This is my first time writing one of those retrospective posts. I don’t know why I’ve always sort of shied away. Perhaps it’s because I was too busy planning New Year’s Eve, but I suspect it’s because I didn’t really want to look back but continue to barrel forward.
2015 was a very interesting year that filled me with a passel of valuable life lessons. I started the year as I normally do, making goals and resolutions like everyone else. I had this grit-toothed determination to life my life out loud (insert nine exclamation points here) and be the best person I could be (more exclamation points here.) And I did those things, but I realized they look very different than what I thought they’d look like.
I think the most valuable lesson I learned this year is to keep my eyes on my own life. It sounds incredibly simple, akin to your teacher telling you not to glance at your peer’s notes and test answers in order to cheat. But I’m as guilty as everyone else of logging onto social media platforms to “gain inspiration,” only to feel like the world is doing it better than me. About mid-year was when I decided to cut that out. I can’t express the joy it gives me. I have no idea who’s going on what world adventure, and that’s amazing. I’m focused on building my own accomplishments. I am my own inspiration now. I don’t need to look outside for guidance. It feels pretty damned good, to be honest. Try it.
The other thing I learned this year is that I’m not afraid to be alone. After the fog cleared and I had more time in the sober, bright light of day, I’ve realized that I’m quite the introvert. I don’t desire the company of many. I’m good with periods of time with a select few. My entire life I’ve been accused of being snobby, stuck up, or arrogant if I don’t push myself out of my personality to become an effusive, all-inclusive human being. It’s exhausting. I don’t do that anymore. I don’t apologize for it.
Also, this was the year I gave up on counting calories and the scale. That’s something I never thought would happen. I don’t believe in good food or bad food anymore. I go by how I feel and how my clothes fit. I weigh myself every once in a while to give myself a baseline of progress from my heaviest weight of 241. I know that eating too much sugar, dairy, and gluten makes me blow up like a balloon and I feel like crap. But I make the choice to eat what I crave and then I make adjustments later if I need to flush something out of my system by eating more whole, natural, organic foods.
I discovered that I need far less than I thought this year. I moved into a different apartment in August and I pared down considerably. I’ve donated 16 large bags of clothing, I got rid of nine boxes of books, at least four trips to the consignment store, and I just started shredding what looks to be about 35 lbs of paper. It’s amazing. I don’t need anything, really. I’m picky about what I want to purchase, and I’ve discovered how I like to dress. I’d gotten into a rut because I couldn’t make sense of my closet. Now, it all makes sense.
This was the year of amazing experiences. When I created the 44 for 44 list earlier this year, I didn’t realize that I made it almost unattainable. I did manage to get some amazing experiences in there, like seeing the Foo Fighters…
and The Who…
…undertaking a fitness challenge, which I did with 30 days of yoga (and I’m on Day 38 of a 90-day challenge right now)…
….I walked the beach with my mother more than a few times when we went on vacation in August. This is the two of us at Bathsheba in Barbados…
…and I wanted to go lighter when it came to my hair color, which is still a work in progress, but I’m really excited about it. I’m working with James Corbett of James Corbett Studio, who also happens to be the Global Color Consultant for Clairol. More to come from this, but I’m very excited about the hair situation that’s coming up.
I also traveled to Memphis with Lancome to do some service at the St. Jude Children’s Hospital. It was an unbelievable two days, and I’m incredibly blessed that I had a chance to bring some joy into the lives of some beautiful girls and boys who really needed it.
This was a great year, but a challenging one. I think the best lesson of the year is to be open to experiences, to make some plans and to head straight into the next big thing. Some of the best things about this year were planned, but a good number of them weren’t. Like teaching my boyfriend to take better care of his skin. Was it a list item? No. Was it a big accomplishment? YOU BETCHA.
Tomorrow, I’ll share my goals for this coming 12 months, but for the first time ever, I wanted to reflect on this sweet passage of time and give a moment of thanks for the lessons it taught me. Life’s pretty good, and I have a feeling it’s about to get even better.