There are things I need to leave in 2017. I am taking this opportunity to let the new year symbolize a new beginning. Just as there are things I need to leave behind, there are things I need to bring in order to show up completely for what this year may have in store.
I carry around my anxiety like I went out of my way to get it. Sometimes I wonder if I really want to let it go. What I have noticed more lately is a new kind of anxiety that feels like more of an existential “I am always so confused about what the world is” feeling. And I don’t know how to leave it.
Staying in the present moment has not been my thing lately. I give myself maybe a couple of minutes maybe once a day to meditate and be mindful. But as soon as that’s done it’s off to the races again. I’ve been told to not read the news as much. I don’t know how to leave it.
Don’t get me started on my attempts to read people’s minds. I’ve been very wrong about that lately. I don’t know how to leave it.
This is where the tricky part comes in, okay? The thing is, I do know how to leave it. I know exactly what I need to do. I replace the things I don't want to hold with the things I do want to hold.
I'm going to be mindful of my information consumption (and I'm going to delete three of my news apps).
I don’t get to leave behind the political climate, but there are things I can do to protect myself a bit more. I can be mindful about the information I engage in.
I was doing some research the other day and I found an article about the Low Information Diet. At first, I thought it was a typo and that it was supposed to say, “low inflammation diet.” But in fact, the Low Information Diet (aka selective ignorance) is a thing. It’s super effective and research supports it.
The guy who wrote The 4 Hour Work Week, Tim Ferriss, is all about the Low information diet. I looked more into him because I haven’t actually read The 4 Hour Work Week (I’ve pretended that I’ve read it, does that count?). He’s a super smart dude and he’s doing big things to change the way people approach their work and their lives in general. I especially like a blog post he wrote about curing anxiety. I pulled a lot of inspiration from that piece. Big things I took away were the need for play, and news as the biggest source of anxiety.
I intend to leave my phone on the charger across the room while my ipad is dead so that I can spend time with my friends and not worry so much about the latest in Washington.
I plan to play. I've been craving a good swing set sesh lately. We just got a new puppy and we have a one-year-old pup, so I will let them remind me to play.
I hope to cultivate authentic community and foster supportive relationships. I will leave behind those things I tell myself that keep me from approaching new people. Maybe I'm just lazy. I joined Bumble BFF and I went on a friend date that went well, so, that's a step.
Once I'm actually having a conversation, I'm fine. But the moments leading up to those conversations are rough. Also the moments of silence when you sort of forget what to talk about. Those feel like long sprees of awkward eye contact with a person who may or may not think I'm a total fraud. How could I know? Best to assume the worst.
However, I do get comfortable quickly, and I know how to put on the game face when I need to, for sure. It just takes so much energy. Running on auto pilot can work, but goodness is it exhausting.
I have found that the more authentic I am with others, the better connections I have with them. Fostering relationships with people who support and love me, who I support and love, was one of the most powerful experiences I had in 2017. I'd like to further embrace this in 2018 by cold calling (or texting, if I'm nervous) the people I care about who I just don't call enough.
People save my life, and goodness do I love my people. In 2018, I'd like to make a more active effort to reach out, listen to, and love the people I care about. The things that once concerned me are not important to me anymore. My standards were insane. It was because I didn't realize how much I hated myself. It always is. When I further embrace self-love and recommit to my wellbeing, I get to reconnect with the oneness of everything that is or isn't.
I'd like to leave behind poor prioritization and refocus on the things that make me a better person.
In the last month I have found a growing interest in the way spirituality is really defined. My curiosity about the connectedness of the universe and what that means or doesn't mean at all is at an all-time high. As I am more concerned than ever for the wellbeing of this weird ass fucking world, I am also experiencing a lot more existential angst. Instead of pushing that away or ignoring it (because I have thought about life plenty), I have allowed my curiosity to guide me towards people who have asked these questions, too.
I find the answers in meditation.
So, I'd like to recommit to my meditation practice. I also want to go back to being obsessed with gratitude. I make a gratitude list everyday, but I do it as though it's just a thing to check off my list. I'm going to put a lot of thought and intention into my happy jar this year, and I'm going to take time out of each day to visualize, write down, and talk about my gratitude.
I want to create.
I want to create the life that my husband and I are feeling brave enough to go after. I want to create memories and friendships with people I just so happen to meet.
Writing will help me create tangible pieces of myself so that I can somehow feel less alone and less burdened by the thoughts which have no business in my head.
Someone once asked me, "are you looking forward to your life over the next three months?" and that still echoes in my head. I ask myself this question all the time. And today, I can't wait to see what life has in store. New mistakes and fears, new resentments and weirdness. And new opportunities to persist with gratitude and grace.