2016 has punched me in the stomach more than I would care to admit. Of course, that in itself is part of the beauty of life-the extreme darkness we often experience. Because that heaviness and crumbling that we all go through from time to time is inevitably followed by a period of lightness-even it feels short lived.
I have never made New Year’s Resolutions. I have never felt a need to do that. Usually my December 31st’s are spotted with moments of simply thinking about the year I’ve just lived through and desperately trying to cement in my brain the “good” moments that have happened. Attempting to be grateful for those “positive” things and making a concerted effort to block anything unpleasant or unpretty.
“Attempting” to be grateful because I have found that any time I do my “rewind” I’m always pulled in the direction of remembering my year’s messy moments. Then I find myself trying to extricate from that and frantically search for the next positive memory I can focus on.
Over the last several weeks I have been ruminating a lot about the approaching finish of 2016. As I said, it kicked my ass hard and I don’t know that I can throw in here “but I came out a better person”.
I turned 40. And it seemed as though the Universe said “let’s welcome that in a big way”. There was divorce, there was death and there seemed to be an ongoing theme of consistently trying to navigate through situations with people that I just did not know how to deal with. Situations that left me in a lot of pain. And speechless.
The phrase is that we can’t control what happens to us. We can only control our response. I have found that sometimes you can’t really “control” that either because you don’t really know how to respond.
On remembering my 2016, these profoundly awful moments are the ones that kept popping up. Not necessarily because nothing “good” happened. It did. But because these disgusting moments were my revolution moments. They changed me. Often unwillingly. But they still changed me.
“Revolution” has many different meanings. Oxford describes it as a “wide reaching change in conditions, attitudes or operations”.
Forbes says that only 8% of people succeed at fulfilling New Year’s resolutions. I think that’s because, as ironic as this sounds, the failed resolutions aren’t personal enough. Meaningful enough. That they are too “global” and not self driven.
For me it’s been a deeper exercise to acknowledge the beautiful of 2016. But that’s the easy part. Then to not push away the “crap” moments and try to see if there’s room to grow. Because the crap moments have left their biggest mark on me and I don’t want to let that be for nothing.
I have said “I don’t know” so many times in so many different ways this past year. I’m beginning to see a bit of value in the chaos that has turned my plans upside down. Plans, designs…resolutions are helpful. And important. Yet the more vital part for me has been to observe how things have “overthrown” my own blueprints I had for myself.
We are constantly moving in this flux of life between the yin and yang. Sometimes the momentum by which you’re propelled through these things is not the pace you want to go at. But you’re still going.
I don’t really know, then, if I have come out a “better” person from this year. I can say that I have come out differently than how I went in.
“A revolution is bloody. Revolution is hostile. Revolution knows no compromise. Revolution overturns and destroys everything that gets in its way”~Malcolm X
Sometimes what has been getting in the way is the way you “think” things should be.