Next Monday is Christmas so this will be my last post of the year. First of all, thank you, thank you, thank you. It’s been a real pleasure to hear your feedback in person, in personal emails, and also in the comment section. I’ll admit I’m always so shocked that people read this. I sometimes forget this blog is not my own personal journal! But your encouragement has helped more than you know.
At the end of each year, I like to re-evaluate my commitments and determine if they still hold value and importance to me. I personally think we should always give ourselves the room to see if our perspectives have changed or evolved before we blindly commit to something. All this to say, I remain committed to this blog for another year. I will continue to write because I love doing it. My schedule may change next year, so my writing day may also need to adapt, but I will keep you all posted on that.
So as the final weeks of 2017 approach us, I think it’s so important to reflect on what we’ve learned. And because we are not all together right now sitting by a fire, drinking hot cocoa and snuggled in blankets, I guess I’ll go first. Although I encourage you to take some time to yourself before the end of the year and give yourself time to reflect.
The main thing I got from this year, is the importance of paying attention. In my case, this refers to literally every aspect of my life. When I stopped paying attention to what my body was telling me, it literally revolted on me. When I started paying attention to what interested or excited me, I discovered I quite like being in the kitchen, baking! When I noticed that my “to-do” list and the stress I got from it was my own making, I was suddenly freed up.
The reality is, for the sake of our well-being and the well-being of others, we have to pay attention. And it’s not enough to just observe what it happening, we need to act too. This year I’ve heard countless folks talk about how they feel so exhausted by the news or the state of the world. I totally hear you. It’s been a lot. It’s been triggering and traumatic. And if you were not personally effected by it, you are in a privileged group, and that group needs to be bending over backwards to help their brothers and sisters of the human race. So rest up friends, because paying attention requires you to act.
This year I could have been tempted to put my head in the sand regarding the blatant racism, islamophobia and sexism spewing from the president’s mouth. Well, I might have been too frightened as a child to stand up to bullies, but as an adult I will never again allow bullies to get a pass based on my own fear of speaking up. A lot of my own courage came from the massive number of women that spoke up about their personal history of sexual harassment and/or assaults. There is power in numbers. I know what it’s like to not be believed, and I will continue to applaud and gain strength from those with the courage to raise their voices.
This year I learned that anger doesn’t have to scary, especially as a woman. We can be so afraid of our own anger. But the reality is anger is powerful. But we must use that anger for good. To give a voice to others, to hold space for others, and to take a stand against the many injustices our nation is facing. Anger has forced me to act, instead of remain complacent.
The last thing I learned this year while attempting to pay better attention is that we are all just trying to figure it out and heal. We have different ways of attempting to heal, some mask their pain with bravado, others by filling up every inch of their life with activities, or with substances, or by shopping, or by eating or by numbing out on TV. But we are the same. And when we pay better attention to that person who is taking too long at the ATM, or in line at the grocery story, we might see that they are struggling too. They are also just trying to figure it out. When we are able to look at our neighbors with compassion instead of irritation, we notice we aren’t that different.
So as 2018 fast approaches, I feel nothing but gratitude for the lessons I’ve learned and the many I’ve yet to learn in the coming year. It’s been a pleasure to have you with me on this journey, and I look forward to what comes next!
Happy New Year!
Take care of YOU.