I finally got around to finishing, or mostly finishing, my December Daily album this week. The one I started last year.
I’m a big believer in the better-late-than-never principle, clearly.
That said, one of my take-aways from putting the finishing touches on last year’s album just weeks before I decide to tackle another, is realizing how quickly things really can change, and how important it is (at least for me) to take stock of what worked, and what didn’t, in order to avoid repeating mistakes.
While working on the album I started a super-simple, two column list. At the top I simply wrote, Like and Change, ‘cause really that’s all I need to know.
All this scrappy reflection got me thinking about my life, too. And what I’d do differently, if given the chance to do this past year again.
Obviously I won’t get a redo on 2013, but since I do get a chance to be a bit more intentional in how I approach 2014, I think now’s the perfect time to figure out what worked, what didn’t, and how I’d like to approach this next year.
Here are a few of my life take-aways, from 2013.
Two Mumford & Sons concerts in a week’s span, an out-of-town bachelorette weekend, and our crazy family road trip to Delaware are a few of my favorite memories from 2013! All cost money, and some personal sacrifice, but the payoff was so totally worth it.
2.) Don’t fret the details.
I have a super bad tendency to get bogged down in minute details, while losing sight of the big picture.
Details can be fun, but they shouldn’t be something that keeps me up nights. I’ve got to learn to let the little stuff go, in order to enjoy my life a little more freely.
3.) I can’t please everyone, so I need to trust my instincts and not give anyone else control over my life.
Trusted loved ones can have input, but they don’t get to be the deciding factor in how I live my life. And the peanut gallery? It's time they stopped getting a second thought, when it comes to what is right for me.
This might be common sense for some, but for me, it’s revelation, and something I desperately need to remember.
4.) “Nothing worth anything, ever comes down easy.”
At least that’s how one of my favorite singers, Mat Kearney, puts it.
This year I’m finally, reluctantly, coming to terms with the fact that life isn’t gonna get easier, no matter how much I wish it would.
And most of the stuff that’s the most important – building and maintaining healthy relationships, treating my body with the respect it requires to function at its fullest, continuing to learn instead of growing stagnant – doesn’t come easily. It requires work, a lot of work.
I don’t want miss out on the important stuff in life because it requires time and effort. Instead I want to start with, and focus on the tough stuff, ‘cause it really is what matters most.
5.) I need to accept the LOVE I’ve been given, if I want to exude grace, acceptance and gratitude to those around me.
That might sound cheesy, or cliché, but I’ve learned this year that LOVE can’t start with anyone else. I can’t give anyone that which I haven’t “owned” for myself.
Self-acceptance isn’t about self-help. It’s about allowing LOVE to change you, before trying to share it with anyone else.
It’s like the instructions on a plane; put your air mask on before assisting those around you. Not because that makes you a selfish, butthead. But because that’s the only way you’ll actually be of any help to those those around you. You know, if you stay alive.
If you’re trying to be a good wife, mom, sister, friend, without first being kind to yourself, you’re not gonna get very far. That is truth. And it's something I’m trying very hard to rewire into my brain.
Honestly, aren't fresh starts just the absolute best?
I think that's one (of many reasons) I love this time of year.
Maybe it's lame to reflect so much on the past, but I really do feel good taking some time in December to figure out what worked and what didn't in this past year, so I can approach the next one with renewed hope and vigor.
What are you thinking you'll do differently in this coming year?
And, in case you need some inspiring music to sort out your thoughts, or just to survive a long Monday, you can't go wrong with words from John Lennon, as performed by...