Updated: Jan 18, 2019
Thirteen months ago I wrote a blog post about 2017. Basically, it was a post about what I wanted my year to be. In case you’re team #noshameinbeinglazy and don’t want to read it, no worries! I’ll hit you with a quick one sentence recap:
I wanted 2017 to be my year of happiness. Real happiness.
Happiness is something I’ve been really passionate about for the past couple of years. Finding genuine happiness. For me first, then ultimately helping other people do the same. That’s why this little place on the www even exists.
Here’s what 2017 taught me: The two biggest mental enemies are fear and happiness. So when I thought about it, I knew it was a one or the other kind of thing. Which is the only time I’ve ever been okay with an ultimatum. If you were in a conversation with me at some point last year, I probably told you that it was “my year of no fear”. You see, unhappiness derives from fear. Fear takes refuge in our minds when we spend way too much time in the future, or as one wise person tells me: too much “future tripping”. Happiness is a state of contentment with and in the present moment. Re-read this paragraph if you need to. Fully grasp it. Do you understand how powerful that is?
I feared being by myself. Meaning: living on my own, not 100% around my people, confronting loneliness and boredom. It sounds silly to most of you, but for an addict like myself, these are feelings we NEVER want to feel. The last time I was by myself was the worst of my eating disorder. I hated the feeling of being lonely, so my psyche attributes living on my own to loneliness. When I moved home from OU in 2014, I lived with my family and told them I was never going to move out. Partly joking but partly serious. And finally this last July I moved into my own place. The best challenge.
I feared I wasn’t enough. Mainly, I wasn’t “religious” enough. I never wanted to pray out loud because I thought it wouldn’t be good enough. In July I went on a mission trip with some high schoolers through our Church and didn’t let fear win. I’ll never forget that week. I’ll never forget the tears that fell from the eyes of one of my girls as she thanked me for helping her see that her eating disorder is in her past and she’s recovered. I replay that memory often. She will never know how much that moment impacted my life. This was the best week of my life. It’s a “that’s why” memory.
I feared saying no. I learned about 4 years ago through therapy that i’m a people pleaser. But I noticed that I was mainly just a pleaser for “my people”, my family and my best friends. What i’ve learned from people pleasing is that it comes with a price. And that price is called compromise, compromise of self. You begin doing, feeling, saying, acting how someone else wants over what you want. It’s no ones fault but my own. But you finally get to a point where you’ve got to let others go. I look back on that moment and get sad about it occasionally, but knowing that it’s what was best for me and my health re-directs my thoughts into a healthier pattern, and even into gratitude.
I feared commitment. I’m one of those people that keeps their word. If I tell you i’m going to do something, i’ll make sure that I do it. But it also hindered me from committing to things. What if I said I would then later regretted it? Listen, I don’t care what anyone says but one of the biggest commitments you can make is A DOG. Look who came to live with us!!!! The best little addition to the Middleton family.
I feared being in a romantic relationship. Being vulnerable with another human overwhelmed me and was not something I made a priority. However, in May I met a boy. I wasn’t too excited, and he will tell you that too. He informs almost everyone we talk to that “she ignored me for several weeks”. Somehow in June, I came around and took a chance on him. My best decision of 2017. Among the many things he has contributed to my life, my favorite is that he’s opened my eyes to happiness again. On a completely new level. Blogging about your relationship can be weird and cheesy but 1. This was very easily my biggest fear and 2. I’ve been in many conversations recently with people who are where I was in May. I pray there’s some hope in here for those of you.
2017 was a pretty big year of adult-like life changes. Ended long time friendships, moved homes, entered a relationship, left a job, confronted mental illness head on, and much more. Here in 2018, i’m planning on nothing. I’m not living too far ahead of where I need to. I’m working daily on taking life as it comes. Which is my glorified version of telling you that my main focus is my mental health. And finding real joy. How that will specifically play out, I really don’t think I want to know. I’m ready for the surprise and the adventure 2018 will bring.
Taking steps into fear turned out being the best experiences of my life. How surprising is that? Maybe one day i’ll be able to give you the in depth psychological reason to that, but for now i’m just grateful I’m aware of it. The moral of this story is, yes, i’d definitely live 2017 over again. Thank you, Jesus for answered prayers.
Stay tuned for other posts coming soon. 2018 is telling me to blog more.