I try not to write about myself too often. My goal is for the content on Mindful Living to be positive and encouraging while also informative to new ideas and ways of thinking. The intention is that the personal experiences that I do share provide these things.
This week I wanted to reflect upon my 2016 and encourage you to do the same. I ask myself: what did this year teach me? What were the high points and the low points? How did I grow? Where did I fall short? What do I want to see for the coming year?
Sometimes the answers will differ based on various aspects of your life: personal, professional, interpersonal, etc. so be sure to address them as a whole. This is a fun exercise to get you in a mindset of reflection and gratitude while also giving you some guidance for moving forward. In an effort to keep this brief, I will be sharing my answers here.
Instant gratification is not everything
I have been blogging pretty consistently this year. 47 blogs to be exact. What will come of these blogs, you ask? I am not quite sure and I am ok with that.
Often times we do not allow ourselves to put too much work into something without the guarantee that it will be worthwhile. The thing about what is worthwhile is that you get to define it! Rather than it being a concrete definition, I have given myself the freedom and flexibility to define what that "worth" is. I have also allowed myself to be much more present in the journey rather than thinking so much about the destination.
While I do not know where blogging will lead me in the future, I love that it has given me the opportunity to share my perspective with others on a forum that I have created. I have had the chance to connect with colleagues in my field and branch out of my comfort zone--something we should all do a bit more of from time-to-time.
Having more than one passion is allowed
Sometimes we begin one path in life, whether it is one particular interest, area of study, field of work, and then something changes. It could be that you have grown out of one area of interest and become more passionate about another. Or perhaps you are equally enthralled by multiple things.
Instead of feeling like you have to choose just one, I want to encourage you to choose many! This year I learned that growing things is important to me. Working with my hands, being outdoors, and seeing the products of my hard work are things that I now value. Instead of abandoning my professional career and all that I have studied and worked towards for the past 10 years, I have decided to welcome this new passion into my life in addition.
When we expand our interests, sometimes we find that our lives can become more fulfilling. In 2017, I want to ask you to try something new, something you have never done before but have been wanting to try. Even if you do not discover a new passion, at least you had a new experience.
It helps to have a balance of new and familiar
Personally, I learned that I can handle a lot of change, but only to a certain extent before I need to gather my thoughts and slow down. This year I had a few job and lifestyle changes.
I went from working full time in the forensic world while simultaneously building my private practice to working and living on a farm in a foreign country, then being a traveling nomad with no true base, finally returning to NYC and working part time as well as from home. Whew! Lots of changes in one year.
I have been challenged by circumstances to find this balance and have done a lot of reflection on how I want my life to look and choosing more of what is aligned with this plan.
No one is immune to emotional challenges
As a therapist, we are often seen as being immune to emotional challenges and hyper-resilient. What outsiders might forget is that we are also human. We are cautioned to not show too much of our human side, but I have learned that my human experiences help me be a better therapist.
A few things hit me hard this year. On the tail end of my fantastic journey of working on a farm and traveling throughout Europe, I got carried away with longing for both the past and the future, neglecting my present moments that I hold so dearly. I also unexpectedly and sadly lost my beloved pup, Betsy, after nearly 11 years of having her in my life.
Needless to say, my Fall transition was a challenge. In order to help myself get through this phase, I did a lot of listening to my own advice, reflecting upon what I have control over, and choosing my course of action in the most mindful way possible. I learned that self-care during these times is essential and that taking a break is allowed. I also learned that reaching out to my support system was crucial in learning how to move forward.
Next year will be major
By understanding the small pieces of life that I value, I can make choices to influence my future. Making choices that are more aligned with what I want and less about what I dislike will help me to create a 2017 that is all about growth, vulnerability, and prosperity.
Want to get some clarity on what you want for 2017? Contact me and lets work together to make next year incredible!