2015: The Learning Curve

I’m a historian (read: nerd) at heart and firmly believe that you can’t look toward the future without first appreciating the past. Since this is a new year and a new blog, I’m looking back at 2015 to count my blessings before I make too many plans for 2016.

I generally don’t make New Year’s resolutions. However, if I had done so for 2015, I would be claiming victory right now. Though it provided many humbling experiences, I finished it well and count it a success.

Here are five ways that I showed 2015 who’s boss.

I made Time for RElaxation, Fun and Enjoyment

I tend to be someone who is busy all the time. About 95% of that time, I’m doing something good, worthwhile and productive. While this is a great thing, I had a stunning realization that I generally take ZERO time to relax, enjoy myself and have fun.

It was May when this thought struck me and with summer quickly approaching, I decided I wasn’t going to waste it by being too busy. One way I seized this opportunity was by going to the beach. Every weekend.

Once Saturday or Sunday rolled around, I’d jump into my favorite swim suit, pack my beach bag and pink floaty tube in my car, beckon anyone who wanted to come and park myself at my favorite beach for a whole day (or nearly). I blasted through nearly 2 bottles of sunscreen. It was glorious.

beach

Here’s a few things I re-discovered when I allowed myself to slow down:

  • The beach is the bomb.
  • Ballet class is more fantabulous than I remember.
  • Country music. I can’t believe I shunned it for as long as I did. Because Zac Brown Band.
  • Food. Good food, great food. New food, comfort food, different food. Because food. It’s just a deliciously good thing.
  • Bonfires and late nights watching the stars make the world alright.
  • Reading actual books is heaven.

I found my bold and sassy MOJO again

Everybody has MOJO: it’s the confidence and sense of purpose that drives you and makes you feel inspired. It’s a weird little thing. It comes and goes as life makes many twists and turns. While it can be quiet and subtle, it can also be bold and sassy.

While this year brought countless and HUGE blessings, there were also a few incredible heartbreaks like I’ve not experienced in several years that brought me to my knees. While my quiet and subtle MOJO never left, my bold and sassy MOJO was utterly silent for a while.

Frankly, I didn’t know I could sink as low as I did. And though I was stuck there for a bit while I learned a few things about life and myself, I didn’t unpack my bags and stay there.

Eventually, I rose from the ashes and found my bold, sassy and classy MOJO again. Lately, it looks like a short bobbed haircut, lots of red nail polish, and speaking my mind a bit more freely.

I made my health a priority

This past spring, I received some unpleasant health news and it was a bit of a wake up call. While I rarely sway from my healthy living plan, this was something that came out of left field and emotionally knocked me off kilter for a bit.

Though I’m completely fine and haven’t had to make any drastic changes to my life, I no longer hesitate to make room in my budget for whatever it costs to make sure I’m following doctor’s orders and feeling good. The results have been priceless.

I am naturally a giver, a volunteer, and a helper who has a hard time not doing things for other people. However, I’ve learned that just as it’s important to take care of others, it’s even more important that I take care of myself to make sure I’ll be around to see my husband, children and grandchildren someday.

I learned to stand up for myself

I’m a huge people pleaser. I like meeting new people and making real connections with them. I desire for them to like me. I also dislike injustice and don’t hesitate to stand up for someone I know when I witness them being victimized or put down.

When it comes to myself, however, I am my worst advocate. Until recently, I’d clam up and back down when someone was verbally berating me or questioning my character or actions. The last thing I would do was stand up for myself.

One day though, after praying for a while that the Lord would give me the words and courage to speak up, an opportunity presented itself. Though it wasn’t perfect, I confidently and boldly communicated my point and garnered the respect of the person I was speaking with.

Since then, it’s become a more common occurrence. While some people are a little surprised to hear me stand up for myself, I have the respect of those around me.

Most importantly though: I respect myself and realize I deserve the same justice that I demand for other people.

mug

I decided to be present

Because I’m someone who likes to use my time wisely, I tend to think about the next thing I’ll be doing while I’m presently doing something else. Unless it’s something that I’m extremely interested in, a part of my brain is always distracted.

Though some people would call this “forward thinking,” it really became a problem for me because even though I was physically present wherever I was or whoever I was with, I wasn’t mentally present. I realized this year that by being slightly distracted, I was robbing myself and the people I was with of the fun, enjoyment or experience of being together.

Now, I certainly haven’t mastered this and still find myself “thinking ahead” more often than I should. However, I’m now living more in the moment than before and it’s been like a breath of fresh air!

While I made progress in these five areas in 2015, I haven’t perfected them. However, the point is that I made progress. I’m trying and will continue trying through 2016.

The difference this year? I’ll just have a little more fun while I do it. 😉

Happy New Year!

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