For the last several years, too many to remember, I have come flying out of December with great enthusiasm to conquer the January in front of me. Always with intentions of renewing, sometimes restoring, and most definitely improving. I always wanted to give myself and everyone else around me a better me. (Even saying that sounds crazy to me. It’s as if I didn’t exist and a new version of me was going to be unveiled. THE BIG REVEAL. Party of one.) Each year my resolutions, if you will, were lazily formed by this notion that I was going to lose X number of lbs, usually running a half marathon is somewhere in there, have an impact on the world in front of me, somehow transform my home, life, job, basically all of me, when the clock struck midnight. I’m all Cinderella and shit, didn’t you know?! The gown would gently touch the floor, my hair would be pinned back in sexy little curls, and my arms would glamorously hang as tiny little extensions from my delicate body. I would feel different, and my people would notice. (Except that I usually fall asleep by 9:30PM on New Years Eve in baggy sweatpants and a 30 year old t-shirt. My hair is too big to ever look so put together- and sexy isn’t really a word that people would use to describe me….EVER. My arms will never be tiny extensions because they come straight out of swimmers shoulders…..and I don’t have any ‘people.’ So, you see, I have a few issues that weren’t very well thought out. Such is my life.)
It’s only taken me (BIG COUGH) forty two years, but I’m DONE with resolutions. I’m so OVER ‘WORD’S of the year’ that will keep me on track and somehow propel me to my goals. I’m through with feeling like an IF/THEN statement. BLAHHHHHH. I’m all about working towards constantly improving myself, but I’m done not completely LOVING and ACCEPTING MYSELF in the here and now. I CAN’T EVEN with all of the other nonsense and because of it I’m way more peaceful and intrigued by what this year will bring (PROBABLY A NEW ME-KIDDING). Here’s why:
Going into 2018 I had come off of a rough year. There is no woe is me in that statement… it’s truth. I KNEW, with every fiber of my being that I WAS GOING TO HAVE A GREAT YEAR in 2018. I had lists that had lists of everything that I was going to do and accomplish. I was excited, and when you get me excited I’m like a little kid on Christmas morning! I was taking a redo of year forty and I was going stupid right at it. I was determined to keep dealing with ‘stuff’ that had happened in ‘17 and happy as all get out to begin anew (AGAIN). So I came barreling into 2018 like “hey y’all watch me slay the dragons…” (Imagine a very ungraceful dance with some kind of an overbite to go with it, and there you have me.) Ta da...Joke was on me because clearly I was the dragon. Apparently the man upstairs didn’t appreciate the self serving enthusiasm in my lists. Instead, my year was filled with preparing for, or recovering from, two major surgeries, and I continue to recover right now as well. (Now would be an appropriate time to ask the dude how he ended up with the broken one! To which he would respond, “just my luck.”)
I have literally been sitting on a couch or laying propped up in bed more this year than I probably have in my last 30 years combined. I have BARELY been able to exercise for an entire year (and when I have, I’ve had too many restrictions to count.) If you know me, this has been torturous. I had to put many of my plans and goals on the back burner because I physically could not, or was restricted from doing them. I have had to say yes to help, and to rely on my children, husband, and others, to do 90% of all grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning, laundry etc. for almost half of this year. THIS IS SO NOT ME. Admitting that I need help is like my achilles heel. To my horror my bed has been unmade at the end of the day more than a few times! Relinquishing my jobs and or watching someone I love have to bear my burden, has left me many times over feeling useless and sad. Several times this year I have apologized for these events that I had no control over but that were sidetracking the plans and goals that I had declared so enthusiastically for myself and my family.
When I would let myself really think about my situation I would get down and cynically laugh. I would be upset and discouraged. I was at a loss as to how to stay motivated. I was losing muscle at a rapid speed. Gained some pounds. Said no to things that I would have given anything to say yes to. I was not reforming, renewing or reinventing anything!
I was just here: being exactly what I needed to be in that time, but not being what I had set out to be at the beginning of the year.
I chose to make the decision to embrace my situation and more importantly to embrace me. A lot of the inadequate feelings that were invading my headspace were born out of a place of dissatisfaction with the circumstances in which I found myself. More importantly these feelings had also derived from failed expectations that I had placed on myself for the year. If I’m being completely honest some came from how I thought that I was measuring up to other WOMEN. Like my Grandma used to say, “LIZ-A-BETH (she never understood the E and elongated the whole thing), you know better.” I do!
Guess what guys, clearly God has wanted me to chill out for a reason (not Netflix and Chill -I just learned what that meant a few months ago. WOWZA that was a shock. I had interpreted it literally.) HIS perception of me needs to be the stick from which I measure, not mine or anyone else’s. With this thought in mind, I relieved myself of my own expectations. For once in my life, I chose to be obedient (mostly). So, I watched TV that I wouldn’t have otherwise, and didn’t feel guilty about it. (YEP the Gilmore Girls and EVERY SINGLE HALLMARK MOVIE KNOWN TO MAN.) I got to witness my kids running our house, and I couldn’t criticize them too much on how they were doing it. (BIG LESSON IN LETTING GO.) All differently but each with more responsibility and empathy, for me and our family, than I may have ever noticed or imagined before. I worked on being grateful for the opportunity to have surgery and to be in recovery, because someone else may not have been able to do so. I was ‘blessed’ (which could be someone else’s curse) with a lot of thinking time that allowed me to examine myself from the inside and really let go of what I couldn’t control on the outside. I found unapologetic confidence in my complete package, something that I think as a woman is hard to do, because we are some of the most self deprecating species on earth. THAT’S GOT TO CHANGE.
So you see, I sit here today intensely happy, with my conscious decision, and overdue realization, that I’m done with only noticing my imperfections. I have decided to own this girl, in this skin, with this heart that feels ‘too’ much, and this brain that thinks a lot, and the massive pimple that just showed up last night, right here, and RIGHT NOW. (I may not even wear cover-up- REBEL.) I forgive myself of past mistakes that I keep trying to make right. I accept my last few crazy years in all of their glory and horror. They’re a part of me. I unconditionally love ME, in all my forms, and in all my ways. Just as I am. THIS MAKES ME ABLE TO LOVE OTHERS MORE AUTHENTICALLY TOO. I have been freed from planning every detail of what I will become, because someone already knew who I would be AT THIS VERY SECOND, and ON THIS VERY DAY. I don’t believe I need to be resolute in my plan to get to this ultimate destination for myself this year or any year. I’m HERE, ready for 2019, in a perfectly made and very unplanned (by me) way.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”