Happy New Year! I can’t believe that it’s 2022, when I’m still processing 2020. But here we are with a new year before us, filled with new opportunities and lessons to share. For me, 2021 felt as though it was a year of restoration. There was a lot of emotional and physical healing, as well as time spent by myself. I learned a lot of lessons, and to kick off the year I wanted to share five lessons that we can take into 2022.
- Everything in your life is connected: I started a new job in January of 2021. I had been at my previous job for almost three years, and while I learned a lot it was a terrible work environment with low pay and almost no benefits. In order to make ends meet, I had two additional part-time jobs. I spent most of my evenings vegged out on the couch and my weekends working and recovering from work. I was totally burnt-out, and didn’t even realize that I was running on fumes, until I started my new job. I found myself in an environment where I was appreciated, respected, and I no longer had to work multiple jobs to survive. Once my body understood that I was no longer in fight or flight, I found the energy to start exercising, take bubble baths, and focus on myself. I realized that when one area of your life is out of whack, everything is out of whack. Society would have us believe that our jobs can be separated from our lives, but they can’t. It’s all interconnected. The sooner you understand this, the faster you can remedy areas of your life that might be leaving you on fumes too. And while finding a new job might not be an option, or the solution there are ways that you can take back your time. Hire help around the house, outsource some errands, have groceries delivered. No one is a super hero. Don’t try to do it all.
- If you don’t make time to rest, your body will make time for you: Last year, I shared my fibroid diagnosis, and that I had an abdominal myomectomy to remove my fibroids. I knew that they had gotten worse, and I believe it was in part to my previous stressful work environment, lack of exercise, and poor diet. After my surgery, I cleared my entire calendar for a month and focused solely on recovery. I think this might be one of the reasons why I was able to recover so quickly. Prior to surgery, I was nervous and scared about my recovery because I hadn’t allowed myself to rest like this in years. My body had been begging me to stop for years, but I refused to listen. Our bodies are amazing and communicate with us what they need. We know what it feels like to be hungry or thirsty, so why do we ignore it when there is a bigger issue? If resting is hard for you, as it is for most people, schedule time to rest. And rest might look different for different people. Figure out what brings you to a place of peace and do that more frequently.
- Find what moves you: I don’t like gyms. I find them a little intimidating and mundane. It’s repetitive, people are waiting for the machine, it feels as though there’s germs everywhere with the sweat. But I do enjoy taking smaller fitness classes, and I do enjoy walking. I started walking in the mornings in 2020 just to get out the house during lockdown. I made it a priority in 2021, and started tracking how many mornings I made it out. Over time, it became a habit. And eventually it became something I wake up early to do, and enjoy. I get to go outside and see the seasons change, and it’s just me and my music. I see the difference in my mood and my body. This year, find what moves you. It might be running, it might be the gym, it could be cycling. Whatever it is, move that body!
- Do something that surprises you: At the end of 2020, I saw a posting for submissions for a magazine. Normally, I would have submitted a personal essay, but for some reason I felt I should write a poem. The only problem is, I don’t like poetry or so I thought. But I did write a poem, and it was accepted, and that’s when I discovered I enjoy poetry and I enjoy writing poetry. No one is more surprised by this, than me. It’s made me realize that there’s still so much left to discover in me, and I’m excited for that process. How many times do we limit ourselves because of who we may have been in the past? For some reason, we don’t believe that as adults we’re still growing and discovering new things, but we are! This month, try something that you would never think to try. You just might surprise yourself.
- Don’t take no personally: After the success of my poem, I started entering writing competitions. I applied for fellowships, and scholarships. I got rejected by every single one. Every late-night rejection email I received, felt like a personal critique of my writing. Writing is such a vulnerable act, and when it’s rejected it’s hard to not take it personally. But just like certain cuisine, a style of writing might not be for everyone. So, I will continue to write, and submit because that is all I can do. Believe in your work, and what you bring and you’ll eventually find your way. A closed door is often a blessing in disguise.
I hope that you’re able to apply these lessons to your life and share them with those you love. I’m wishing you all a happy and prosperous new year! Stay healthy, and stay safe.