Though I generally find myself in the school of thought that “anytime is a good time for giving” and “anytime is right for renewal,” I nevertheless find myself over-shopping for gifts at Christmas time and daydreaming about radical New Year’s changes that I’ll implement when January arrives. Such is life. Despite my best efforts to be completely unique, I often find myself riding the same train as everyone else.
That being said, this is not always a bad thing. Being part of community and culture is also deeply satisfying and fulfills me in many ways. In fact, the older I get, the more I focus on consciously cultivating a connection to these things, particularly on a local level.
This past year, my only child turned 11 years old. I myself turned 33. My son is balancing in a delicate limbo between adolescence and childhood, and it’s new ground for me in terms of parenting. In the past decade, I’ve made major gains in terms of becoming who I am and knowing what I want (hooray for 30’s!). I have beautifully refined the life-changing art of Saying “No.” I have been working hard to continually chill the f*ck out because I have learned over and over again that the alternative is extremely damaging to myself, my health, and my relationships.
When I look at the calendar on my desk and see that the new year is fast approaching, what commitments come to mind for me? Well, I just want to be myself more. Again. Still. This is one of my favorite things to work on. It is a project that demands constant attention and work, and the environment around it is ever-changing to boot. I’ve found that the ways to best continue forward on this mission are simple, though not necessarily easy: Stay home a lot. Go outside. Say no to things that don’t feel good. Spend time only with people who fill my cup. Rest. Relax. Remember what doesn’t really matter (so many things). Give fewer f*cks. Learn new things.
It seems that for me, the most efficient process of self-illumination is an alchemical balance between total comfort and learning new things. At home, I feel most like myself. I’m comfortable there, I’m inspired to write and to create and ideas are born in my heart. Yet when I go out and learn something new, something completely foreign, I become more of myself. New petals unfold. And then I can bring these petals home with me, to my incubation space.
My commitment then is clear. I must be myself more. How does this look in action? It is slow and steady, small movements each day. It is not profound and it is not necessarily wild. It means paying attention to the process, not so much the outcome. It means speaking my truth through words, but also through my actions. I will spend my time on valuable things, like love, inspiration, education, and sleep. I will spend my energy on things that give back; exhaustion is preferable to depletion. I will write, I will sign my son up for baseball, I will put down my phone, I will listen to what he says. I will marvel at the uniqueness of each human life, and I will value—so very much—my own.
Photo Credit: Martin Vysoudil