The past 12-months
I stopped making New Year's resolutions a while back. I have a value wheel that I use to guide my life decisions and keep everything in balance. But, I do select a word of the year.
Last year, my word of the year was: PATIENCE.
There is no science to it. I go with what I feel I need most of for the year to come. When I selected the word I had no clue what lied in store for me in 2019 and how much patience I would need to get through the next 12-months.
2019 was the year I got divorced. I lost my husband. I lost my home. I lost my dog. I lost his family. I lost friends. I lost my back molar after two-failed root canals. My grandfather passed away. I lost a lover. I lost my car after it became broken with no chance for repair. But more than all of that, I lost hope. I lost my zest for life. I lost my drive. I lost passion and purpose. I lost 15-pounds but not in a healthy way. On my worst days, I lost my willingness to live.
I didn't know what "rock bottom" felt like. I know now. There were too many mornings to count when I talked myself through the daily rituals of our lives. "Tiffany, you can do this. You can get out of bed. Okay, good. Now you need to shower and wash your hair. Great. Now you need to eat a little something. Now you need to walk to your car and drive to work and try really hard."
Mornings were one thing, but the evenings were quite another. There were nights when I would just pace the kitchen, feeling like I was crawling out of my skin. I was too sad to do anything productive, but too wound up to sleep straight through the night. Exercise helped but it released so many emotions it was difficult. Have you ever sobbed on a treadmill? Yup, talk about multi-tasking.
the next 12-months
Something shifted for me at the end of December. I took some time off work to decompress and reassess who I was and who I wanted to be. I worked on my goals, my values and priorities. I wrote it all down. I started making summer plans and decluttered and reorganized much of my home. I got back in to the practice of medication and worked on self-awareness. I started this blogging site. Most importantly, I stopped focusing on my woes 24/7 and opened myself up to other people and how I could be there for them. I stopped waiting for family and friends to reach out to me and I started to reach out to them to talk, to listen, to make plans. It felt good.
My word for 2020 is: GRATITUDE. Aristotle once said, "it is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light." When we are grateful for what we have we see the light. I am blessed to have my freedom and to learn how to live alone again. I know that the former friends were there at a point in my life when they were supposed to be there. I will get a tooth implant - good as new. I miss my Grandfather, but so happy I had a man like him in my life to show me what it meant to live a live an honest and purposeful life. I have a new reliable car that will not break down every month. I now know what true love feels like and I am grateful for that because I will recognize it the next go around. And, I am grateful for all the the good that will come my way in 2020. And, I will be grateful for the not so good that will come my way because with it will be another opportunity to respond with better self-care, more awareness and hopefully less "down time."
what is your word of the year?
Some words to get you thinking about your word of the year. It doesn't have to mean anything to anyone, but you. Go with your gut. Don't overthink it. Which word speaks to you? What do you want more of in your life in 2020?
Happy New Year! ~ Tiffany
The first blog post.
I am starting at a blank screen with nothing to say.
I am a writer.
That is not a very good start to things. (I'm laughing BTW). Insert smiley face emoji.
Why is starting something new so scary, I wonder?
Three things come to mind:
3. Risk of Failure (and success)
It is natural to feel off balance when starting something new. It is like a baby learning to walk for the first time. They fumble around. They stand up and fall and stand up and walk across the room. They look back at where they started almost in amazement that they just did what they did. Although they cannot verbalize it, they probably feel an overwhelming amount of excitement and incredible fear.
When I did on-site organizing, one of the first questions clients would ask me is, "where should we start?" My response was typically, "what is causing the most stress right now?" If the client said, their bills were not getting paid on time we would start with the office or mail. If the client said they are sick of going out to eat we would start in the kitchen. If the client said they wanted to improve their love life we would start in the bedroom.
Where we started was not as important as the why. Eventually, we knew we would get to every room. The reason why is important because it will motivate you to continue even when you do not "feel like" organizing. If the reason why is to pay bills on time to save money or to cook at home to lose weight or to enjoy intimacy with your partner then those are pretty good reasons for not giving up the fight.
Remember your why and dive in to something new. It might look a little messy getting started but that is okay.
Ahh, Judgement. What will your family or friends think when you tell them you are starting something new? Half of them will cheer you along and the other half will tear you down. This half will question why you are doing what you are doing. They will tell you a better way of doing it. They may even tell you that you will not succeed. Just remember that this judgement is THEIR issue, not yours. They are fearful of going all in. They are fearful of the uncertainty. You cannot control how people will react to your decisions, but you can control how their words influence you. Let their hurtful words go in one ear and out the other. Don't give them any power and remember your why.
I joking tell people that there is no reason to pass judgement on me because I have already judged myself three times as much as they ever could. No lie. The self-judgement is actually the hardest to control. My insecurities begin to surface and I question if I am good enough, smart enough, do I deserve this, what if I fail, how did it get this bad, what is wrong with me, I will never have it figured out and the self-judgement talk goes on and on and on.
What I will tell you is to let the negative words, the phrases, the self-judgement out. Holding it in is just toxic. Then, it helps to befriend myself. I think, "would I say these horrible things to a friend?" Absolutely not, so why am I saying these things to myself? I reframe my thinking and call it like I see it. I say, "Yes, this is very scary. I have no idea of the outcome and I know this will not be perfect, but at least I am trying and I will figure it all out as I go." Give it a shot and let me know how it goes.
Risk of Failure (and success)
The fear of failure. By far one of my biggest fears. I remember when I told a business parter that I was divorced. It was pretty evident since my last name changed to my maiden name. He commented on how strong I was for "holding it all together" at work despite the hardship in my personal life. I actually had to laugh because I didn't think I was holding it together at all. I thanked him and said I don't talk about it much because I see my divorce as shameful and a failure. You know what he said to me? He said, "I never would put the words 'Tiffany' and 'failure' in the same sentence."
What he said moved me deeply. I will never forget it. And, I remember what he said every single time I am afraid to do something because of risk of failure. I will even let you borrow the phrase he said to me, all you have to do is insert your name. There is no such thing as failure as long as lessons are learned that will help you grow in to the person you are meant to be. Sometimes the lessons are learned quickly and sometimes it can take years of grief and reflection to learn the lessons, regardless they are there if you look for them.
Deep down I think we are all afraid of success and that is really what prevents us from going "all in." What if we succeed, then what? If we organize our home or grow a startup business or travel the world or retire at age 30, then what? I think we are all chasing a carrot or two. My carrot is to live somewhere warm year-round, be able to walk to the beach and work from home. And those carrots are actually pretty attainable within a short period of time, but I wonder - what then? If I reach my goals and am not dead yet, then do I just throw in the towel. Hell no. Then you just find new passions and new goals and new dreams. Maybe I help the homeless build huts on the beach or figure out how to travel the US by train - whatever. We grow, we evolve, we find new exciting paths with new exciting people and carry on.
Please don't be afraid of achieving success. When you give back to the world what your gifts are and accept the success humbly and with grace then you are living out your purpose.
The answer is, Yes. The question is am I judging myself and feeling a bit overwhelmed and afraid this blog site will fall flat on its face or even more afraid that it will take off and be hugely popular? Yes. Absolutely. All of the above. But, you know what we do it anyways because its what we call "living."
What are you going to get started on?