One year ago today, I wrote about the year to come, and the things I wanted to offload from my life. On this New Year’s Day 2013, I find myself reflecting instead on what I gained. Like every year, this last one was full of ups and down, joys and sorrows. It was also a year of tremendous growth. These are some of the lessons life sent my way.
- I came to understand that I can love and still let go – that, in fact, letting go may be a pre-requisite for loving deeply. I saw that love expressed in actions is often truer and more profound than love expressed in words. Perhaps most important, I came to believe that I am deserving of love, especially my own. Wonderful things may happen to you, but they mean little unless you open your heart.
- The people I love and respect see me much differently than I have seen myself, and their reviews are overwhelmingly more positive. In looking through others’ less critical eyes, I found the strength to stand up for myself, to trust my voice and to dismiss the judgments of those whose values I do not share.
- I learned, slowly, to set aside my fears and to enter the world with greater joy and expectation. Approaching the unknown with curiosity instead of apprehension is not only much less stressful, it’s much more life-affirming.
- Perspective can be fleeting, and so life showers us with opportunities to regain it. This guidance doesn’t always come from the direction you expect or in the form you wanted. I confirmed my belief that very little in life is random, but just because you can see the signs doesn’t mean you’re reading them correctly.
- In mid-life, your body does bizarre things over which you have little control. There are dozens of things that can make you feel old; it’s up to you to find and embrace those things that make you feel young.
- My therapist was right: guys really are flirting with me; I just don’t often notice. I’ve known for a while that paying more attention to my immediate vicinity would greatly improve my memory. But apparently I’ve needed a sexier motivator. And so I will continue my quixotic quest to be exactly where I am at each moment, taking it all in.
I step with great anticipation into this year, bringing with me a new understanding: that it takes the entire spectrum of life to bring us to our full potential. So whatever happens, bring it on. In the end, it’s all good. Happy New Year from Women Overboard!