I am sitting in my favorite bar, as it becomes increasingly more crowded than normal on a Sunday early evening. Most are in pairs, or groups. I’m the sole solitary human, sitting at my favorite table tucked in the corner. My back is against the window and I am directly next to an outlet and the exposed brick.
I am pretty comfortable sitting by myself in most places. I am fine shopping by myself, I’ve traveled across an ocean and been alone in the Istanbul airport more than any other airport in the world.
I almost always get slight amounts of anxiety right before going somewhere by myself or to an event with a large amount of people. But here, and a smattering of coffee shops, public transport and airplanes- I am always good.
This year, I believe, has been about being as home as I possible can be in my own skin, in my own identity. It’s been about being where my feet are.
I don’t always do well at this.
But, I am trying.
And now, it’s the end of the year. Now, for me personally, 2017 has been eons better than 2016. But, as my work wife has pointed out, 2017 hasn’t been all confetti, champagne and sunshine.
In reality, I said the F word more times this year than last. I lost more faith in people than I ever have. I have had more anxiety and more moments of being alone.
I haven’t been as constantly exhausted but I for sure have hit more walls of “all done friends”. My schedule has been more busy than I think it has been in a long time.
And that isn’t going change when the clock strikes midnight and turns the year to 2018. Last year, I remember sitting, shortly after midnight, in my sparkly gold dress, barefooted, on the porch of my friend’s house, watching the snow fall with a glass of champagne that slowly became mixed with the tears falling down my cheeks. All I wanted was for the world around me to feel different.
I tried to believe it did- but it didn’t.
So I became busy in 2017. I did a lot of things. I rarely had a week go by that didn’t involve at least 3/5ths of the weekdays being filled with something, be it working at my church, hanging out with someone or having an event or organized group situation.
I think part of my reasoning for becoming busy was that busy equaled full. That my life could be classified as full because it was busy.
I could say that my life was full because my laundry had piled up to overflowing in my closet and didn’t even care that there were dishes in the sink.
Busy meant not being able to stop to hear what I needed to hear.
Back in August, a part time job popped up at a different church. It would have been 10-20 extra hours a week being a children’s director of a local churches smaller downtown campus.
It would mean a lot of things: extra income, no free time, getting paid to do something I know I love (and am good at), having no social life and not getting to go to the church I adore.
But, I had done that exact same thing before so I knew I was capable of that schedule.
I had a random day off in August, the day after the ad had been discovered. I had coffee with a good friend, lunch with my roommate and obviously talked to both about it. I headed for home to work on my cover letter and resume.
Because of applying for this job, I ended up having a very honest conversation with one of the pastors at my church. Through the conversation we had, I realized that I was running from being known. She, of course, called me on all these things, as she should.
I didn’t end up interviewing for the job. In all reality, though I want a job like that, but working 60 hours a week and moving from the two places where I feel like myself in Bellingham was not the best idea.
In reality, most of this year I’ve been running. I’ve been running from stopping, from thinking and from pushing in.
I have in certain places and situations. There are friends in my life with whom I can never run from my problems around. But I have reached that place here in Bellingham where I am known and that’s terrifying.
So, why have I said all of this?
It’s simple actually.
I want to encourage you not to make resolutions.
I just want to encourage you to step more into who you are everyday. No matter what.
I spent this year trying to busy everything so far away, in the name of my resolutions that I forgot parts of who I was. When those parts were awakened they felt like hope, when in reality they should have just felt like me.
December 31rst and January 1 are no different from today and tomorrow.
There is symbolism in the changing of the year. It is a new book in your life. But it’s not a separate book. It’s a continuation.
So, as the holidays kick in full force and as my kitchen get covered in flour and coconut sugar. As we celebrate the year, the now and the yet to come, I want to remind you that the changing of a calendar doesn’t change who you are.
I want to encourage you to hope for more, but not put the more on a new year.
Don’t run from who you’ve become in all the things. Grab who all the things have made you.
Right now. Today.
Here, in this bar, where I am the only solitary human, I am being where my feet are more than I have in a long time.
Right now. Today