The New Year is rapidly becoming one of my favorite times of the year. It feels to me like this portal between worlds, old and new. Past and future. To stand on the cusp and be able to glance back in reflections with one turn of the head, and a peek forward in hopeful preparations for what’s to come with another. You know that the portal won’t be open for long, you can sense that it was never meant to be permanent, so for these moments you just keep turning your head back and forth, back and forth, while it lasts. And finally you allow yourself to come away with what you’ve seen and all you’ve felt in the moments spent gazing into the portal, and you begin to ponder what to do with all of it.
Some you’ll learn from, those memories of the past that played back to you like a movie. There was so much you forgot about, there was so much that you’ll never forget, and there’s some that still may not make sense, yet. For me I can see the little moments just as clearly as the big ones. As I watched last year from here in the present I began to see that over all there were some major events in each season, and that the lessons learned seem to correlate to the theme of that seasons. Winter was where it all began for us last year, Justin and I arrived in our new destination of Syracuse, New York with high hopes and little expectations. We had no jobs, very little household goods, no friends or family near by. All we could do was trust in ourselves, and slowly but surely get to work one step at a time to make this foreign place our new home.
When I think of winter, I think of hibernation, withdrawal, and solitude. As cold as these words may sound, no pun intended, I am starting to think of them in another light. I see winter as a season of “return”. Returning to one’s self, withdrawing into the soul to take stock of what you need and what you no longer need. To me it’s a very spiritual time to seek your own advice. To the outer world it may look as though you’ve gone dark, gone underground, but really you are quietly and calmly getting your house in order. It may be a secret even to you that this is what’s happening. It may feel like you aren’t doing much of anything, it may get frustrating. After all we are used to “doing” and this is a time of “being”. But speaking from experience of tuning in to the cycles of my own life, I am amazed at what my own instincts and intuition know. All the knowledge I’m looking for, eventually finds it’s way into my life, and what I’ve noticed especially in this last year is that the more I trust in what I don’t already know, the quicker the answers come to me. I have learned that in the hardest moments of life, there will always be doubt, and then another choice.
When I choose to trust, I have never been let down. Not to say that it hasn’t been difficult, but I see it like this, I can either
a) Let this worry me into anxiety, overwhelm and sickness or
b) say what I’m worried about, ask for help with it and let it go, trusting that the best case scenario will come to me.
I literally pretend to hold the problem tightly in my hands, raise it up over my head, take a deep breath and then release my hands to let it go. It’s powerful for me, it helps my body respond in a way that feels like a weight has literally been lifted off of my chest. For bigger problems that I have a hard time letting go of, I do this each time I catch myself overthinking and overanalyzing it when it pops back in my head. When I look back at the big events that would have knocked me down for weeks if not months in the past, I realized that the biggest difference is in the way I was able to help myself through it, trusting myself and my abilities over the doubt I was temporarily feeling.
Here’s some examples of this year’s toughest moments; in spring I was fired for the first time ever, in summer I had to explain and defend my illness to my employer after a really bad crash with M.E. and in returning to winter I was in a minor car accident right before Christmas.
In each instance, I was knocked down for a second. I felt defeated, I felt overwhelmed and unsure of how to handle it. Then I decided to trust, and I did whatever it took to figure out what to do next. Turns out getting fired was the boost I needed to land the salon that fits my passion and creativity so much better, and has led me to create a new position for myself there as Social Media Manager. In the summer all of the stress of moving, starting at another new salon and trying out new schedules with all new clients caught up to me and I crashed pretty hard with my M.E. I had to call in sick, which to a person working with a chronic illness is a whole extra level of stress. It was not well received at first, which made me feel even worse than being extremely sick. But after taking a few days to recoup, I decided that no one else can be expected to stand up for me except me. How can they understand if I don’t explain it and demand my rights? It led me to have a great conversation with my boss and manager to explain what it truly means when I have a crash. And more importantly it made me realize that I hold the power to help others understand, and that I deserve that understanding.
The most recent event was just simply a case of the unexpected, a car accident that was minor, but left my car immobile. It was the other drivers fault, but as I soon came to realize that can take time to work itself out between insurances. So just days before Christmas, and the week of moving into a different unit in our apartment building, we now had to pay a few hundred dollars for a rental car and trust that it would be reimbursed. This was my first time getting into an accident, and first experience of chasing after insurance companies, getting a time-line on the thousands of dollars worth of damage getting fixed on my car and navigating the tricky wording of rental car agreements trying to add on extra coverages you don’t really need. This kind of “adult” stuff intimidates me to no end, but it’s what needs to be done sometimes. So I put my faith in trust that it would all work out. I didn’t know how yet, but that’s the point, you don’t need to know how. You just trust that it will. The insurance determined the I was not at fault and waived all deductibles, the other drivers insurance will reimburse me for the rental car in the end, and my car’s repairs should be completed tomorrow. It also just made me thankful that I wasn’t hurt, that we had the money for this unexpected emergency, and that my faith truly got me through what I could have seen as a horrible way to end the year.
Instead, I had a beautiful end to the year. We moved in to a smaller apartment, that has so much more character and charm. Justin and I keep saying to each other that it was almost built for us and our stuff to fit in it. We are looking at this apartment as a great way to get used to tiny living, as we have plans to look into building our own tiny home in the future! So we have spent a lot of time going through our stuff to sell and give away and get down to only what is essential and loved. I think that may be one of our mantras to live by in this new year.
Surround yourselves with what is essential and loved.
We had a wonderful Christmas, with one gift each and one for the pup. I know I speak for us both when I say that they were the best gifts we’ve ever gotten. We truly appreciated their value of sentiment, not of price or of quantity. And our New Year’s Eve was spent resting from the business of moving and of planning. Again it was my best NYE to date. Justin turned to look at me before dinner and told me all he had learned from the year about himself, and about me and about us. And we shared our plans for the year ahead and we were both so filled with joy and excitement and in that moment I had finally embodied the meaning of New Year’s. Sitting on our couch in our pj’s at 8:30pm, eating pizza, watching tv and falling asleep before midnight, imagine that.
Imagine not only holidays as being what you make of them, but of your life being what you make of it. No one else can define it but you. And you will.