I always look forward to the beginning of a new year. There’s just something about that fresh start feeling that lends itself to goal-setting and resolution-making. Self-improvement is in the air. New Year Smell. I love it.
So in mid-December, I started jotting down a list of the usual things I want to work on: drinking more water, eating healthier (gluten-free, non-GMO, etc.), doing more pilates and yoga, walking every day, de-cluttering, saving more and spending less (money), writing every day, blah, blah, blah. But then it occurred to me that these are the same things that I’ve been working on all year. I still have plenty of room for improvement, no doubt, but I am proud of the steady progress I have made so far. I know what I need to do. I know I can do it. Just keep going. Yawn.
At some point in this process, I realized that I have worked so hard over the past few years to Simplify and Streamline my life that I’ve grown a little bored with it. Safe, Secure, Satisfied, Self-Disciplined… Stifling. Here I am, Stuck in a big ol’ rut. All of this Security is Suffocating me! I did not see that coming.
A recent post On Saying Yes to Everything by one of my favorite bloggers, Kayla Cruz, on her blog Gen Y Girl, really resonated with me. The bored friend she writes about could so easily be me. How did she know? We’ve never even met. Sometimes we need a helpful nudge to move us along the right path when we can’t see the forest for the trees. Her friend is lucky to have her.
Now I know what I really need to do. Challenge myself. Break out of the rut. Let my guard down.
What am I afraid of? Which fears do I need to stare down and conquer this year? Which of my many self-imposed barriers do I need to break down first? THAT is the list I need to work on. How will I SCARE the CRAP out of myself this year?
- Quit my job?
- Go skydiving?
- Drive cross-country?
- Learn to snowboard?
- Talk to strangers?
- Climb Mount Washington?
- Take that trip to Costa Rica?
- Hit “Publish” on a really honest blog post?
Well, if you’re reading this, I guess I can check that last one off the list.
Simple living doesn’t have to mean boring. Moments of brazen spontaneity can liven up days and weeks and months of comfortable predictability. It’s good to have a routine. Sometimes we need that structure to keep us sane. I know I do. But it’s even more important to break the cycle once in a while. Move outside of the comfort zone. Color outside of the lines.
It’s OK to be afraid. Scared is good. Learn to use that fear as a motivator to try something new, not as a paralyzing excuse to hide from life.
This year will be about finding my ideal balance between security and risk, between safe and scared, between simply existing and really living. Feel free to join me.
Hi LJ, it’s me EKM (aka Ed on CR14, 03842) I knew you had a beautiful mind even before I saw your writing, but this confirms it. It makes me think of a line from one of John Denver’s tunes, “(S)he talked to God and listened to the casual reply”. Keep up the good work!