Monday, December 28, 2015

More Of This. Less Of That.

Over the past couple of weeks, I've wallowed in my end-of-year reflective mode. It happens every year during the month of December. For as long as I can remember. I take a thorough look at the past year. When I say "thorough" I mean just that. I'm on the outside looking in. It's like watching a movie. Scene after scene after scene. This isn't a process that takes hours. It takes several weeks.

This year. Wow. There isn't a word in the English dictionary that could sum up 2015. What I can say about this year, with clarity, is that our experiences, lessons learned, mistakes, trials and tribulations were all heightened. To the point where I'm wondering if the universe did a little shimmy shake to accompany these moments. As if to say, "Wake up!" It made us more aware than ever about our surroundings, the people in our life, our path, mission, goals, etc.

Today, I summed it up the best way I could to this point, on my Facebook wall...

I’m not a fan of “New Year, New Me.” I do not sit and write out a list of New Year’s Resolutions. Instead, I reflect on the past year. Mistakes made. Lessons learned. Trials and tribulations. Streams of events I experienced while venturing down my meandering path of unpopular. Ties I’ve severed. Bonds that have strengthened. The ground I stood on a year ago versus now.

This year was nothing short of a myriad of happenings. In short, 2015 was a definite eye opener. I saw beyond the smoke and mirrors of many. True colors, that were once vivid, became jaded. I allowed myself to sit with emotions even when they felt uncomfortable. I didn’t turn anger or sadness into a joke. I embraced the goodness. I exhaled. I lived in the moment more so than I have ever allowed myself to. I stood my ground despite criticism.

What stands out, as I reflect back on 2015, is how I chose to spend my time. During the spring and summer months, 3 friends and 2 family members passed away. I spent many hours thinking about the concept of time. How I spend my time. Who I spend my time with. How I, like so many others, tend to take time for granted. The list goes on.

There will be some changes in the year ahead. During the process of reflection, personal weaknesses tend to surface. My weaknesses. I have no shame. Strength and growth derives from acknowledging personal faults. This year, I’ve had many.

Over the past year, I have dedicated too much time to those who couldn’t be bothered to make time for me. For us. As the saying goes, “If it’s important to you, you will find a way. If not, you’ll find an excuse.” I put up with the excuses time and time again. No more. My time, our time, is just as valuable as yours and yours and yours. While on the topic of time, I, we, have also catered to quite a few who have only acknowledged our existence and reached out when they needed and wanted something. That’s coming to a quick halt.

While I was dedicating hours and days to those who thought nothing of shrugging us off, I wasn’t nurturing the relationships, the handful of people in our life, who respected my time, made the effort instead of excuses, kept their word, followed through, were there to celebrate special occasions, offer a kind word during times of grief, and were always honest. That is my fault. To the few neighbors who have become family, the few long-distance friends who email and sent cards, the ones who made phone calls I never returned. I apologize. This too will change.

I am looking forward to 2016...more so than I have with any upcoming year. The energies are high. Positive. Clear. Shifted focus. More efforts here. Less there. I'll be launching a new blog site within the next week...finally! And maybe...publishing my book. Lots of work. Little sleep. Face forward. Onward march. With my tribe. My peoples. My family.

Lisa and I have engaged in many discussions this month regarding the above mentioned. During these conversations, we've released pent up emotions. Exhaled. Got ugly. Vented our deepest thoughts about particular events or people that we had been almost ashamed to express as-they-happened. This was our therapy. This was our means of dusting ourselves off. Seeing the big picture. Clarity. Perspective. All of it necessary to embark on a new year. Refreshed.

Throughout all of this, we admitted faults. How many times had Lisa told me, "Don't bother. She's going to cancel. Again." Yet, I ignored her as I baked goodies to accompany our planned visit. And how many times did Lisa cave when I convinced her, "They're going through a tough time. Let's not judge the battles, of which we know little about, that they're facing."

Or, how many times did I say, "Maybe they were too busy or had too much going on in their life."

Meanwhile, through all the suggestions, warnings, and let's-take-a-good-look-at-this conversations out of love, I continued to waste my time, our money, and our resources on people that, in the end, bailed. Shunned us. Dropped us like a hot potato. Doled out excuses instead of making time. Couldn't take an hour out of their life to visit or extend condolences while we grieved. Or, at the very least, celebrate special occasions.

My biggest fault, as mentioned, was spending too much time on people who I shouldn't have. While I was doing that, I didn't nurture the friendships that deserved my time and efforts.That's not a path I wanted to continue

Once I had brushed myself off and wiped the debris from the proverbial window, I looked in with clear vision. If I could take almost 2 days to prep for someones birthday celebration who, months later, could only find the time to send a 'Happy Birthday' text to me and make excuses why they couldn't visit...well. I needed to make changes. We needed to make changes.

Our conversations veered towards "what we're going to do differently in 2016." As these discussions progressed, we both got excited. If we weren't going to waste an exuberant amount of time and money on this or that, like we had in 2015, than what?

The answers were easy.

More time for us and our family. More time spent with the handful of friends who have become family and stuck by us. The ones who took the time. More family time. More time dedicated to our Bodacious Biscuit Love mission and visiting animal shelters and launching more fundraisers. More time dedicated towards reaching our goals. Writing. Creating patchwork blankets.

The possibilities were endless. 

In some weird sense, we felt relieved. Free. Like the air had cleared. There was no guilt. We had dealt with that early on.

What will people think if we say no or don't show up with 46 appetizers and 12 desserts? What if someone, we haven't heard from in months, reaches out asking for a favor or assistance with something and I say no? 

Our new outlook for 2016 isn't about severing ties or doing less. It's more about shifting our focus. More efforts towards this. Less on that. More time spent with you and you and you. Less time dedicated to those who continuously made excuses. Living in the moment. Less planning and more spontaneity. Embracing simplicity.

One day at a time.

No comments:

Post a Comment