This year for New Year's, I'm so tempted to make another resolution about losing weight, getting my finances in order, finally running that marathon, painting more, or truly taking up cooking. Instead, my New Year's Resolution is to continue a promise I made myself back in May and live my life on purpose.
I'm giving myself the resolution of letting go. Letting go of all the expectations that people have for me. Letting go of the typical midwestern life that one should have at 28. Letting go of the societal pressures to stick to the mold. Letting go of the things that don’t bring me happiness and contentment.
This past year (2016) has been more about being myself than any other so far. I have finally asked for what I wanted. I finally stood up for the things that I want to do. I finally realized that there is only one person in this world that I have to make happy and that person is ME.
I spent months traveling alone, with friends, with family, and even with strangers (who eventually became like family), I know now, more than ever what I hoped to find in this whole experience. And that was…myself. I’ve relished the opportunity to stop being whom everyone else wanted from me and figure out what I want for myself.
I sure as hell don’t have all the answers yet, but here are the few lessons that I have figured out. I hope by the end of this next year, I can make this list even longer.
- The people are what makes an experience complete. When I look back on my travels, what I remember is the memories of doing amazing things with new and old friends. From drinking three too many bottles of wine at dinner to peeing your pants on the sand dunes, none of those things would matter had it not been for the people.
- Do something everyday that matters, even if it’s just petting a dog. Sure, some days are bigger than others, but you can’t change the world everyday. You can just make the piece that you touch a bit better.
- Don’t care so much what other people think of you. Everyone’s journey is their own and no one should fault you for not conforming to what they want.
- Smile. It’s the quickest way to make a new friend.
- Be open to every opportunity. Strike up a conversation with the stranger next to you at the coffee shop, walk down that random alley (preferably not in the dark), take a risk - because the most amazing opportunities are those that you didn’t plan for.
- Listen to your body. Everyday it will tell you what it needs. It may not be what you think. It may want rest, it may want exercise, hell, it may want green beans. But, if it wants chocolate cake instead of lunch, I 100% support it (and listen to it every time).
- Follow your dreams. Everyone has that “box”. The box that is full of all the things you want to achieve. For some girls, it may be full of wedding plans and baby clothes. For some guys, motorcycle or car clippings. For me, it’s a like of places I want to go, which can be simplified to EVERYWHERE.
- Ask for what you want, because no one else is going to for you. This one may be the most important. No one will ever know what you want unless you ask for it, the majority of the world can’t read minds.
- And most importantly, when in doubt, drink wine…