Well, I don’t know about all of you, but this year has been quite the year for me. I’ve been through it this year. Truly been through it. Looking back on my life, this year has been hands-down the most transformative year of my entire life— not just in circumstances, but also, most importantly, in mindset.
This blog isn’t going to be me talking about all of those things— don’t worry :)— but it is going to be me sharing how my reflection has given me the deepest, purest, and most sincere sense of gratitude, and confidence, and excitement for the coming new year; more than I’ve ever experienced before.
And I’m sharing this mostly because I’m too happy about this to dream of keeping it to myself.
Personally, I am cheesy. I live for the little things that some people would consider “mushy” or “too much.”
Among the things of this sort that I enjoy is the change of the years.
The transition into some newly constructed set of days.
A slate that somehow, as a result of the special sunset and sunrise between December 31 and January 1, can be wiped clean.
A little period of renewal, a real-life refresh button, that we as humans have created for ourselves. How wonderful is that. We know ourselves better than we think.
Needless to say, I’ve always participated in the step into the new year by setting goals and such, looking forward into the future, and deciding what I want to change and improve.
However, this year has been a little different. This is the first year that instead of jumping headfirst into the next moment, I’ve really squeezed all I could out of this moment first.
The first time that I have truly sat down and reflected, thinking back on what all has happened this year, and what has happened to me as a result of it all. The first time that I’ve looked at what I’ve grown before planting more.
This brings me to one of the two points I want to make in this post.
Each moment is a lesson, and coming to the close of a year, it’s a good time to acknowledge all the ones you may have overlooked.
Greater than all the lessons I’ve learned this year, I have also learned a larger, all-encompassing lesson ABOUT lessons, and that is that each moment in itself is, in fact, a lesson.
Literally, every single moment of every day contains something that you can learn from. And when you string those moments together? And make something of them? Wow.
Let’s take it a step further actually: the uncomfy moments. Y’all, these are big. Often, the moments spent in situations that we may not enjoy very much add up to huge, painful, beautiful, terrifying, life-altering lessons that we overflow with gratitude for having learned.
Coming to the end of the year, now is a great time to think about all of the cumulative moments that have crafted themselves into lessons just for us, and see just how much we can squeeze out of them. How we can really get every last drop.
I’m going to jump into some “thinking prompts” that have personally helped me with reflection:
What have you learned this year from the choices you made?—
What have you done that you liked, and what have you done that you didn’t like?
I want to suggest that you sit down with yourself and ask, “What have I done that I liked, that filled me with pride and happiness? That I wanted to give myself a high-five for? and, What have I done that I didn’t like so much— that filled me with sadness or regret? That ultimately propelled me toward change?”
Both ends of the spectrum have to be acknowledged to make sense of anything. If you’ve read my other posts, you know that I believe very strongly in the concept of opposites, and to apply that here, I think it’s crucial to acknowledge the good and the bad you have done this year. Neither one means anything without the other. Not a single thing.
We define good with the absence of bad and we describe bad with the absence of good. We have to see both sides.
Do you think the good things you did this year would mean anything to you if it wasn’t for the bad things you did and the way those things made you feel, as compared to the way the good things made you feel? Not a chance. We have to feel it all.
We have to look at our flowers and our weeds.
Now, to focus on the good.
Here is my second, and most heartfelt, point.
The endurance of all the moments that you made it through this year— along with the contents and outcome of those moments— deserve some serious acknowledgement and gratitude.
One thing I think is super important is to show yourself an immense amount of love and gratitude for where you are now as opposed to 365 days ago. What’s changed in you as the world has spent a year changing. What’s shifted. What’s renewed. What’s fallen away. What has chosen to take root. What has chosen to shine.
Every small moment that you were sad, every period of time when you knew you were struggling, every bit of turbulent water that you treaded through even when you thought you wouldn’t be able to escape it, every mountain that seemed unusually steep— you made it.
Each time you wake up in the morning with a new day full of sunshine and oxygen and time in front of you, is proof that you have made it.
That deserves some serious acknowledgement and gratitude.
Ideally, we should give ourselves this love and gratitude 24/7. But isn’t it cool that we made this big ordeal for ourselves to inevitably acknowledge it at least once every year? We really might as well relish in it. A beautiful display of the millions of moments we glide through.
Speaking of gratitude, one thing I would like to note is that gratitude is the healthiest emotion. When you are expressing gratitude, it’s impossible to be anxious or upset or angry. Another thing about gratitude is that it often produces even more positive emotions, one being confidence.
After expressing gratitude to yourself for everything you have weathered this year, I promise that you will automatically be overwhelmed with confidence in yourself. It’s the absolute best thing you can do for yourself right now.
Remember the things you’ve felt this year and will continue to feel.
Each emotion— pain, wonder, regret, pride, admiration, frustration, contentment, disappointment, motivation, excitement, love— is part of the beautiful and extraordinary experience of being human. Feel happiness for all the things you’ve been able to feel, and feel excitement for the many things still left to be felt.
Thank yourself for what you’ve done, and feel into the excitement of what you will continue to do.
Following every period of rooting is one of blossoming— sprouting and growing and blooming. What a beautiful cycle that repeats itself over and over and over, giving us the opportunity again and again to relish in it.
As humans, we are programmed to progress. It’s easy to fall into the invigorating pattern of creating more plans, dreaming more dreams, paving more roads, planting more seeds. This is a vitalizing process. One of invigoration that fuels our very existence.
But we must not forget the opposite of planning, which is the outcome. The product. The achievement. We would have no motivation to continue planning, dreaming, planting, if it were not for the outcomes, the moments of accomplishment, the blooms.
Let us not forget to smell the flowers we have grown before planting more.
Everything deserves to be seen and felt. Your progress from this last little humanly-constructed block of 365 days is at the top of that list.
Here’s to spending precious, gracious time in the gardens we’ve grown for ourselves, and letting that sense of attainment drive us to plant more than we ever imagined we could.
What beautiful things lie ahead.