It’s been a rough winter. Despite a few wonderful adventures, the overall emotion of winter was dread. Dreading the holidays; dreading the increasing political furor; dreading the change in weather. So much happened at the tail end of 2016 that continued to ooze in to 2017, it seems hard to recognize that one year ended and a new one has begun.
On a personal level, my 2016 ended with a minor explosion on the relationships front, bringing to halt what I previously considered a close friendship. While my personal space felt unsure and unfamiliar as the result of such devastation, I determined that this was the start of something good. Although it seemed like a negative event when it happened, it slowly turned into something positive and something I was happy to shed as a part of my 2016 self. Stepping into 2017 with less baggage, more knowledge, and the end of an extremely toxic friendship was a good way to kick off the stereotypical New-Year-New-Me attitude.
It’s been hard to remain focused and collected, especially within the past few weeks. Devastation has been rampant in the United States since the inauguration of the 45th President. The current political climate can best be described in a word: crazed. I’m watching friends and family begin to fear for their safety, whether it be due to race, gender orientation, religion, or immigration status. The entire country is now playing a waiting game biting our nails and taking bets on what will happen next.
At the end of January I celebrated my 28th revolution around the sun, and just as with New Years, I got asked what I want. The answer is hard, because a lot of what I want isn’t necessarily something you can buy, or even something that can be gifted.
- I want to be comfortable in my own skin
- I want to experience more, and push myself out of my comfort zone
- I want to go places I have never been
- I want to return to certain places that I’ve visited; places that sang to my soul
- I want to laugh more freely
- I want to feel more deeply
- I want to allow myself to be more spontaneous
- I want to be able to indulge myself more
I’ve mentioned before my struggle to take control of my body. I’ve had poor body image for as long as I can remember, mostly tied to my 16 year battle with a variety of health problems, including fibromyalgia, a spinal cord injury, and idiopathic intercranial hypertension. I’ve come a long way and have been successful at recently shedding some weight; but I am still a work in progress. I also battle with Major Depressive Disorder, the technical term for re-occuring depression.
In an effort to take control of my body and my life, my 2017 vow was: Do Something Different. Not just try new things or make resolutions, but to stop doing what is not working. If I’ve been doing something repeatedly and yielding no success, stop. Analyze. Consider doing the exact opposite of the previous action and see if it works.
It’s been a difficult but rewarding challenge, one that I keep having to remind myself to work at. Now finding myself in February wondering where the first month of 2017 went, I’m focusing on controlling 2017 instead of feeling hopelessly out of control like the year prior. Even with looming uncertainty from the various factions of our federal government, I can take control of the most important thing: my own life.
Be prepared for many stories and ramblings as I slowly unpackaged and document my time spent in Europe; that was so closely intertwined with the now deceased friendship it has been hard to write about until now. I hope to encourage you as I share my journey in self-appreciation. Explore with me as I learn to love myself and my body in whatever shape it takes. Help me decide what the next grand adventure of this year is. Parahawking in Nepal? Returning to Amsterdam? Visiting Iceland? Exploring Sweden? Enjoying the wonders of the Oregon Coast?
2017: I can do this. We can do this. You can do this. Do Something Different.