3 Steps to a Good New Year

As you may remember, last year by New Year’s resolution was “moisturize everything to soften all wounds.” Well, I still have severely chapped hands, but I have also been softer with myself this year. Not perfectly so, I struggle with beating myself up especially since I have gone off my medication and am not seeing a therapist, but I have made movement in the realm of holding myself to realistic expectations, giving myself time where I do nothing productive and being okay with that, and forcing my attention to progress instead of being engulfed by past error. As I take note of these shifts in my attitude towards myself, I am thinking of how to approach 2018 and wanted to share my process of shedding this year and what resolutions I’m setting after that midnight countdown.

Take Stock. In the same list that I wrote “moisturize everything,” I also wrote some goals for 2017. As this year ends under two feet of snow, I’m digging out that list and seeing what I did, what I didn’t do, what I could have done differently, and what I need to accept happened just as it should. As I review this, I’m noting my emotional response to my accomplishments (or lack thereof) but not giving them power. This is the neutral stage. Feelings come next.

  • Have three months worth of savings. Not met.

  • Have favorite places in Boston. Met.

  • Have a five year plan. Met.

  • Have a job I love. Met.

  • Remain close to my chosen family. Met.

  • Stick to my blog post schedule. Not met.

  • Feel good about what I eat. Not quite met.

  • Be able to survive a zombie apocalypse. Not met.

Congratulate and forgive yourself. That list makes it seem so simple but even just reading that list my thoughts spiral. What I did and didn't do evoke disappointment, pride, feelings of loss, happiness, and a lot of frustration--at both myself and the world. I beat myself up for being a work in progress instead of being inspired by all I have yet to do. I dwell on how this past year was really, really tough. Not very many things went how I anticipated them going. I made countless compromises--way more than the Karalyn at Oberlin would have settled for. And sometimes I lose sight of what I am doing this for. That’s where my thoughts leave me. I’m proud of myself for the challenges I faced and the ones I overcame. I feel lost in all the ones that I let myself down in. While it's okay for that to be my feelings surrounding the past year, I have to find a way to let forgiveness edge in. If I don't, I'll just grind to a halt. And I need to keep moving.

Look ahead. Because at the end of the day, I’m doing this all for myself. It’s my own life that I’m charged with and living out. The sacrifices, if they can be called that, I make now are so that I can make momentous shifts in the not-too-distant future. I want to be my own boss. I want to grow my own food. I want to live somewhere warm where my fingers don’t freeze as I type blog posts. The living at home, the job, the restrictions, the dissatisfaction, apathy, discomfort, etc. that I experience now, is so that I can save my money, gain the skills, and make the connections that will allow me to live in a fulfilling and satisfied way down the line. Is that worth it? I don’t know. But it’s survival pending revolution, so it’s the strategy for the time being.

This is where 2018 comes it. What needs to continue in the upcoming year? What can I let go of? Where have my reflections brought me? What is shifting underneath my feet and what can I shape between my hands?

I need time to rest my sights on these answers. I’ll let you know what the list is on the first.