Oh, 2014, I hated you so hard.
It was a difficult year, but like other years marked in the story of my life as the darker chapters it was a year full of growth and getting to know more about myself than I could have ever expected. These lessons and life changes have been some of the highlights of the past 12 months, and I’m grateful that 2014 does have some bright spots that I will continue to remember fondly. I ran my first half marathon and found my super power. I conquered many challenges and “opportunities for solutions” [my office’s way of avoiding the word problems] while gaining more confidence at work, as “my day job” continued the transition into “my career.” I furthered my relationship with the Beef Checkoff and am proud to be a Beef Expert Bureau Member. We added another fuzzbucket to THS HQ and I watched a lot of great television and laughed through a lot of hilarious podcasts.
The last quarter of 2014 was by far my favorite of the year, and I feel like I ended on a high-note in terms of feeling like my life was truly enjoyable, or at the very least filled with many truly enjoyable days. I got to spend time with people that I love and made decisions to go after what I want and stop apologize for wanting it.
I didn’t plan to set resolutions or goals for the new year, but I did spend some time thinking about what I wanted to feel when I looked back when it comes time to shift my thinking from 2015 to 2016 next December. Late this past November, I stuck a poster-sized post-it on my wall and scribbled “2015” in the upper right corner. It sat blank on my wall through all of my holiday prep, remained empty while I was off-to North Carolina, and still sat ghost-white when I returned, until days after I rang in the new year and started scrambling into my January.
The strength that I felt as 2014 came to a close is what is helping me propel myself into 2015 feeling happier than I have in a long time. When I started to really focus in on my intentions for 2015 I found a common theme throughout the list – connection. In 2015 I want to feel connected. Once this was clear to me, the word CONNECT was written boldly in green marker on the post-it, directly to the right of the year. I want to take the time to plug in and connect in several energy-stirring areas of my life. I want to seek new connecting opportunities and be open when they appear in unexpected ways.
Connect with my innermost self. Even though I don’t know what that really means right now, I feel very strongly pulled in a direction of self discovery. An emotional peeling of the layers to get to the core. Step one is letting go of what was and focusing on what is ahead. Ready, set, go.
Create avenues for connection with my co-workers. Late last year I decided that I was going to try to strengthen the friendships I had with the people at work that I felt a connection. I also decided that I’ve said “I wish I had a group of people to play bar trivia with each week” to myself for too long, and that creating a bar trivia team with my work friends would be a great idea for the new year. I talked it up all last month also tried to make it one of my official work goals, but management did not seem to think it was a good fit.
Another biggie for me in terms of connecting with my co-workers is taking the conversation beyond the weather. I’m not saying I want to jump into the deep end of conversations, but I want to at least take one step away from the shallow end. At least to start. I’m trying to focus on asking better conversational questions and aiming to actively listen instead of think about what I might want to say next.
Connect with the open road. I don’t want to lose my love affair with running, and I know that easing back on my mileage over the winter has been a big help in my not getting bored with running during my heavier training months. This has been the trend for the past several years. In 2014 running was redefined for me, as something I did – run, to someone I am – a runner. I am eager to get back out on the street on the regular come spring time. For now I am spending my fitness energy on running when I can and doing activities that will make me a stronger runner come the sunnier days.
Stay connected with special relationships, and find new ways to keep connected with loved ones across generations. With snail mail, and Facetime, and mobile/internet games, and group text messaging, and hopefully some in-person visits, too.
Make neighborhood connections. Visit local establishments and get to know the owners and employees. Be a good neighbor. Participate in community events. Support my village. Buy local. Be local.
Cheers to a blank-page-feeling, hope-filled new year, my friends. I’ve poured one out for all that was lost during 2014 and I’m raising a glass to all the potential connections in all our lives this year! May we be open to the unknown and willing to take the first step.