It’s the last day of 2013 – and what a year it’s been. We often don’t realize all the changes we’ve gone through because they’ve happened so gradually but New Year’s Eve is the perfect time to get clear on just who you are now.
I’m willing to bet that this past year has changed you in some profound and long-lasting ways. You are not the person you were just one year ago. Hopefully those changes have been for the better – but if not, there’s always another chance to improve. I believe that the purpose of life itself is to help us to continually evolve into a more polished, fearless and open-hearted person.
As I take my walk down 2013’s memory lane – I encourage you to take stock of your own accomplishments and celebrate them! As long as we’re living, we are students in the school of life– and these are three of the main lesson plans on our schedules:
To learn important life lessons – For me, 2013 has been an exercise in letting go. Being a mother is one of the strongest portions of my identity but as they say, “your job as a parent is to put yourself out of business.” With a college sophomore and a high school senior, my pink-slip isn’t far away. Of course, my job as my children’s mentor and advisor will never end – but the role responsibilities are extremely different. I’ve been trying to ready myself for this transition all year and am finding it difficult – relinquishing control while holding on to my own sense of inner peace has been quite a challenge. Even so, I can see some small evidence of growth in that area so I suppose that’s good enough. Everything will fall into place into its own time – I just have to try to enjoy the ride.
To stretch the boundaries of your reality– 2013 brought to life the realization of some long-held dreams. I was able to see the book that I felt so inspired to write receive some critical acclaim – and then see the words come to life through the eyes of others by leading a women’s retreat. While I’ve always been in the mass communications business, I’ve never thought of myself as a speaker. But that experience showed me that we never become something else – we just learn a new way to express who we already are. Breaking down the walls of fear, doubt and possibility feels good. Nothing should ever make us feel inadequate or unable. Let’s face it, few things in life are brain surgery – and I don’t plan on doing that anytime soon anyway.
To expand your ability to love and appreciate – My mother’s successful open-heart surgery at the end of 2012 positioned me in a perfect place of gratitude for 2013. Tough times like those make you realize that we are not promised anything more than this moment. To take it for granted and not appreciate the time that we have with loved ones is probably the biggest mistake of all. While we can learn from all other mistakes – once a loved one has passed on – that opportunity is gone. I’m so grateful for more time with this woman who is still teaching me important lessons and coaxing me along with her hard-earned wisdom.
I also joined Big Brothers/Big Sisters this year and started mentoring a 6-year-old girl. I did it, in part, to ease my own empty nest anxiety – but was immediately struck by the powerful nature of the interaction. Almost immediately the words “I love you, sissy” were gifted from this innocent little soul, reminding me of how we close off our emotions over time. Love is as easy and natural as breathing – it’s putting up the defenses that takes all the work.
So, for me, 2013 will always be the year that reconnected me with loving for love’s sake – and not for any other reward. It feels good to open your heart. In fact, it feels like the most natural thing in the world.
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Marci Wise is the award-winning author of Pain, Passion & Purpose. Copyright © 2013 marciwise.com. Material is copyrighted but free to repost as long as proper credit is listed, including our website address.