I always feel as if I am mentally paddling onto this huge wave during the week between Christmas and New Year’s. I know something big is coming and I should paddle hard, but I can’t fully believe it. I sit in denial for a few days, avoiding the whole “New Year’s ‘Resolution'” thing as I put away Christmas presents.
But it’s coming. Turn the page, the chapter’s ending.
How do I sum up a year that seemed to go by so quickly? If I could sum up 2016 with “nuggets” of wisdom, it’s the following 6 things. If one of them speaks to you or is something you needed to hear, then I will have done my job. Here we go:
1. Don’t be afraid to travel.
This one has more than one meaning: My husband and I were supposed to go to Paris and Brussels this year, but in the wake of the attacks on both cities, we abruptly changed our itinerary to go to Italy instead. My husband wasn’t as keen on going to Italy as he was with the original brewery-filled plans of Brussels, but he and I fell in love with the golden, cobblestoned roads of Italy much more than we anticipated.
It renewed my faith, which brings me to #2……
2. In this crazy world, don’t be afraid to connect to a Higher Power.
When I remind myself that I’m really not in charge, I can always feel a burden lifting from my chest and my shoulders. Whatever you believe in, I hope you come to realize something that I have: there’s something much greater than us, and when things look ridiculous and insane, take a deep breath and realize that we don’t get to see all of the cards.
I still need reminding of this on a daily basis, but it’s a good practice to remind myself.
3. There is nothing more important than taking care of your health.
I know, I know, you’re probably thinking, “she’s always harping on and on about exercise and nutrition!” but I feel as if I have earned my right to do so. Growing up in a household with a father who had kidney disease brought me staring in the face of illness many times. Illness does not just impact the person, it impacts the lives of those they love the most.
When it comes down to it, that football jersey or new car or top-of-the-line cell phone isn’t going to give you more years with your loved ones. Furthermore, being healthy means making small, seemingly insignificant choices on a regular basis that add up over time.
I attend a lot of funerals (it’s part of the job as church musician), and I’ve yet to hear a eulogy from a priest or a loved one that goes like this: “Rose was a beautiful person, and in her last days of suffering, she wished she hadn’t taken care of her health when she had the chance.” The fullness of life comes from being present to it, as strongly and with as much life as you can, for as long as you are able to, God willing. I’ve heard it said that “people spend their health to gain wealth, then spend their wealth to try and re-gain their health.” I couldn’t have said it better myself.
Health-related New Year’s “Resolutions” seem to be frowned upon lately, but I will never stop preaching about how important it is to take care of yourself. I firmly believe that I am writing these words for you, whomever you are as you read them. Which brings me to #4……
4. Surround yourself with the people who see how amazing you are.
One of the best things I ever did for myself was begin to take care of my mental health. I read personal development books every single day, and I now choose the people in my life with intention. It’s tough, but it’s true. Choosing the people in your life can make a world of difference in how you feel.
5. Dance to the beat of your own song. Be different, and be okay with it.
I’ve never felt like a normal person. I had three part-time jobs in high school, and I worked the opposite hours of everyone else. (I still do.) My friends didn’t understand why I couldn’t just take the weekend off because I was playing church services at two different churches. Now, as an adult, I still feel like the outsider….but lately I’m working on embracing that. If you feel like you never fit in, then that’s okay. Color outside those lines, and don’t be afraid to boldly live. Never apologize for being exactly who you’re supposed to be.
6. Set goals for 2017, and stick to them. Never stop growing, and never stop looking for another way to make a positive impact. Forgive yourself when you miss the mark, and get right back to work.
Enough said. 🙂
Are you ready for 2017? I am.