I’ve never been one who really likes forced-upon life decisions – from the extenuating circumstance variety to the “it’s new year resolution time” variety. Don’t get me wrong, I stop to make goals and reassess ALL the time, I just don’t like being forced to do it. And the end of the year, I always feel like I have to do it and I usually fight against it. But this year has been an interesting year – this semester has been especially hard and trying for me. (Ha. I just realized that I think of my time in semesters rather than months/years – suppose I’ve been in academia awhile?) I do find myself assessing, reflecting, and setting goals frequently these last few months.
There are many reasons and events that cause me to pause and reflect more lately and over this past year – maybe part of it is because I turned 35 this year. I remember that turning 25 was really hard for me – it seems silly now, but I had a hard time turning “a quarter of a century” old. I suppose part of that was because my life was kind of a hot mess. I had just recently left and divorced my husband, was trying to mentally prepare for my son to move to Texas in a few months, hated my job, wasn’t for sure what I wanted to be when I grew up, and let’s be honest, those of you who knew then and are still with me: I was kinda an alcoholic making really stupid decisions. I wish I could say I pulled myself out of all of that all by myself, but that would be a huge lie – the only reason I made it through that was from the love and support of my best friend sister and my mom.
But, here at 35 I live a very different life. I am no longer a hot mess, nor an alcoholic. I have since completed a couple graduate degrees, have a job I love and am super passionate about, and have a solid foundation of friends and family. So, what’s the deal? Why still the pausing and questioning? The need for additional goal setting? Changing? I could list here all the events/decisions/activities/circumstances of the year (in addition to turning 35) that I believe cause all of this, but that would be a long list and this would be like the most depressing post ever. And right now, the last thing anyone needs is more depression and anguish so I’m not going to do that. Let’s work on the positive instead.
One of the positive decisions I made this year was to spend more time on me and my friends/family. Two major positive goals that I set and continue to work on were to be healthier so I can run a half-marathon some day and also to tackle the horrid financial situation that I live in everyday. I also actually took a vacation with my husband!! I even stopped the cycle of “working so many hours in a week that it actually caused me physical illness” and have seen success there.
An additional decision/goal I set much earlier in the year was that I would get rid of stuff and clutter. We (read: me) just have too much stuff. I have not done much work on that decision yet and now that the end of the year is upon me, I find myself wondering how I can fix it. What is it about the end of the year and the looming new year about to arrive that makes us want to fix everything? I don’t really have an answer to that. But what I can say is that I’m going with it for now and am about to tear apart my house and get rid of extra stuff and clutter and furniture and just sell it or give it all away. It all makes me feel heavy and claustrophobic and so far, watching it go out the door has been cathartic for me.
So for me, the end of the year is going to be about reflecting and working on my decisions/goals – whether I like that I’m doing it or not. And about getting rid of my baggage (both literally and figuratively). But it will also be about spending time with my family and loved ones. In less than a week, The Cutest Boy will be here – except he’s not a boy any longer. He is now The Cutest Teenager Who Yesterday Started Wearing Contacts Instead of Glasses. I’m sure he and I will have lovely time playing some ridiculous game on the Wii together – but we’ll be together and that’s what is important.
And, we’ll see how the rest goes. There’s still like 2 weeks left in the year to fix everything. 🙂