Alternate title: Lessons Learned in 2016...and What I Want to Stick in 2017
Okay, fine. I caved. I guess my final thoughts on 2016 were just slow to arrive, but arrive they did. Without dragging you through the analysis of the year that's been forming in my brain for the last couple weeks, here are the highlights:
- 2016 was the hardest year of my adult life that I can remember. I slipped into a depressive mode, brought on by a never-ending job hunt that seriously demotivated me to do any of the things that make me feel good. I was challenged and thwarted at every turn; it felt like a year full of false starts and little else.
- 2016 was a hard year for America and the world. People just won't stop killing each other. Politicians won't stop lying. Voters won't get educated. Citizens won't vote. Some people won't stop deluding themselves and playing horrifying mental gymnastics to prove their worldview right, even when the tiniest bit of logical thinking would prove their worldview is a detriment to not only their own lives but society at large.
- 2016 was the year I needed to have. Despite all the challenges, some wonderful things happened. I've recapped the months by major event for myself; I don't think I'll do it here. There are archives on the sidebar if you NEED to know. It was the year and they were the challenges I needed to gain the perspective required to do better this go-around.
2016 asked a lot of questions. It asked me how I got to where I ended up, what I would have done differently, what I could do to prevent it happening again, what I really want my life to be, who I really want in it, how I can be a better human, how I can be a better companion, how I can be more accepting of what is, how I can do better at the life and hand I'm currently holding.
Here are some of the answers.
1. You cannot get out of a situation using the method of operations that got you into it.
2. I cannot control anything but how I react to situations. (You'd think I would have learned this years ago, but no.)
3. I cannot plan for the major and most important developments of my life.
4. It's not personal. I may choose to take things personally, but that doesn't mean they're about me. Also: stop taking impersonal shit personally, Alyssa.
5. Rest is a good thing, and there doesn't always have to be a justification other than wanting to take a break.
6. Cycles of behavior control most of our lives. Breaking a negative feedback loop has to be a choice, rather than a divine intervention. If you're waiting for the latter, it won't happen. If you screw up your courage, the former can happen. And it's the only thing that will create change.
7. Love is a verb. It is shown. It is an action. It is to be believed only when demonstrated.
8. Wanting to or not wanting to doesn't really matter when it comes to things that need doing. Do what must be done, period.
And maybe, it turns out, I do have a resolution for 2017. I've already set an intention, and I fully intend to live with it each and every day of the next year—and hopefully my life. But my intention has to do with how I'm framing my thoughts; the resolution has to do with my actions.
I've been trying to work on this—my resolution—for a few months now, but it will be really put to the test in 2017. It's something I've never been able to do before, and it actually flies in the face of everything I've ever done when it comes to preparing for my life. It is hard for me. It's not all that measurable. It's not "SMART." It's the very radical shift in thinking that experts warn you not to make when embarking on a new year. But the thing is, the January/February coincide with so much that I cannot control, cannot plan, cannot know in advance. I have to do this. And I hope when I look back at this post a year from now (which I will, as I went hunting last week for a similar post from this time last year, and I came up empty) I will be able to say, based on feelings of happiness and peace and contentment with my follow-through, that I was successful. This is my resolution:
Slow down, take a breath, and make one decision at a time. Deal with one piece of new information at a time. Resist the urge to plan for multiple possible outcomes and combinations of outcomes. Learn the damn lesson and stop planning for the unknown. Enjoy life as it is, because these circumstances are certain not to last.