a better person than I give myself credit for.
  3. Sometimes it’s good to hate yourself because it gives you a reason to become better.
  4. It’s scary to talk to people, but the friends are so worth it.
  5. You would be surprised at who you can forgive.
  6. It’s easier to eat healthy than you would think.
  7. Trials aren’t as hard when you know you’re loved.
  8. You don’t have to spend lots of time with friends to stay close to them.
  9. It’s okay to have horrible, no good, very bad days sometimes.
  10. When you think you’re being vulnerable and overly candid, it may not be as bad as you think.
  11. Christmas music is really okay to play before Thanksgiving.
  12. Therapy really can make a big difference.
  13. Sometimes you have to go back home to realize you already were home.
  14. I’m not the same person I used to be and things really are changing for me.
  15. Depression isn’t always a choice, but gratitude can be.
  16. It’s okay to be autistic.

Resolution

I don’t tend to put much meaning into milestones. My birthday is an arbitrary date that just happens to mark when I can say I am older. Likewise, New Year’s day is an arbitrary date that marks the beginning of a new calendar. In all reality, it is a social construct to keep everyone in sync with each other. This is evidenced by leap year. We have to readjust our time keeping to coincide with the time keeping of the Earth.

I know this is all pretty much irrelevant because everything is basically a mental construct of reality and is defined by what we believe. However, my point is that I don’t feel any greater need to determine my resolutions near January 1st than any other time of year. In fact, I think you are more likely to accomplish your goals if you start long before January 1st.

For instance, goals to exercise or eat healthier are generally reserved for after the holidays because people feel it will be easier with less temptations. However, there will always be temptations. By waiting until after the holidays, you are essentially telling yourself that you cannot resist temptations and therefore should not attempt to change habits that are likely to remain the same. Resolution shares the same root word as resolute and resolve. If you really have a resolve to change, why would you wait until New Year’s day to make that change?

Resolution also has the word solution in it. If you are deciding to implement a solution, wouldn’t you want to start right away? Why wait to fix your life or your marriage or your work responsibilities? If you have a solution to a real problem, why would you not want to do it right away?

So this year, I am making one, and only one, resolution. That resolution is to not wait until next year to make changes in my life. If I see something that needs to be changed or fixed or improved, I’m going to start right away. I am going to be resolute and determined in my resolve to be better and to find and implement solutions in my life. I am going to not just make goals and resolutions, but do them.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

I plan to take a break from this blog for a while. I have posted quite a lot in the last few months and although it has helped me figure out some things and focus on positive things, it has also been exhausting. I am extraordinarily honest online and excruciatingly vulnerable. This is good for helping people understand and connect, but it also wears on me emotionally and mentally, which in turn affects me physically.

So I have decided to take about a month off from this blog. I plan on posting about Christ and Christmas on my other blog, servicemission.wordpress.com. So feel free to follow me on there if you’re interested.

Anyway, I wish you all a merry Christmas and happy new year. Remember to not just give presents, but give your presence. Christmas is not about the stuff, it is about the people. Don’t forget that!

Why Wait?

I’m usually a big Christmas person. I love giving to people. I love an excuse to give. And I love loving others and showing them I love them.

This year though, I wasn’t excited like usual. It seemed useless. The presents I bought all year long sit in their boxes, unopened, untouched, unwrapped.

Tonight though, I realized something. I don’t need an excuse to be generous. I don’t need to wait until Thanksgiving to be thankful or until Giving Tuesday to give money to charities or until Christmas to give gifts or until New Year’s day to make resolutions. I can be thankful all year; I can give gifts all year; I can make goals all year. I don’t have to wait for an excuse to do good.

What I like best about Christmas is being Christ-like all the time. What I like best about Christmas is remembering Christ every day. What I like best about Christmas is it doesn’t have to be a one day or one month thing. It can be an every day thing if we just live like Christ was born every day because he was born but more importantly, he is alive. And because he was born and because he does live, every day can be Christmas.

We don’t have to be confined to one day generosity. We don’t have to be confined to one day thankfulness. We can make every day Christmas and every day Thanksgiving if we just allow ourselves to love every day. And that is a beautiful thing.