When things don’t feel different

Usually this time of year has me reflecting on what’s happened and thinking about what’s to come.

There are the deep forms of reflection, which I love, and then the magazine version of “new year, new you!” Barf.

But not 2016. Not now. Unlike most years, I have no sense of rebirth and new beginnings.

Look, a peaceful cedar swamp.
Look, a peaceful cedar swamp.

I don’t feel much like reflecting specifically on the year beyond considering I’m not so much interested in thinking about what went wrong and what went right. That’s always going on in my head. At this point, I don’t feel like thinking about what I want out of 2017 beyond what I’ve thought of already because I’m focused on the moment.

I have finally, truly learned in 2016 we bring our baggage with us, and that shit is tough to dump.

I know because I tried. For six years I tried to get rid of emotional baggage only to learn I was still carrying it with me, and I didn’t even realize it until I had to look it in the face. At which point I maybe got rid of it, but I’m still not sure and that’s OK. This to me is a realization to celebrate. I feel free because I can finally admit I don’t know what I’m doing.

While I did make some strides this year when it came to decreasing my penchant for outlandish expectations (goals = good, ridiculous expectations = not so much), this doesn’t feel tied into the calendar year.

I’m not going to hold myself hostage to a number to enact change and then be disappointed when I don’t do things exactly as I’d imagined in all my New Year hope.

This isn’t a call to have no goals or expectations. It’s just going a bit easier on myself because I’ve gone way overboard for most of my life. DO ALL THE THINGS RIGHT NOW! I WANT THINGS TO LOOK THIS BEAUTIFUL WAY! After rushing forward at an unsustainable pace, I’d fall over and weep about how I can’t do it. That doesn’t work.

Life is messy, and real change is slow and difficult and doesn’t fit neatly on a calendar. I’ve got goals, for sure, but my primary goal is to put myself in the position to do the best I can and let the outcome fall where it will. Like I did in this year’s Marine Corps Marathon.

Going into 2017, I’m still me. Now that I can accept that, I can get on with life.

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