Reflecting on a Year of Change

Me and my dog

I can honestly say I’m ending this year a different person than the one who started it.

It’s been a journey… a very different journey than the one I’ve been on most of my life.

In the past, I’ve always been pulled forward by something. For as long as I can remember I’ve had a drive to succeed. Whether it was school, career, business, fitness, or motherhood. It was always about accomplishing something. Improving. Being successful. Making the most of whatever I was doing. The journey always had an identified end goal and my time was spent working toward that goal.

I suppose that’s still been the case this year, but with a very different end goal. This year, rather than striving for success or achievement in some area of my life, it’s been more about finding myself and learning what really makes me happy. It’s a very different place for me, even though I think I’ve always been focused on being happy. It’s just that in the past happiness was always tied to some other goal—i.e. when I get THERE then I’ll be happy (and successful).

This year it’s been more about letting happiness find me.

At times it’s been unsettling because it has all felt very unclear. Not knowing where you’re going is an uncomfortable place for someone who has always known exactly where she was headed (or at least thought she knew!)

There have been many lessons on this new journey.

Learning how to be more present. Learning to accept what is. Being okay with things exactly as they are. Learning to be comfortable with the unknown and having no firm destination. And not measuring my progress toward a specific destination or goal, and rating my success according to that progress.

The other day my husband told me my car needed a new battery. My honest reaction in the moment was “OK, I haven’t had to spend much money on my car in the 5 years I’ve owed it, so OK, it needs a battery. No big deal.” I remember thinking the next day how different that reaction was from the one I probably would have had a year ago. At that time my first thought probably would have been about money. How I hated to spend money on things like that. How it was money I didn’t have (which is ridiculous because I did have it, but that’s where my mind always went, no matter how much money I had). It was a scarcity-based mindset. One that was ingrained in me over many years. Ironically, that message often came from people preaching an abundance mindset. People whose message is always about getting more… more clients, more money, more success. I bought into it for years. In fact, I taught it, too. Until I realized the flip-side is that you never feel like you have enough. It’s taken a lot for me to unlearn this. But it’s been well worth the time and effort.

I’ve spent a lot of time alone this year.

Walking, running, and doing a lot of reading and journaling. Being open to discovering what really makes me happy. What feels good, and what’s simply fun. And studying and embracing—not just reading about or being taught—the wisdom of the Tao, letting go, abundance, and accepting what is. Not always trying to get somewhere else. Not always trying to get more clients, make more money, or be more successful. Just being. Doing my work with the clients who have shown up (and enjoying it much more). Enjoying time with my family and my dogs. Taking care of myself. Listening to my body. Sleeping in and not feeling guilty about it. Re-evaluating many things in my life. Simplifying. And spending time in deep thought. It’s funny how not spending all your time doing frees up time to think… really think.

It’s been life changing.

The simple observation of how I reacted to needing a new car battery was a small reminder of how far I’ve come. Another came in the form of a Facebook comment from a former client. She commented on a photo taken of me with my dog last week at the beach (that’s the photo above), that I looked happier than she’d ever seen me. Quite honestly, that simple comment really made me stop and think. Then I realized why. That photo is of a different person. A happier person? Yes, in many ways. But mostly, just a different person. Yes, still a person who sometimes struggles with trying to figure out where she’s going. Yes, a person who is still learning to be OK with not knowing the destination. But a person who has learned a lot this past year about how to just be, and as a result, is happier.

For that I’m thankful.

I’m also learning not to take life so seriously.

To have a better balance between work and play. To have fun. To just live life.

A few years ago I bought a clock for my office. It hangs on the wall above my computer. The following three words are repeated around the clock face: live love laugh. After looking at that clock every day for years, I realized today as I was writing this that that’s my intention for 2013… to live love and laugh each and every day.

Not to try and live love and laugh more… for that would once again be falling into the trap that I have to be, do, and have more.

Nope, just to live love and laugh… period.

 

About Debbie

After spending 32 years in marketing, Debbie now spends her time blogging, teaching online courses, doing volunteer pet therapy, and encouraging others to follow a more inspired path through life.

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