“This contradiction, and this tension . . . it never goes away. And if you think that achieving something, if you think that solving something, if you think a career or a relationship will quiet that voice, it will not. If you think that happiness means total peace, you will never be happy. Peace comes from the acceptance of the part of you that can never be at peace. It will always be in conflict. If you accept that, everything gets a lot better.” —Joss Whedon, 2013 Wesleyan University Commencement Address
Hello 2018. Yes I know I’m opening it up with a heavy, thought-provoking quote, but that is exactly where I sit at the start of this year. It is a reminder for all that I’ve been absorbing into my heart and soul over the past 365 days that were 2017.
2017 was a year that challenged and changed me. I spent a lot of time fighting contradictions and tensions within myself.
I found out that through it all, I have to embrace it. All of me and this crazy ride we’re on. Embrace the messy me that I am and note that happiness does not come from stability, but from creating pockets of gratitude in the chaos. Living has felt easier this way. It’s felt a lot like living, instead of waiting or wanting to live.
I realized this is the first time in 3 years that my little family of 3 has been together for an entire year.
Essentially, my husband and I have just completed our first year of team-parenting. 2017 we’ve been having an in-person, all the time marriage. It has not been easy to dig down into the work of it. There has been a part of me that wants to make up for 3 years of separation with 1 year of togetherness. See how that math does not equal out right?
No- it has been about taking small steps forward together and in my own heart. It has been about patience and a hard look within to break down the large walls I had built for protection around myself. It’s been quieting the need to do, do, DO and roll instead with where we are.
It’s far easier to work in the present than to continue to be fraught with worry over the future.
We are where we are- in a foreign country, together, living and loving and sorting ourselves out. What felt like a tremendous hardship is now a chapter in which we’ve been forced to unite.
I’m discovering I have been a check-in-the-box person for too long. Trying x,y, z and hoping for a final result. Life is not a final test that I can pass- the hard part, the joyous part, is showing up day in and out and trying out new equations. Testing out new ways to do things and working with the one that feels right at the time. Letting it go when it no longer serves, releasing it so that I can move on.
This is where I find myself in 2018. I’m leaving a time of weariness and work to enjoy the fruits of that labor. That doesn’t mean the work is over- but it does mean my soul has found a new way to quiet itself. I’m growing responsible for myself. It’s a whole lot like I’m finally finding emotional maturity at the ripe age of 31. I know I don’t have control of much, but I can nurture my spirit. It’s now about choosing to live, or waiting to live. I can work to get better, or I can keep blaming our circumstances.
Each year I choose a word to theme the year, a summation of the hopes and dreams I have for myself. The past three years I had a little ABC theme working, and I didn’t focus on one- I chose three for three years!
2015: Attempt, Bliss Change
2016: Dream, Enough, Focus
2017: Grace, Humor, Intention
All of those words served me well, and I feel like each year they took me to wonderful places. But in 2018 a big three no longer serves. I have to continue releasing what does not serve and infusing life instead with what does, and being ultimately okay with the knowledge that changes from day to day, month to month!
This year it’s time to flow. It’s is another round of the good work that must be done to live the way I want to. I’ve gained so much more clarity and enjoyment from my days when I flow with them, instead of fight them. It’s where this muddy journey of being a mom and military spouse meets. Moving with the tide, because there are moments where it is more perilous to move against it.
With flow I am not pretending- I do not know yet how to flow well, but I’m willing to learn. I’m seeking to find a way to keep leaning into our current chapter.
Do you choose a word for your year? What motivates you going into a new year?