First, a quick look back.
I declared my word for 2015 to be REACH. Did I achieve as promised? Yes and no. But mostly yes. I certainly did reach in terms of my writing. Alas more the “extending” myself to higher bars of submissions rather than the “attaining” (read: publication) part of the definition, but I’m proud of myself nonetheless. Also my reading; in books alone, I completed 54 books, and there were also countless essays and such. I really felt like I broadened my worldview this year in a few key areas because of what I chose to read. I’m not sure I had a completely sustained effort at reaching more running/walking or mindful, non-distracted time with my family, but much better than the year before. There were other unexpected ways in which I’ve been forced to reach, and have grown from those opportunities.
All in all, reach was an apt word for 2015, and one I was very tempted to quietly continue for the coming year.
But in the past month, something shifted. Reflecting upon 2015 and all of the various situations that occurred throughout the duration (and my reactions thereto), it is clear I need another word for 2016. And here it is:
I think the greatest lesson . . . no, reminder this past year in particular was how little I can actually control in life. Other people, in particular. People whom I once expected to treat me (or those I love) a certain way based on various relationships. People in charge of decisions that can fundamentally alter someone else’s day to day life. People’s intentions. People’s opinions. People’s expectations.
I mean, intuitively, I know this already. In practice, it’s another story. And yet I need to let go of all that. It won’t be easy, I know.
But by not releasing, by not letting go of this notion that I can balance a thousand glass balls on some shiny silver tray as long as the world remains steady and I remain smiling and stagnant, I see that I am holding myself back on many fronts. Living that way reduces resilience when things inevitably fall off the tray and break. Living that way means I have to hold more than I want to, including a lot of cracked glass—some of it not even mine—I should have discarded long ago. Living that way means I am tiptoeing around who I really am so nothing dulls or shatters for everyone else.
Is it really even living? It is not.
Release is about throwing caution to the wind and trying something new.
Release is about shedding bad habits and the dead skin of iterations that no longer exist.
Release is about not trying to serve my cup of tea in a cafe full of coffee drinkers.
Release is about hoping for the best but also being prepared for the worst.
Release is about embracing the idea that more often than not the issue resides with someone else and not me.
Release is about not giving two fucks and forging ahead despite the sideways glances.
Release is about recognizing the very limited things I can control, like my reaction to everyone and everything else.
Release is about knowing that time is finite and if not now, when and what exactly do I want to be holding onto when all is said and done anyway?
Release is about having more strength to hold on to what is right and making room for more of that, no matter what else may come.
Release. Yes. This is my mantra for the year ahead.
Happy New Year to each of you. Above all else, I hope 2016 brings you and the rest of our world peace in many forms.
Copyright (c) 2015 Kristen M. Ploetz
atheism beauty books bravery change children's books culture death drawing emotions empathy food forty friends friendship fun things gender growing up happiness if you ask me Kindergarten letting go love memories movies nature observations only child parenting books patience photographs play poetry reading school senses sentimental stories summer teaching lessons then and now time toys women writing