No, I didn’t control the holiday. That’s when I let go. It was peaceful. Fairly quiet. I actually read an entire novel based on a true story – my favourite holiday activity. My fun-list included baking cookies, sleeping, eating, sketching, not opening my laptop, reading and playing with my daughter. The pity is just that there’s no such thing as a long enough holiday when you’re enjoying yourself.
What else happened?
We celebrated Christmas, Christ, each other and, of course, the perfect roast leg of lamb we had for dinner. I didn’t control that either, haha!
My father received a pacemaker two days before Christmas Eve and he has recovered nicely, reviving his sparky sense of humour.
My little girl moved up to the next class at playschool and I refuse to admit that I have joined the annual chorus of parents sniffing, “They sure grow up too fast!”
Technical problems came after New Year’s. My hard drive crashed and so 2017 starts with a new laptop. It’s like an extra Christmas present. Bonus: I still have all my data.
Reflections, decisions and actions ahead
Most importantly, I’ve made a few self-sabotaging mistakes and had some enlightening truths come my way over the last two weeks. A few loving friends gave me straightforward feedback and made me think. Sometimes you don’t realise how badly you’re screwing yourself until someone points it out – know what I mean? No better time than a New Year to figure it out, right?
As I am naturally given to reflection, it’s not hard to go from productive thinking to obsessing. The thing is that when I’m obsessing over something, it’s usually an issue that I have not made a decision about. When someone makes a comment about my appearance, for instance, I can either obsess about it or make the decision to let it go and tell myself, hey, that’s just one person’s opinion. It’s not true and it’s not who I am and that’s the end of that. Obsession cannot spark constructive problem solving or resolution.
Obsession versus productive thinking
When I reflect on new things I want to do with my life and new directions I would like to explore, fear holds me back. Fear and excuses such as waiting for someone else to somehow give me permission or to say it’s okay. Waiting for an opportunity instead of creating one or simply asking relevant role players. Procrastinating when preparation will move me forward. I obsess about everything that could go wrong, instead of dreaming about all the possibilities of a positive outcome and planning helpful methods to ensure that it happens.
Why? Why do I sabotage myself? What is the payoff?
The payoff is that I get to hide in my comfort zone and indulge the familiar bully that still visits my mind. I get to avoid picking myself up and actually doing what I really want to do. The payoff is not working for me anymore. It’s over. Time for change.
Here’s how I plan to take better control of my life in 2017:
(If any of these ring a bell for you or scare you, please consider why and what each of these points would look like in your own life. You’re welcome to share your thoughts in the comments below. Let’s encourage each other.)
I will value my own decisions regarding my family, emotions, relationships, work and spiritual life).
I will value the fact that I matter to others, whether I think so or not (I will think so!).
I will set healthy boundaries in every area of my life and respect myself enough to stick to them. No more giving in.
I will enjoy being myself without fear and without apology, no matter what other people think.
I will be confident in my ability to pursue and accomplish meaningful goals.
I am going to keep trying new things without fear of failure. (Learning to sew, doing a pottery class and writing a story.)
I will laugh at myself more. It’s good stress relief.
I will not feel guilty or pressured when I rest, relax and take breaks.
I will do the things I really would like to do: Sing more, write more, paint more, read more, help others, enjoy life.
I am going to make a difference.
I am going to be mindful of what I think, how I feel, what I do and why so that I can improve all of it.
I am going to live out my faith, believing that God is always in control, that He knows best. I will trust Him even when I don’t understand.
I will notice the little things more. Kind words, raindrops, stars, moonlight, hugs, all the various evidences of God’s love and the love of my family.
I will not let go of gratitude. It makes life beautiful.
I will not lose hope. There’s always hope, even if it takes a different shape to what you expected.
I will not blame myself for the past or look negatively on my past. It has formed me, taught me and I can now use it to help others.
I will continue taking care of my health and make the most of it. It’s a gift.
I will give myself room to grow, to learn, to make mistakes, to not be okay when I’m not okay, because it is okay.
I will not try to do or cope with everything alone. That’s what friends are for and I will ask for and accept help when I need it.
I will try not to forget this list! That’s what readers are for…
What are your plans for 2017? Share in the comments below.