2014, Thank you. 2015, I’m Ready for you.

As the year draws to a close, I am overwhelmed by the reflections of everything that has transpired.

I think of who I was last New Years Eve, and she seems like such a distant shadow. I look at myself now, and I see so much more than just a change in hair cut and body size.

Its been my conviction for the last few years that everything that happens in my life is relevant. As far as faith goes, I believe not so much in a deity, but more in a path and a way of life (Tao Te Ching. Mostly after I read, “The Tao of Pooh”). Ever since adopting that way of thinking, I’ve lived a happier, more productive and peaceful life (as long as I stay focused and balanced). I see my life as, “I had to experience and learn from this before I could then experience and enjoy that.” When I look back on the events in my life this year, I see exactly that, and it helps me to make sense of it all.

Here’s the highlight reel, otherwise this will turn into a novella.

I’ve learned that my feelings are simply a guide, either through something or towards something new. I don’t apologize for them.I don’t diminish them. I listen to them. I trust them. I’ve become more intuitive as a result and am finding it easier to navigate and deal with whatever life throws my way.

I’ve learned to let go, to relinquish my iron clad control of my life and what happens in it. Through living out situations and experiences this year, I find it better to simply (sometimes) let life happen. Make mistakes. Understand you can’t control everything, get through it and have a laugh later.

I have learned to filter the images and media that I consume. I realized that through social media, I was becoming increasingly overwhelmed by the content in my news feeds and I came to realize that many of them were posting the same upsetting information over and over. Hard enough to see a story once and be traumatized, let alone repeatedly. I also closed any old connections, particularly the kind that post a lot of negativity.

Loving who you are first makes it easier to love other people unconditionally. This year, I learned to be nicer to myself. My self deprecation has gone down considerably, mostly because I’ve learned to love the way I look. Not in a narcissistic way, but in the way that I don’t hold myself up to the social construct of beauty and meltdown that I don’t fit the mold. I love my body, I love my big butt (I cannot lie), and I love my curly hair.  I have said and received more “I love yous” this year from my friends than I ever have before, and I have felt that love stronger than ever, and my gratitude for it is boundless.

Its okay to fall in love. Its okay to express that love     (insert: express that love for the right reasons, meaning express it because its real and its true, not because you want the other person to say it back, because that may be the case, and that’s okay too). Its okay to lose your balance for love. Its okay to know and not know what you want. Its all an experiment anyway, and we learn as we g(r)o(w). For instance, I use to think that equality in a relationship meant that I had to split absolutely everything down the middle 50/50.  Instead, I see now that equality to me means both partners bringing their strengths and weaknesses to the table and sharing in  the responsibilities of building a life together. Its not about keeping track or score, or worrying. Its about finding your flow with another person (as long as there is flow to be found).

I learned I don’t need to chase affection or people.

Reading is the greatest thing. It serves as a perfect time out and check out when the world gets to be  too much. I read more books this year than in years past, and frequent HelloGiggles daily for their articles and insights.

This year also brought the birth of my two beautiful nephews and a 3rd birthday for my sweetpea niecey pie. My best friend is a mom for the first time,and my other best friend is a mom times two. Getting to be part of their lives has been amazing, and I live for the pictures and videos that get sent to my phone daily, reflecting how different they already seem from the day before.

I maintain that everything happens for a reason, and that I trust the path I am on. I am getting to know myself, I am still growing, learning, changing my mind and creating my life. I’m looking forward to big changes in 2015, like finally living somewhere that I haven’t before, and embracing new found freedoms that come with that. I also know what I want to do when I grow up, so I’m excited to begin working toward that goal.

I’m positively ecstatic for next year. Atop my already being achieved goals (financially speaking) I have 4 friends celebrating weddings next year, two of which I have the honor of being a part of in the bridal party sense.

2015 is definitely shaping up to be a year of big step forwards and celebrations.

This year was the foundation that I needed to build for the great things yet to come.

Thank you for reading and commenting and participating with me this year in this format.

Love and Gratitude,

JJ